The Cuban Revolution, a Half Century of Poverty

In 1959 the armed insurrection unleashed by Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra mountain range in Cuba triumphed, forcing President Fulgencio Batista to step down. The movie “Godfather II” does a realistic recreation of the moment in which Batista announces to his country his resignation and the immediate reaction of the people with demonstrations of joy and euphoria over the fall of what they considered to be a dictatorship.

What followed in the years to come has no precedent in the political history of America. In fact, a revolution that imposes itself by force of arms possesses the privilege that a de facto government has, where the will of the leader is absolute and has no legal standards to respect, as indeed he assumes all power and the right to govern by decree.

When Fidel Castro came down from the mountains and entered Havana he was received as the enlightened one, the savior of the people, the restorer of the state. Little by little the Cuban people began to realize that the “leader” did not represent what they thought he did. Far from democratizing the country by convening elections to achieve a representative government for all Cubans, what took place was a most bloody repression and the imposition of a regime by force and control — one which exercised great influence in all nations of Latin America.

In spite of our budding youth we still remember the series of executions by firing squad, as well as the public trials of a political nature that were mentioned daily in the news and revealed the manner by which the new regime imposed itself with cruelty upon the population.

Nationalizations without previous compensation became a daily occurrence. The constitution was abolished and a new one was imposed that was tailor-made for the regime, in which political parties disappeared and a single-party system was established without an opposition that could raise their voice to counter any position taken by the government.

Within a short time of being in power, Fidel declared himself a Marxist and set up his regime by fire and sword. Hundreds of officers from Batista’s army were executed by firing squad in public trials that were held in stadiums where the “people’s law” was applied as an alternative to today’s due process.

The newspapers of America carried an assortment of news about the continued growth of the regime, which more than 50 years later survives with an elderly Fidel and a gerontocracy government led by his brother Raul, who struggles with surprising restraint to keep himself afloat.

Those who have visited the island say that life in the region is special, with institutionalized poverty and no political freedom. No possibility of dissent exists with the government’s official policies, nor is there a way to choose different leaders to oppose those of the official party. The Cuban economy remains at very low levels, illustrated by the vehicles used for public and private transportation, which are the same ones from the time the revolution began.

Last December, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were re-established. This implies the end of the commercial embargo imposed against Cuba by the Americans in retaliation for the treatment of American citizens by the new regime, which has caused the nation’s economic limits and hardships. Cuba has been, on a larger scale, the North Korea of the Antilles, where the regime authorizes and controls everything and where rationing has become essential, otherwise food and other products of prime importance would not meet the needs of the population. It is said that with what has taken place in December, all will return to normal.

We would hope to see results, because the Cuban regime is still Marxist. The year 2015 brings expectations of a new analysis regarding what will take place in Cuba after what recently happened to the revolution. Let’s remember that the USSR no longer exists and that Venezuelan oil was a convenient support for Cuba, but not anymore.

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