Communism

Cuba and the Death of Communism

Fidel Castro finally admits the obvious.

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Communism has been proclaimed dead more than once in the past couple of decades. But today, it's safe to say, it is really dead. Irreversibly dead. Cemetery dead.

Consider this comment from a knowledgeable Cuban critic who was asked if the country's brand of socialism, created by Fidel Castro after his 1959 revolution, could be of use in other countries: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." That remark would have gotten him in trouble with authorities, if his name were not Fidel Castro.

There may yet be admirers of Cuban communism in certain precincts of Berkeley or Cambridge, but it's hard to find them in Havana. The 84-year-old Fidel (who later said he didn't mean to say that) has turned control over to brother Raul, whose faith in the shining power of Marxism-Leninism has also dried up.

This week, the regime said it will dismiss 500,000 people from government jobs, which account for 84 percent of the work force. Reflecting ruefully on the perils of sheltered bureaucracy, Raul Castro declared recently, "We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working."

As a blanket indictment, that statement is grossly unfair. Many Cuban government employees put in long hours—working in the black market.

That option is not necessarily optional, since the average Cuban makes only about $20 a month—which is a bit spartan even if you add in free housing, food, and medical care. For that matter, the free stuff is not so easy to come by: Food shortages are frequent, the stock of adequate housing has shrunk, and hospital patients often have to bring their own sheets, food, and even medical supplies.

For a long time, Cuba enjoyed the generous support of the Soviet Union. But when communism collapsed in Moscow, Cubans had to confront the deficiencies of their system.

Admirers of Castro point to his alleged success in eradicating illiteracy and improving health care. But even these fall short of impressive progress.

Roger Noriega, a researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, notes that before communism arrived, Cuba "was one of the most prosperous and egalitarian societies of the Americas." His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

Instead of accelerating development, Castro has hindered it. In 1980, living standards in Chile were double those in Cuba. Thanks to bold free-market reforms implemented in Chile but not Cuba, the average Chilean's income now appears to be four times higher than the average Cuban's.

The regime prefers to blame any problems on the Yankee imperialists, who have enforced an economic embargo for decades. In fact, its effect on the Cuban economy is modest, since Cuba trades freely with the rest of the world. How potent can the boycott be when we're the only participant?

Cubans have had to pay for their meager economic gains by surrendering their political liberties. In its latest annual report, Human Rights Watch says, "Cuba remains the one country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent."

The latest instrument for strangling dissent is a law allowing the arrest of people exhibiting "dangerous" un-socialist tendencies even before they commit crimes. "The most Orwellian of Cuba's laws, it captures the essence of the Cuban government's repressive mindset, which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential threat and thus worthy of punishment," says Human Rights Watch.

But even economic failures and political tyranny have been not enough to deprive Castro of Western admirers. On a 2000 visit to Havana, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asserted, "Castro's regime has set an example we can all learn from." His lieutenant Che Guevara has been endlessly romanticized. Movie director Oliver Stone once marveled of Fidel, "I'm totally awed by his ability to survive and maintain a strong moral presence."

Cubans may differ. About 1.5 million of them have fled since Castro arrived, many in rickety boats that put their lives in peril. And the government, for some reason, doesn't let ordinary citizens decide if it remains in power.

That's the grisly fate of modern Cubans. Communism is dead, and they're shackled to the corpse.

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  1. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  2. This week, the regime said it will dismiss 500,000 people from government jobs, which account for 84 percent of the work force. Reflecting ruefully on the perils of sheltered bureaucracy, Raul Castro declared recently, “We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working.”

    He needs to do a fact finding visit to Camden, NJ.

    1. Good morning reason!

      1. For a moment I thought you?d forgotten!

        signed: a fervent admirer of your morning greeting…

  3. “”””Communism is dead”””

    No it isn’t, its very alive in places like China and Vietnam. The communists instead of running the sweatshops themselves have outsourced to the globalist corporations. The communist party in these countries are more secure and stable then they have ever been before.

    People make the mistake that communism was about economics, it was about power and just like in China and Vietnam I don’t see the communist of Cuba giving up power.

    1. It’s also very alive in the White House and Democratic Party.

      1. Get a clue.

        1. Sound advice, Peter. You should take it yourself.

      2. In the White House, yes. Among the Democratic Party — only those who don’t actually have to work for a living.

    2. People were always the problem with Communism. It forgot people’s inherent nature, its biggest flaw…and biggest draw (for those in charge).

      1. Mmmm, no. I’d have to say that I think even with theoretically ideal people, Communism would still be a viciously evil philosophy.

        If you think very carefully about what Communism actually implies — not just practically, but even theoretically — it implies pretty much what you observe happening with it: it’s lovely for a tiny elite, the “distributors” and “sharers” and “party secretaries” who must decide how the philosophy is to be applied to practical problems. Folks like this enjoy infinite privilege, far more than any mere captain of industry or wealthy heir in a capitalist system — because to disagree with their decisions is not just a crime, it is a sin against the One True Religion, and arbitrary punishment can be meted out.

        It’s no big surprise that the biggest proponents of Communism have been intellectuals and social parasites. (Marx himself was both, sponging his entire life off of his wealthy friends and the labor of his girlfriends.) Such people are held in contempt by anyone who earns value with his own two hands, and brain, but in the New Utopia, where only your political reliability determines your rewards, they would be princes and princesses. Which they would like.

    3. Once they stop controlling the means of production, it’s only a matter of time until they stop controlling speech, ideas.
      Hungry people are more obedient.

      1. They still control the means of production, they can shut down any factory and put any person in jail at any time for any reason they want.

        1. How is it any different in this country?

          1. The difference is that in the US the government has some restrictions on what reasons they do it.

            1. That’s silly bullshit…they’ll just use an acceptable reason/excuse!

            2. You ever hear of the Commerce Clause?

              1. The Commerce Clause has been so bastardized over the decades, it doesn’t resemble what it was meant to be.

                Cue Tony in 3…2…

            3. Four legs good, two legs bad.

    4. True this! Castroism is dead, he just didn’t do the whole marxist utopia thing properly. The same with Maoism, Stalinism etc… We need more Harvard, Berkeley academic types appointed as czars. Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama will get the marxist utopia just right, THIS TIME.

      1. Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama will get the marxist utopia just right, THIS TIME.

        Actyally, that may very well be true…for about 5 minutes. One bit problem with Communism and similar ideologies is that it does not handle dynamic unexpected change well.

    5. People make the mistake that communism was about economics

      FAIL

    6. People make the mistake that communism was about economics, it was about power…

      You say that like the two are separable in some meaningful way.

  4. His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

    Instead of accelerating development, Castro has hindered it.

    A government is holding it’s people back? Blasphemy! Governments are perfect! Only Libertarians and Corporations hinder progress and make people’s lives miserable!

  5. I look forward to the skit where Castro tries to return communism to the ideology store:

    Castro: I wish to complain about this ideology what I purchased not half a century ago from this very boutique.

    Marx: Oh yes, the, uh, the communism…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

    Castro: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    Marx: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

      1. MontyfuckingPython! gotta love it…

    1. ‘E’s just pining for the fjords…

    2. Actually, it’s more than 50 years old. The warranty is expired.

  6. The 10 PLANKS stated in the Communist Manifesto

    1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

  7. The 10 PLANKS stated in the Communist Manifesto

    1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

    1. Never understood the need for number two. All capital assets, and the income derived from them, will belong to the state; nothing is left from which citizens can obtain a taxable income.

      The Laffer curve does drop to 0% at a 100% tax rate.

    2. And we already have laws covering every one of them, maybe not to the extent of what you wrote, but give it some more time.

      “We can’t expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.” -Nikita Khrushchev

      1. I’ve always said socialism was the go between to get from capitalism to communism.

  8. apologies for the double post

    1. The truth needs to be repeated.

  9. IT’S A TRICK!
    Just like Clinton putting conservatives at ease by saying “The era of big government is over.”

  10. Fidel Castro finally admitted the obvious, telling an interviewer, “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”

    Yeah – but then he said he meant the opposite.

    1. Then cuba announced the lay off of 500,000 government employees.

    2. He’s just brain dead…..more than he use to be.

    3. Nah, he’s just getting senile and his personal filter isn’t what it used to be.

      1. I told him to try Activia. look how loose and lucid Jimmy Carter is!1!!!!1

  11. but will obama listen?

  12. “the Death of Communism”

    Maybe we should celebrate with a housing bubble party.

    1. Affordable housing for all! And if the inevitable happens, forget that we said this.

  13. In the 90s, a well known Mexican political satire magazine dedicated an entire issue to mock socialism’s failure, including a section dedicated to lampoon Castro’s regime in Cuba, this invoked angry letters from some of its readers, including someone who described his travel there and how he saw that everything was peachy and the only problems that existed were the comercial blockade’s sole fault, the writting ended emphasizing that he “Was not a foreigner swimming in dollars as you might think”, instead that he was a “simple” student who entered an exchange program sponsored by the Cuban government.

    1. In fairness, most college students are pretty simple.

  14. “Fidel Castro finally admits the obvious.” Now if we can get our idiot President to admit the same!

  15. I don’t really see the regime in Cuba changing soon but I don’t think even the Castro brothers want their people ending up like the North Koreans. They at least grudgingly realize some reforms are vital to their future. Kim Jong-il will starve the entire population of North Korea to death before he yields a thing.

    1. The Castro brothers have never realized anything…that’s why they are known as dumb fucks!

  16. “How potent can the boycott be when we’re the only participant?”

    Why don’t you ask China how influential a US boycott would be?

    1. Cuba is an island with a population of just 10 million people. That’s roughly the population of NYC. I’m pretty sure that 10 million people can find somebody else to purchase their wares in a world of 7 billion people. Yes, a country of a billion people needs every customer it can get, but Cuba simply doesn’t.

  17. His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

    Not surprising when you look at the demographic make up of pre Castro Cuba. However, the people responsible for that high standard of living have mostly emigrated. Unless they all move back en masse Cuba will probably never do much better than the Dominican Republic, even when Castro finally goes.

    1. Interesting point here. Communism pretty much filters out the ambitious; they hit the road.
      What’s left has a strong bias toward those who are society’s net ‘takers’.

  18. With Castro in Cuba one dictatorship was replaced with another. First one though had support of US gov. as laundry room for dirty money. If that’s not true, and only US mafia was involved in pre-Castro Cuba, why then sanctions on Cuba but NON on Vietnam (war) or China (war in Korea + communism)?
    I see that some movie goers are commenting so for you rest of the story can be found in Francis Ford Coppola movie called “Godfather”.
    You wrote; “His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.”
    – There is nothing different in Cuba under Castro, Cuba still beats those countries.
    As someone who grew up in one European country during, over there last 20 years of communism, as child I waited in line for bread, dad for gas, mom for coffee and banana was fruit that was rarely available on the market. I know first hand that communism does not work. It does not work because we as humans did not evolve and greed of those in power surpasses social values. In capitalism there is some difference since it opens doors to everyone, not only to the party members, but once in the circle, greed does same to capitalism and consequences are ever-present all around us. For now, in capitalism money printing works well without inflation while communists could not figure that one out. We’ll see what future will bring to all of us and to Cubans I wish good luck after communist dictatorship!

    1. Batista was merely corrupt and power hungry who hindered Cuba. The Castro crew are murderous dictatorial parasites that destroyed Cuba.

      And yes, my grandfather died in a Cuban jail.

      1. Sorry to hear that. That does not surprise me, as I said, I grew up behind the wall. Communists, even without China, are the biggest killing machine of the 20th century.

    2. Greed and lack of social values have never been the problem with capitalism. In fact greed is necessary for capitalism to work.

      The real problem with communism, capitalism and all social systems is herding behaviour or groupthink. This is what leads to periodic financial crisis and massive democratic problems. Its also why it took so long to get rid of communism and why the cult of global warming holds so much power.

  19. “including someone who described his travel there and how he saw that everything was peachy and the only problems that existed were the comercial blockade’s sole fault…”

    Yeah. I never did get that. I’ve been to Cuba. It’s a pisshole thanks to Feeeee-del. A beautiful country with amazing people who made the best of the madness Castro heaped upon these fine people.

    I also went to see a doctor there. The chap was smart. Only problem was the shelves weren’t stocked with medicine.

    Met a guy handing out towels. We hung out. He was an engineer educated in Russia and he was making a couple of bucks a month handing out beach serviettes to spoiled, pain in the ass Westeners who probably wore Che t-shirts.

    He wasn’t happy. At all. Would you if you had to look over your shoulders each time you spoke? An engineer and he has to hand out bleeping towels?

    One of my buddies growing up in Canada was from Cuba. Trained boxer. He had some nice stories to tell about Castro. Nice people.

    All these assholes, Moore, Penn (here in Canada the Trudeau boys havea man-crush on him)etc. who have the balls to state Cuba was a paradise should be ashamed and shut their mouths and go live there. It’s a supreme insult to have to listen to their partisan, ignorant idiocy.

    Last, anyone who is truly honest with notion of individual liberty would reject lands in the hands of men like Castro.

    Obama DOES exhibit an anti-freedom impulse. Remember when he asked citizens to spy and snitch on one another? Do you think he doesn’t dream of bypassing the Constitution (as most Presidents have and do) and pulling a “Caesar” where he can recreate America in his own (banal of course) image? Obama speaks to self-hating Americans with a guilt complex and an axe to grind.

    Just my perception.

    Off to hunt…for endives.

  20. Soviet-style communism may be dead, but socialism is very much alive. I am gloomy about the prospects for Cuba. I think it’s most likely to turn into a Caribbean version of Russia, where the old apparatchiks position themselves so that any “privatisation” leaves most of the wealth in their hands.

    1. I believe you’re right.

    2. By “Socialism” some people mean social services, and a certain degree of government meddling. In other words Mixed Economy, which is different from the marxist socialism’s core idea of abolishing private property.

      1. Yeah, like if you don’t like the taste of dogshit, you can just mix in some ice cream, and it will be all better.

        1. Nah, the difference is like choosing between dogshit and dogshit with cyanide.

    3. And leftists will use it to bash capitalism.

      1. “Will”?

  21. Well, obviously this just proves that Cuba didn’t practice REAL communism. I will now purge my memory of any recollections of supporting the Cuban model of communism. Purging…purging…

    1. Careful you don’t purge too long and far, you may end up alongside ol’ Eric the Prince taking the long vacation in Abu Dhabi.

  22. Great, at this rate, the AOL 4.0 disk should be dropping on Cuba in about three or four years.

    Nothing like waiting till the bitter end to declare communism a failure. Jesus even the producers of Police Academy knew enough to give up after Police Academy 7 Mission to Moscow!

    1. Something akin to a whore’s death bed rebirth.

  23. Isn’t communism alive and well in North Korea?

  24. It’s not communism or socialism, we’re just taxing the wealthy so that the poor can have an equal playing field in a competitive market.

    Not socialism. Not communism.

    1. Yeah, that’s working like a charm, Punk.

      1. We’re not taking anything from you, we’re giving it to somebody else.

        1. And you wouldn’t expect us to perform such a benevolent service free of charge, I hope!!

          1. We’re not charging you for a service, we’re just taxing your income for the benefit of society. You do need roads and sewer systems, don’t you?

        2. We’re not stealing your work, we’re just stealing your work.

        3. This might be the statement of the year…

          We’re not taking anything from you, we’re giving it to somebody else.

          Just, wow. Giving something that wasn’t taken. That’s pretty magical.

          1. it’s not magical, it’s government. They’ve been doing it for years


  25. Communism has been proclaimed dead more than once in the past couple of decades. But today, it’s safe to say, it is really dead. Irreversibly dead. Cemetery dead.

    I guess the phalanx of neo-Marxists currently littering our govt – from health/human services to the FTC to BarrySo himself – didn’t get that memo.

    1. Not to worry. We’re scribbling one now that will get delivered on the first Tuesday in November.

  26. What ever happened to their toilet paper crises? Did everything come out alright in the end? (Couldn’t resist-sorry)

  27. But but but . . . Th?y have FREE healthcare!!

  28. Somebody needs to tell this to Obama and gang.

  29. A lot of you sound just like the factions swirling through Petrograd in the months preceding the February Revolution — biting each others fat asses about whether communism is socialism.

    It just doesn’t occur to you fucking imbeciles that what matters is that state-loaded revolver at your heads.

    You’re doing to go down the drain of history with your teeth in each others’ throats.

    “May posterity forget that you were my countrymen.”

  30. We’re not seizing your property, we’re opening up parks for children to play. We’re not taking your guns, we’re making you safer. We’re not banning tobacoo, drugs, same sex marriage, etc, we’re cleaning up pollution.

    1. We’re not trampling the constitution, we’re exercising the flexibility of a living, breathing document.

      This is fun – I think we may have a new game here; Rhetoric

  31. We’re not violating your privacy, we’re protecting your neighborhood.

    We’re not hindering free-speech, we’re creating peace and tolerance.

    We’re not taxing you, we’re giving you a percentage of your income.

  32. Communism needs to go away.

  33. There is no way that communism is dead. The only way to “kill” communism is with a free market. In fact I’d say communism is more alive and powerful then it ever has been. Communism has managed to sneak it’s hand into governments all around the world, the signs are usually clear but no one notices them because they choose to be ignorant of the it. One clear example is the U.S. the amount of corruptness in the so-called “constitutional” government we believe in is overwhelming. When our government starts to tell us what our rights are according to them, then we should know something is up. Does our government have the right to tell us what healthcare we get? Or if we have the right to own guns or weapons, the right to defend ourselves? No.

    No Sir, communism is not dead. It is merely “playing dead” so that the political spotlight will move onto something else so it has time to grow and accumulate more mass. Commies are hiding in plain sight, you just hafta look for them.

    To say that our government is completely corrupt would be a false assessment, but to say that it has a plausible foothold in our politics and system of justice would hafta be true in my opinion.

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