Tomorrow we are celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. 20 years! I still remember how stunned I was when I heard the news coming back from work. I lived in Baltimore then, and I think I spent half an hour in the parking lot until I finally left the car radio to go for the TV and start a round of phone calls to friends around the country. Oh! We knew that there were deep problems in the East but until the very last moment we could not imagine that the wall would fall just like that, with nearly a shot fired. We saw the total but not absolute collapse of a system that had outlived its use for many years before it fell.
The work is not quite over yet, and new nasty apprentices find ways to put up walls around their society.
Some walls still exist from then, such as in North Korea. China (and Vietnam?) are finding new creative ways to not only induce their folks not to escape so fast, but even to lure some to come back, even conditionally. It is a slow deliquescent wall that will take still a few more years, but it is crumbling even as in the West we pretend not to see it, do not try to push along the collapse now that we need the Chinese funds to help us out of our economic crisis.
But the folks I have really in mind are those ruling over Cuba, the Castro brothers who pretend that the Wall never fell down. For them it is easy, they have a watery wall all around their country, and nothing worth exploiting in the island. Even the beaches can be found elsewhere, at least as nice, and with not as many jinetero/as to fend off with your Panama Hat. Who cares?
And there is of course Chavez who in his immense ignorance and awesome immorality wishes the Wall would have never breached. So, as the low rated tyrant he is, his endeavor is to build an internal wall in Venezuela, to split in two Venezuelan society, having one side abuse the other in an alleged redress for the past. In fact the wall he builds is to hide behind as the coward he has always been.
But let me remind you all of one thing: when walls are built it is becasue people from both sides allow for that. People from the outside, such as the Spanish help to "integrate Cuba" or the hypocrisy of Lula toward Chavez defending him by minimizing Uribe legitimate security concerns, are the worst moral offenders of such processes. They do not even have the excuse of a war torn Europe who did not think it could take on Communism right after it took off Fascism.