Castro, Cuba, and Communism
Castro, Cuba, and Communism
Written by Vasant G. Gandhi
Monday, 18 October 2010 08:31
Recently 84-year old Fidel Castro, the retired revolutionary leader of Cuba, told American journalist, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine (published in the United States), that the “Cuban model” no longer works. Castro was referring to the economic model of communism, which he implemented in Cuba 50 years ago.
Needless to say, many economists had previously deduced long ago what Castro concluded in 2010.
Cuba is a Caribbean island located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles (150 kilometers) south of Key West, Florida, USA.
Its physical size (110,000 square kilometers) and the number of residents (11.5 million) living on the island make it an ideal country for any leader to carry out an experiment to see which economic model – capitalism, communism, or socialism – is best suited to economically uplift the nation and her people.
The military dictator Fidel Castro chose communism for Cuba.
Fidel came to power in 1959 after overthrowing the undemocratic rule of Fulgencio Batista and promised to bring democratic rule to the country. However, he did not do that. Instead, he installed a one-party communist regime, severed ties with his democratic neighbor, the USA, formed a close relationship with a far away communist nation, the former USSR, and imprisoned or terminated many of his opponents.
In February 2008, after 50 years in power, ailing octogenarian Fidel Castro retired and handed the power to his younger brother, Raul Castro.
In October 2010, Fidel told his fellow suffering Cubans and the rest of the world, too, that his economic system did not work – communism had failed!
Singapore is a very tiny island in Southeast Asia. Its total area is roughly 700 square kilometers (.006 the size of Cuba!) and its population exceeds 4.5 million (39 percent of Cuba). It opted to follow capitalism. In 2009, its gross domestic product was US$177 billion as compared to Cuba’s US$56 billion, and the GDP per capita was nearly US$40,000 as compared to Cuba’s US$5,000.
These statistics exemplify a remarkable difference in the economic achievements of two islands: one capitalist, the other communist.
In 1848, Karl Marx, the guru of communism, and his friend, Friedrich Engels, drafted a document called the Communist Manifesto, which later became an unalterable sacred text for believers and followers of communism throughout the world.
In the manifesto, and later in the three volumes book Das Kapital, Marx states that the theory of communism may be stated in four words, “abolish all private property.” It is the root cause of “misery of the masses.”
He argues that all the means of production, distribution, and marketing must be in the hands of the government. All workers work for the government and use the state managed store or facility to buy items or necessary services.
The Cuban government espoused Marx’s ideals. By the end of 2009, it employed nearly 4 million employees (75%) from a total Cuban work force of 5 million, but now the government is laying off 500,000 people.
The intentions behind Marxism are good, and it is easy to see how the proletariat can be persuaded into overthrowing the bourgeois. But, in reality, the public takeover of private businesses does not work.
The people of India have firsthand experience in dealing with businesses in the public sector. For instance, air travel was unreliable when private airlines were not allowed and the public had to use government airlines. Furthermore, travel on the publicly owned Indian Railway trains has been both a challenge and a safety hazard, and there are no private train companies. Other public institutions such as banks, bus service, energy suppliers, insurance companies, post office, etc. are often substandard.
If living under socialism is bad in India, one may wonder how bad could it be living under full-fledged communism. Ask Cubans, North Koreans, or Russians, or read the books written by dissidents: Carlos Franqui’s Family Portrait with Fidel or Solzhenistyn’s Gulag Archipelago or Nobel Laureate Sakharov’s My Country and the World.
When voters in the state of Bihar, India go to the polls to elect the state assembly, they must remind themselves that their vote is precious – repeat—precious.
Further, if the nation of Cuba is any guide, know that communism does not work. And voters may want to think hard before voting for a candidate who staunchly believes in the ideology of communism and favors the communist rule.