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"Everyone has nothing, and the people are afraid"

So says Nilda Garcia, a Cuban refugee now living in south Florida.

This week, Cuba celebrated 50 years of Communist Revolution -- 50 years of poverty, squalor, sickness, paranoia, abuse, and hopelessness for the average Cuban.

Cuba's roads are deteriorating. Its buildings are crumbling. Its streets are filled with broken down automobiles from the 1950's, probably the biggest outward sign that something there is terribly wrong. The anomaly of Cuba's cultural time warp is intriguing, particularly since Cuba enjoys open trade with most of the rest of the world, save for the United States. Yet the jalopies remain, a persistent reminder that despite its intelligent, hardworking people and ample cash crops of sugar and tobacco, Cuba is perpetually broke. It remains to this day largely a welfare state, propped up by aid from Russia and China.

But not all of Cuba is run down. Fidel Castro and his cronies built a luxury vacation paradise on the beaches of Havana, a playground for rich Europeans and the elite (party members and so on) from Communist nations. There, the filthy Yankee Dollar is eagerly accepted.

Liberals who refuse to acknowledge the abject failures of Communism repeatedly point to Cuba's "free" health care system. In fact Cuba boasts health spas, hospitals, and medical research facilities that are the envy of Europe. But like everything else in Cuba, it's wonderful if you can afford to pay for your treatment in dollars or euros. For the native population, it's hell. And if you have HIV, you are locked away in a squalid sanitarium until you die.

Average Cubans, who were promised an egalitarian society free from the disparity of rich vs. poor, can only watch in disbelief, because if they voice their displeasure they are harassed, arrested, imprisoned, and "re-educated." Cuba has the most political prisoners per capita of any other nation. In Cuba today, owning a computer without government approval is a crime. You can also be arrested for owning an undocumented camera of any kind. Books and newspapers not published by the government are forbidden. If you are a foreigner, a Cuban "guide" will accompany you everywhere you go, and will cut your visit short if you are spotted talking to average Cubans on the street. A few years ago, when Czech model Helena Houdova toured Cuba, she set off on her own in an effort to document the effectiveness of international charity efforts. She was detained by the police, but she was able to smuggle pictures out of the country by hiding the memory chip of her digital camera in her bra.

One of the reasons for Cuba's continuing poverty is the corruption of its Communist leadership. During the past 50 years, Fidel Castro has managed to accumulate a net worth of nearly $1 billion. It must be utterly humiliating for a Communist to be exposed as nothing more than a greedy bastard, and after he was "outed" by Forbes Magazine in 2005 he was furious. The size of Castro's fortune indicates that he has stolen more wealth per capita than any other dictator in modern times.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Cuban expatriates live in the United States. Most of them reside in south Florida. Tens of thousands have escaped Cuba on rickety rafts and boats, braving the unforgiving stretch of sea between Cuba and Florida in a desperate gamble for freedom. Tens of thousands more were not so lucky. They either lost their lives at sea or were repatriated back to Cuba, where they faced imprisonment or death.

Perhaps the best way for us to remember the Cuban Revolution would be to read this heartbreaking piece from (of all places) The New York Times, which chronicles the anguish of Cuban Americans like Nilda Garcia, who grieve for their loved ones still in Cuba and for those who have perished while attempting to escape Fidel Castro's hell on earth.


ADDED (and fixed) : I replaced the link on "hell" with another one that more graphically illustrates the decrepit condition of Cuba's medical facilities. - fixed -


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Comments (13)

Ddid they invite JIMMY CART... (Below threshold)

Ddid they invite JIMMY CARTER and a few dozen liberal floozies and some reporters from the sympathetic NEW YORK TIMES?

Now which president was it ... (Below threshold)

Now which president was it that failed them initially, and which one botched the Bay of Pigs? Hmm. Waiting to hear from the Left...

Communism doesn't work, but... (Below threshold)

Communism doesn't work, but you will never find the movie moguls in Hollywood admit that. The same with many Democrats and "community activists". That is the problem with being a part of a community base reality.

Yes, it didn't take them lo... (Below threshold)

Yes, it didn't take them long to switch to four legs good, two legs better after they stopped getting money from the old Soviet Union. But only communist leaders are allowed to walk on two legs.

Cuba ? Political Prisoners ... (Below threshold)

Cuba ? Political Prisoners ?

This can't be, after all, Cuba is on the UN Human Rights Council.

Cuba did help Bush win Flor... (Below threshold)

Cuba did help Bush win Florida. I mean do you think the Cubans who made it to the USA would forget how the Clinton Administration treated Elain Gonzalez?
It good to know that a mother would die to give her child a chance of freedom and the US would send the child back to the workers' paradise at gun point.

Thier infrastructure suffer... (Below threshold)

Thier infrastructure suffers because they spent all that money on the world's best healthcare system

"Change" came to Cuba in 19... (Below threshold)

"Change" came to Cuba in 1959, and this is the effect, 50 years hence. I hope we have not opted for something similar.

Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador are following the Cuban example. Who says old revolutionaries are washed up? Apparently, being one doesn't require an understanding of history, economics, or international relations, and sure as hell doesn't require any regard for your own people.

The true Latin American Idiots are alive and well, an echo of the Revolution! past. Pathetic.

will Cuba be the 51st sta... (Below threshold)

will Cuba be the 51st state this century?

"...how the Clinton adminis... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"...how the Clinton administration treated Elian Gonzalez?"

I know, reuniting a son with his father. Horrible, just horrible.

"It good to know that a mother would die to give her child a chance at freedom..."

I thought conservatives like 6. were against illegal immigration?

rotter The US Immi... (Below threshold)


The US Immigration policy for Cuba is different than the rest of the world. It states if they make it to the USA then they can legally apply for Permanent Residence 1 year later. Just like the US allows for political asylum if someone is feeling a repressive country. Since they are acting within the Law of US immigration it is not illegal.

I know, reuniting a son with his father. Horrible, just horrible.

Yes if by father you mean Castro and his brothers are at every Birthday party and he is now a member of the Communist party. Castor wanted him back as propaganda tool and the Clinton Administrations was only too willing to hand him over.
I love how in free society everyone motives are questionable but in dictatorship everyone acts out over pure kindness.  

"Yes if by father you mean ... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"Yes if by father you mean Castro,..."

No, by father, I meant father.

"...and his brothers are at every Birthday party..."

Castro and his brothers go to the birthday parties of every child in Cuba? This I doubt.

Rotter,C... (Below threshold)


Castro and his brothers go to the birthday parties of every child in Cuba? This I doubt.
No but, Castro has attended Elian's birthday every year since his return and when Castro was ill his brother attended. Elian and his father are propaganda tools.






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