Sunday, September 22, 2013

Castro’s Cuba: The Communist Poster Boy

The Socialist Workers Party had a book table at the Brooklyn Book Fair. Predictably, they identified capitalism as the prime problem confronting humanity. I was surprised to hear that their representative still held up violent revolution as a possible means to deal with the “injustices and oppression” of capitalism.

I was deeply disturbed by this, but tried to address the communist with a bit of humor:

  • Okay, capitalism has been a source of  oppression. But your “progressive” top-down solutions do not seem to have proved any better. I’m sure you still remember names of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot.
He did, but countered:

  • Our model is Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Admittedly, it is a poor country, but it is one where there has been a lot of popular participation in government.
This was the first time I had heard of such laurels placed on Castro’s neck. “Why then did so many try to escape this ‘worker’s paradise,’” I countered. He answered that these boat people were those allowed to freely leave Cuba.

Clearly, my knowledge of Castro didn’t measure up to his. I asked about the reports of genocide. The communist responded that these had all been fabricated. However, returning home, I googled many of these “fabrications.” One reported that 85,675 had been the victims his genocide. This number didn’t include the 16,282 additional deaths due to combat or missing in action. adds:

  • Castro's policies imposed poverty and slavery on millions. In 1959, Cuba was the second richest country in Latin America; today, it is the second poorest. Most pharmacies in Cuba do not even have aspirins. Cuba is plagued with a humanitarian catastrophe involving massive and widespread malnutrition and lack of basic goods; death, suffering, and misery is the result. The streets are now choked with scenes of starving peasants frantically pleading for food. In September 2010, Castro admitted that "the Cuban model doesn't even work."
Sadly, this admission can only after the murder of many thousands:

  • Castro has been accused of genocide by Genocide Watch. He has been sued for genocide in Belgium and Spain. The estimated number of deaths attributable to the Castro regime varies according to different sources—but not by much. The number of named, documented victims (with 2 or more sources) established by recent scholarship is 86,000, excluding an estimated minimum of 16,282 deaths in war and combat, for a conservative total of 112,000. R.J. Rummel, in his book Statistics of Democide estimates a range of 35-141,000 killed, which may underestimate the full toll by as much as 50%, since it only covers the years 1959-87. The most comprehensive survey, by Armando Lago, puts the total at 116,730-119,730 killed. The majority (85,000) of these deaths were caused by drowning; the firing squads account for some 30,000. Adding combat deaths to his calculations, we arrive at a total of some 136,000 Cubans killed by the Castro regime. Little effort has been made to calculate boat people deaths in recent years. Cuban exiles claim that as many as 200,000 have been murdered altogether. The death toll from Cuban interventions abroad can be numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Although decrying imperialism, Castro’s foreign interventions proved costly:

  • Cuban military intervention to save the communist MPLA dictatorship in Angola from collapse led to decades of civil war that cost as many as 1 million lives. Castro also dispatched Cuban troops to fight on behalf of the Communist dictatorship in Ethiopia, which killed 1.25 million people through massacre and forced starvation. Soviet and Cuban support for communist violence caused civil wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Support from the Cuban government was also given to terrorists from the PLO. 
What human good has come from all of this? (What human good has come out of any communist revolution?) Nevertheless, Castro remains a role-model for the Socialist Workers Party. I guess when you only have Pol Pot, Stalin and Castro to choose from, Castro wins!

However, all of this raises a more fundamental question – “Don’t these educated people have anything better on which to place their hopes for a better world?” What is the source of their blind insanity that prompts them embrace hopeless solutions?

I think that this reflects the fact that, fundamentally, this battle is spiritual and not economic. Had it merely been economic, anyone could have weighed the costs and benefits and concluded that capitalism offers the better hope for the oppressed.

However, this battle is far more than economics! It represents the hidden things of our psyche. The editor of World Magazine and former communist, Marvin Olasky, admitted that jealousy had been a key motivator in his adoption of communism.

Olasky subsequently found liberation through Christ, who enabled him to recognize his enslavement to the hidden things of the heart. How will our own progressives come to this freeing awareness?

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