Initially I thought that Ghadhafi could resist the impact of Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. It had a relatively smaller population and greater oil revenue, theoretically that could help him buy off his subjects. He was also trying to leave the “anti-imperialist” front of Castro’s Cuba, Ortega’s Nicaragua, Chavez’s Venezuela, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Ahmadinejad’s Iran. Ghadhafi made amends with the US and other Western democracies, over the Lockerbie bombing and curtailed his ambitions to go nuclear. The Libya’s economy was having a healthy growth and there were lots of foreign investment pouring in particularly from Europe.
Beside the immediate factor of Egyptian and Tunisian uprising which triggered the anti-Ghadhafi wave in Libya there were a couple of other factors. One was that the benefits of the lifting of all trade restrictions were going to Ghadhafi’s family and his cronies; the second was the inflow of information through a sudden rush of cell phones and Internet communication that the more open trade brought with it; the instruments of the new youth radicalization.
At the International level, Europe and the U.S. first cautiously, because of their oil interests in the region and eventually completely opposed Ghadhafi. Now it seems that they are actively seeking his removal. The obvious disarray was in the past “anti-imperialist” allies of Libya. Iran trying to find a footing in these uprisings opposed Ghadhafi. Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua sent his solidarity to Ghadhafi. Fidel Castro in his Reflections gave backhanded support to Ghadhafi by warning the world that the real problem in Libya is the imminent takeover of Libya by NATO forces. He said “the worst injustice, at this moment, would be to remain silent in the face of the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the Libyan people.” One wonders if Mr. Castro is seeing his reflection in Ghadhafi’s fate which he is trying to avoid. As a curiosity I looked more inside the Granma International and I did not find any reports about what is happening in Libya. As a matter of fact there was nothing of substance about the world we live in. I wondered how the Cuban youth would act once they get their hands on cell phones and the internet connections. Would they try to convince the youth of the world about the grandeurs’ of their life under the rule of a lifetime leader or they will find the rule of the Castros’ intolerable and stupid. If there was a bet I would bet on the latter.
Just a glance at Granma would show the odds for the bet. There was another report “Book Fair enlivened by 360,000 people” The number is about the number of people who attended an 11 days book fair in Havana and bought 700,000 books. Twenty years ago this might have seemed impressive, but today it looks like a report from the dark ages. A single internet connection for a Cuban would open up a world of literature and information. Cuban’s are really living on an island, Castro’s island. But this wave of the new youth radicalization will eventually wash over that island too.