An article in Time Magazine suggested we would blow a golden opportunity if we didn’t take advantage of Fidel’s retirement and end the embargo of Cuba. Apparently it is felt that if we take that step, Raul Castro and his clique will ease their draconian rule over Cuba, and soon Cuba will be like Key West but just further south.
Why in the name of anything and all that makes sense would we want to do that? For almost fifty years Cuba has been a laboratory study of all that is wrong, and can go wrong if a country goes and stays communist.
Every day Cuba teaches us Communism 101: “What is bad about Communism, and what is even worse.”
Even better, Cuba provides a place for our Left to go on a pilgrimage. Several old Lefties from northern California have gone there, even before Michael Moore, and have come back singing Cuba’s praises. They were particularly impressed by how everyone has an education (although they didn’t say anything about how no one was paid a living wage), and they were impressed with universal healthcare (but said little about the lack of modern medical equipment and supplies).
They absolutely fumed and fulminated when I brought up recent information that Cuban prostitutes working foreign tourist areas had incomes many times higher than Cuban doctors or teachers. Many times higher, in fact, than any Cuban except the top Cuban leaders, who have done quite well even in the face of their countrymen’s crushing poverty.
The poverty of the Cuban people is not just the poverty of material things. It is also the poverty of deprivation of the intellect and the soul. Cubans can’t read freely, can’t speak freely, can’t worship freely, can’t travel freely, can’t surf the internet freely, and have no choice of leaders or of how they are led. Cuban prisons are full of Cubans whose only crime was criticizing their leaders.
The old joke: an American in Cuba tells a Cuban, “In the United States we are free to say that our President is a fool.”
The Cuban replies: “It’s the same for us in Cuba. We are free to say that your President is a fool too.”
If we change towards Cuba and let Cuba become just another capitalist success story, where will people go to find out what a failure Communism is?
Already I hear people say that China is prospering under Communism. I’ve heard it said that China shows how much better central planning and control works than our chaotic capitalism. However, those commenters seem ignorant that the Chinese government is doing all they can, legal and otherwise, to transform or close their SOE’s (the old State-Owned Enterprises).
They are also ignorant that China, according to a recent study by the Rand Corporation, has an unemployment rate of 23 percent. Or that the Chinese early retirement system is mandatory, and that its purpose is to get older workers off government employment so they can be paid tiny pensions.
The Chinese have “put a Chinese face on Communism,” which makes it look a lot like capitalism.
If it weren’t for Cuba (and North Korea, which we know nothing about), we ignorant Americans could easily be fooled into believing that communism is succeeding where our capitalism is failing.
Even now, as socialism enters its death throes in Europe, we’re constantly urged to copy them as if they were models of success, while their under-funded social safety nets come unraveled.
That’s why we need Cuba, to have a permanent display of “Communism under glass,” a preserved specimen of how peoples can sacrifice lifetimes in pursuit of Utopian pipe dreams.
The Cuban people seem proud of their accomplishments and our Left points with pride to Cuba, so why should we pervert their idealism and contaminate their noble experiment?
Let’s honor Fidel’s wishes and let Cuba be Cuba.
It’s the least we can do now that Fidel is too old and weak to continue leading the way to socialist nirvana.
If we don’t continue to honor Fidel, it will be like Che died for nothing.
Think how that would hurt T-shirt sales.