In 1959, my father’s parents lost everything they owned when Fidel Castro took over Cuba and implemented communism. For quite some time, many in the world collectively questioned the sanity of Castro’s actions; it took us to the brink of mass annihilation by way of a near nuclear war. Still, Castro persisted.
Many free men turned a blind eye on the atrocities Castro imposed on many of the Cuban people. Those who possessed the courage to speak out against the Cuban government’s inhumane actions, Castro crushed. He started squeezing the life out of his countrymen under the guise of communism. Castro and his higher ranking party members enjoyed the prosperity of the island at the cost of the common people.
Under his regime, everyone in Cuba was entitled to a free education. Michael Moore traveled to the island nation to film and document the “wonderful” health care program every Cuban “enjoyed.” Unfortunately, a free education does not fill one’s belly; it may satisfy the mind but does not nourish the body.
Regarding Moore and his documentation of Cuban health care, his cameras captured only footage of the facilities the Cuban government wanted the world to see. The world ignored the work of many humanitarians, religious workers, and independent journalists while paying homage to Moore, the liberal press, and other powerful and well funded interest groups.
For whatever reason, many of the elite bought into the idea Castro was not such an evil person and his ideas would eventually work on the island nation. They stood by, idly watching, while the Cuban people suffered. According to Castro the system would work. He believed it, year after year after year. Then the years turned into decades.
Oddly, it never got better.
And me, I am a unique witness.
I was in Havana during the city’s glory days. I am one who saw the opulence of the Caribbean jewel. I can remember the beaches, the casinos, the hotels, the city streets, all the new cars, and the excitement and vitality of the ancient city.
Later in my life, 23 years to be precise, I also served on the other end of the island at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. On that side of the island, there were no casinos, hotels, or brand new cars. Life was very different compared to the affluence of Havana. It was quite austere.
However, like Guantanamo, all of the prosperity and richness of Havana from the 1950s is gone, as it is throughout the entire island.
In Europe, nations across the continent are abandoning communism and socialism. They are turning to capitalism as quickly as possible. The people of the former communist bloc nations are grasping the concepts of free enterprise as a lifeline. And their governments are embracing this. Why?
Communism and socialism do not work. Like many things, on paper it is a great idea, but in real life, it just doesn’t work.
A man who has promise of making a better life for his children and his children’s children will work very hard to attain those dreams. On the other hand, if he cannot provide more for his family through his hard work, he will only do what is necessary to get by. As a consequence, there is no economic growth, there is no increase in tax revenues for the country, and there is no hope.
It took Castro only 51 years to figure this out.
© 2010 J. Clark