Cuba – the untaught lesson on perils of socialism
Cuba: the untaught lesson on perils of socialism
Feb. 9, 2016 Updated 12:59 p.m.
By RON HART / Contributing columnist
I’m Just back from Cuba, where I observed that, while they are realizing
the futility of central command-and-control government, we are embracing
it. Cuba and the U.S. are like ships passing in the night.
Desperate for a positive legacy item, Obama set about normalizing
relations with Cuba. In that island nation, Obama is more popular than
Castro – but so is loading your family members onto a Styrofoam cooler
and floating them to Florida.
We knew Obama was embracing Cuba when, at a summit last April, he shook
Raul Castro’s hand. Republicans were outraged to have to watch the
biggest communist dictator in the world shaking hands with Castro.
My main takeaway: Cuba is a political and economics lesson not taught
well enough to our schoolchildren. With the rise in popularity of Bernie
Sanders, who is beating Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic
primary, it’s clear that Americans do not understand the dire lessons of
socialism’s poisonous ideology and the devastation it brings to every
country that has fallen prey to its hollow temptations. In a Pew
Research Center survey, 43 percent of 18-29-year-olds had a positive
reaction to the word “socialism.”
U.S. teachers, who generally lean left, romanticize Marxist
revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Castro. Kids today wear iconic Che
T-shirts, unaware of the 3,000 political murders and economic
devastation he caused.
My trip was educational, and Cuba remains a story educators should teach
kids. Yet they don’t. I asked five twentysomething kids what they knew
about Cuba; had they been taught the economic lessons of the devastation
wrought by communism? All said “No.” It is not a story the Left wants to
tell, since their narrative promises free stuff for everyone that nobody
has to pay for. It’s an easy sell to dopes, but it has never worked and
Like Obama, Fidel Castro holds grudges. A Yale professor on our trip was
denied his visa at the last minute because he once wrote that Fidel
overstated his baseball prowess.
Just to summarize, Fidel Castro took over this once-economically vibrant
island in 1959 and pretended to be selflessly for the people, just like
Democrats and those ambulance-chasing lawyers who advertise on buses. It
turns out they are just out for themselves. Fidel decided later that
socialism/communism was the way to go; that way he’d be in power
forever. He seized assets from landowners, corporations and Mafia casino
operators. He has lived longer than anyone could have expected for a man
who stole a casino from gangster Meyer Lansky.
After 55 years of rule and a personal net worth stolen from the Cubans
of over $1 billion, he felt like, at 85, he had enough money to get him
to the barn. Just imagine how much Castro would be worth if he were not
a “share the wealth” communist. Upon retirement, out of habit, the New
York Yankees signed him to a five-year deal.
Fidel Castro realized he was not going to live forever; he’s not Larry
King. So he appointed his brother Raul to rule. Raul is Cuban for “Jeb.”
Fidel said that he was retiring to spend more time repressing his
family. As I have found out, when you say you are going to quit work to
spend more time with your family, you might want to check with your
The timing was right to normalize relations. Obama felt that Castro had
become the type of weakened strongman dictator that Sony Pictures could
make a comedy about without Castro getting all bent out of shape.
After the pope’s visit, Castro told his countrymen – and women – to have
more children because Cuba has the lowest birth rate in Latin America.
Nothing gets oppressed citizens in an amorous mood like a command from a
nearly 90-year-old communist dictator.
Obama then lifted our embargo on certain Cuban goods, including cigars –
yet another confirmation that Obama is still smoking.
Fifty years of Cuban socialist rule have turned a prosperous country
into an impoverished one. Cubans earn $20 a month, but everything is
free! It is just that there is none of it. Store shelves are empty; even
toilet paper is scarce. All the “evil” businesses were run out of Cuba,
and 70 percent of the people work for the government, so there is no one
left to tax.
Havana airport officials are mostly women in short skirts and fishnet
stockings; one can only imagine what it takes to get and hold those jobs
under Castro. When I left, I asked them to frisk me to make sure I
wasn’t smuggling out baseball players.
Ron Hart, a libertarian op-ed humorist and award-winning author, is a
frequent guest on CNN. He can be contacted at or
@RonaldHart on Twitter.
Source: Cuba: the untaught lesson on perils of socialism – The Orange
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