By Robert M. Traxler
The recent American lifting of sanctions and recognition of Cuba has made strange bed fellows. The left loves the Socialist utopia that they feel Cuba is, and the Wall Street 1% loves the marketing opportunities, so what is to go wrong when we open trade and allow free and open travel? A good bit can, and probably will; however in the end it will be the death of Cuban Socialism.
Cuba had been propped up since the 1960s by the Soviet Union until it fell apart and then by the Socialists in Venezuela until oil prices tanked; currently Cuba is on its own. The Cuban government is corrupt even by South American standards, and the leadership needs foreign funds to keep the flow of corrupt pesos going to the army of lower level bureaucrats that keep them in power. The government subsidizes food, housing, education, health care, wages, transportation and everyday necessities, to include toothpaste.
The Cuban Socialist government cannot continue to operate without a benefactor nation — guess who that will be? Our current administration loves all things Socialist and Cuba is the “purest” Socialist state one can still find, which does not say a lot about Socialism. Before leaving office President Obama and his political appointees will find a way to justify foreign aid to Cuba and lots of it to keep the government propped up. Cuba currently needs in excess of five million dollars a day to survive, almost two billion dollars per year.
The political royalty in Cuba have two generations of comfort and privilege to protect; nepotism is rampant and accepted, so they will say and do anything necessary to find a new source of external funding. Without it they cannot provide “bread and circuses” for the Cuban masses.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was correct when she said words to the effect that a Socialist government needs other people’s money to survive. The Cuban leadership controls access to foreign currency as a means to control prices, wages and production. The governing elite need to keep the people dependent or they will see power ebb away and the people turn to capitalism, to the absolute horror of the radical American left.
President Obama has identified a huge luxury hotel (state owned of course) in Havana to establish an embassy. The unusually large structure will cost an obscene amount to rent and refurbish; the subsidy, in U.S. dollars, goes straight into the Cuban government’s bureaucrats’ pockets.
Once the third generation of Cuban revolutionaries gets a taste of free enterprise, they will see Democracy is not the evil system they have been told it was, as did the people in the former Soviet Union, and undoubtedly we will see the end of yet another Socialist state. Ironic that President Obama, one of the most Socialist of all American Presidents, will cause the elimination of one of the last three “pure” Socialist states. The real beauty of this action is that the administration has no clue that it is driving yet one more nail into the coffin containing the dead body of Marxist-Leninist Socialism.
The transformation of Cuba will not be rapid; it will take decades, not months, and have failures and successes. But in the end Socialism never lasts and it will fail in Cuba as it has in every other place it has been tried. Give this one to the Wall Street 1%, and thanks to President Obama, an unaware and unknowing champion of American Capitalism and a 1% type himself. Ironic isn’t it that the American socialist movement thinking it is promoting and spreading the joys of Marxist, Leninist, teachings will inflict the terminal wound to and officiate at the funeral of the “last Great hope for Marxism.”
FOOTNOTE: In closing I would like to note the passing of a friend: Vaughn J. Rawson, First lieutenant USA Ret. VJ was a wounded Viet Nam veteran, a brave soldier, an outstanding Paratrooper, a gifted artist (his carvings were displayed in the White House), and a class gentleman. VJ served our nation until severely wounded, then the State of Michigan for over two decades. He won his battle with cancer because he faced it, as he did with all things, with courage and dignity.