Will the communist regime Fidel Castro created survive?
Will the communist regime he created back in 1959 survive? Or will the country be transformed into a pluralist democracy, equipped with a market-based economic system and the existence of private property, as was the case with almost all of the communist Eastern Bloc dictatorships after the fall of the Soviet Union?
I predict the latter. The Cuban people know that the system Castro created has failed. Food, housing, drinking water, transportation, electricity, communications, and clothing are wants that cannot be compensated for by an extensive but very poor educational and health system.
The fact that Cuba has a reasonably educated population fosters the societys desire for change and its dissatisfaction with a system bent on having the immense majority of Cubans live miserably.
Cuban leaders, especially those younger than Fidel and his brother Raul’s generation, realise that they are not heroes in a tale of romantic exploits, but the promoters of an absurd system from which everyone escapes who can.
In the Americas, at the turn of the 21st century, a dictatorship where human rights are not respected, which has more than 300 political prisoners-including 48 young people for collecting signatures for a referendum, 23 journalists for writing articles about the regime, and 18 librarians for loaning forbidden books-cannot be sustained.
Fidel Castro’s death will be the starting point for a series of political and economic changes similar to those that occurred in Europe. The reason communism has not tumbled in Cuba, just as it has not in North Korea, is because of the country complete repression.
The official Cuban numbers for Castros economic and social achievements are so poorly regarded that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean opted not to take them into account when it compiled its own statistics on the true measures of Cuban society.
Every year, the United States sells to Cuba roughly $350 million in agricultural products, it permits money transfers estimated at $1 billion a year , and, whats more, it grants resident visas to 20,000 Cubans each year, relieving the government of serious social pressures.
It is also a curious paradox of the Castro regime that it fiercely opposes the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, while it demands that the embargo be lifted so it can trade freely with the United States. The contradictions notwithstanding, the truth is that the United States is a remarkable trade partner of Cuba’s. Even if Fidel Castro were as repressive as you believe, history provides no shortage of examples of discontented people rising up against repression.
As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof assert- ed in a Jan. 12, 2005, article, “If the U.S. had an infant mortality rate as good as Cuba’s, [it] would save an additional 2,212 American babies a year.”
How will he be remembered?
Castro will not be remembered as a luminary or an upholder of human rights. But will be remembered as a defender of the weakest and poorest citizens. Historians 100 years from now will credit Castro with building a cohesive nation with a strong identity, even after a century and a half of the white, elitist temptation to side with the United States out of fear of the numerous and oppressed black population. They will remember him correctly, as a pre-eminent pioneer in the history of his country.