Cuba and the lessons of socialism
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
Over time, I have learned two lessons about socialism: first, it does
not work, and second, some people just don't want to believe that it
does not work.
The story of Cuban communism, or socialism, is a good case in point.
I've run into people over the years who praise the Cuban health care
system or the so-called improvements in education.
Every time I challenge them, they refer to some report from the Cuban
government or something a college professor told them.
It is refreshing to see someone again tackle the myths of Cuba, the
self-proclaimed island paradise that is more like an island prison with
a couple of bearded brothers sitting on top.
So thumbs up to Vanesa Vallejo, a Colombian economist and columnist:
Almost 60 years later, the results of the Castro dictatorship are
appalling. Millions of Cubans have been forced to flee the island.
Thousands have died defending their political ideas, while many others
have spent decades in prison, or have been persecuted and harassed by
Castro's security services.
In the economics, the picture is no less devastating. The destruction of
private property and free trade have had no other effect than to tear
down the country's productivity. And the few areas that look prosperous,
such as tourism, only serve to ensure, using foreign currencies, the
continuity of the regime's coercive apparatus.
Castro's followers insist that the terrible results Cubans face are
compensated by an alleged welfare state that guarantees all kinds of
social benefits to its citizens. In addition, they say Cuba is a true
socialist utopia that, despite the opposition of the "empire," serves as
an example for the rest of Latin America.
To support their opinion, they mention its health and education systems,
and even the achievements of its athletes. The blame also falls on the
"embargo," with accusations that the United States prevented the
paradise island from being even more idyllic.
One of the challenges of dismantling the myths of "Fidel's paradise" is
the absence of reliable statistics. There is no independent validation
for the extraordinary coverage and quality indicators of health on the
island, which progressives often use for propaganda.
It would be very naive to believe that in a country where there is no
free press, and where people cannot express themselves against the
government without going to jail, a serious audit of the figures of the
health system are allowed.
The last point is critical. There is no objective report of any of
Cuba's health care or anything else. What you get is a summary written
by the people who don't allow you to challenge anything. There is no
free press demanding government documents. There are no investigative
reporters or any other reporters since every one works for the state media.
Change will eventually come to Cuba. We are off to a rough start
because the Obama approach has done nothing but to consolidate the
people running everything. Nevertheless, change will come someday, and
the truth of the Castro regime will be revealed. It will be an
embarrassing moment for the many carrying Castro water all of these years.
Source: Blog: Cuba and the lessons of socialism -