The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 08, 2017


Venezuela has descended into a nightmare landscape that commonly results when a once prosperous and vital country becomes a socialist state. In Venezuela, socialist Nicholas Maduro (Chezar Chavez' successor) has ruined the economy, allowed infrastructure to crumble, oppressed anyone who opposed him. With recent news of massive unrest and chaos, Venezuela has become a failed state, but many progressives refuse to reflect honestly on the reasons why and continue to promote the idea of a socialist utopia.

But Venezuela in not alone in our part of the world. Consider Cuba. The Cuban revolution is close to 60 years old and is therefore yet another valid test of the notion of a socialist utopia. Many believed that Fidel Castro's death would lead to profound change, but his brother, Raul, tightened the grip of the communist government and life remains the same—shortages of virtually everything from food to gasoline to medical goods; corruption at the government level and a thriving black market that allows Cubans to survive at a human level; Annika Hernroth-Rothstein recently visited Cuba and reports:
One thing that sets Cuba apart from other totalitarian regimes is the romance that surrounds it, still, despite the thousands of extrajudicial executions and arbitrary imprisonments, a ruined national economy, and denial of basic freedoms of association, religion, movement, and speech having taken place in the past 58 years. Even those who do not hold an ideological torch for the communist revolution are still enchanted with the country's beauty, charm, and lust for life, making it easier to disregard the daily crimes committed against its people and quell the international community's instinct to intervene.

Cuba is truly magical, and yes, it is full of life, but once you step outside of the lush hotel garden you see that it is life on the brink of death, magic existing in a state of suspended animation.

There are several shadow-societies existing side by side in Cuba, and through these the population has come to function and survive, with very limited resources and freedoms.

This is made possible by the geographical and cultural proximity to the U.S., loosening of sanctions and the idea of Cuba being kept alive through and by the booming Cuban tourism industry. This process is quietly supported by the regime itself because, ironically, the only way for the communist revolution to survive is by covert capitalism, keeping the population from starvation, and turning a blind eye to this keeps the oppressive communist regime from having to admit defeat.
Living and working in South Florida, I come into contact with Cubans every day. They are the very best of what immigrant generations bring to our country—industrious, enthusiastic, and over time, successful at what they do. They have kept their culture and traditions, but effectively integrated into America. They are a net positive for all of us.

I have to believe that someday, the Cuban people will break free of the socialistas who have forced them into poverty and corruption. Cuba won't become like the USA, but its people will create a political/economic system that rewards individual initiative, allowing them to keep the fruits of their labor, reducing the corruption that is now so common, and continuing to allow them and us to be "enchanted with the country's beauty, charm, and lust for life."