Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Hope for Cuba’s future

Published:Monday | July 19, 2021 | 12:06 AM


When I visited Cuba in 2009 and spent 10 days there, it was rough enough getting to buy goods from the stores. I would stand in line for a long time to buy even basic vegetables, and by the time it came for me to be served, all the produce were done.

Since then, economic and general living conditions have worsened for Cubans: not least, because former US President Trump tightened the economic screws on Cuba, which sadly, the Biden administration has failed to relax because it’s trying to court the votes of Cubans in Florida; and then, on top of Cuba’s woes, came the COVID-19 pandemic.

As far as both the Cuban authorities and past and current American administrations are concerned, they want the Cuban people to make a choice between remaining faithful to the Cuban Revolution or going without many of the basic necessities of life. This is what one may called a Hobson’s choice – do or die!

Now, those who do not want to make that either/or choice, flee if they can to the USA; and those who can’t flee, have to remain in Cuba to grin and bear the hardships of everyday life.


But it is possible for Cubans to enjoy a better lifestyle than what is being offered now, if the ‘self-appointed’ guardians of the Cuban Revolution, and the successors to the Castros, were less suspicious of the Yankee man’s, or El Gringo’s, intentions for Cuba.

At the same time, the USA, and the Cuban émigrés in places like South Florida, are unforgiving of the Castros and their successors. If these groups of disaffected Cubans were less hysterical about the supposed evils of socialism; and were less hostile to Marxist Cuban communists; then, they would recognise that Cubans at home don’t necessarily need to adopt without criticism all the American notions. They may not need free-market capitalism, and liberal democracy to enjoy a prosperous life style.

Matter of fact, there are several non-socialist and non-communist countries in the Caribbean Basin, and in Latin America, who are even in a more desperate economic condition than Cuba. So it’s not socialism per se which is the cause of Cuba’s problems, but, perhaps, the mismanagement of the country by its leaders.

So it is possible that Cubans don’t necessarily have to adopt the American model of political and social governance; nor should America be unnecessarily overbearing in its attempt to export its brand of democracy to Cuba. For ironically, and even hypocritically, democracy is every day being eroded in America.

Maybe if America could first heal herself of her illusions about democracy, then she may be able to help Cuba better. And a first step in this healing process is for America to get rid of the Cuban embargo, which is a Cold War anachronism.