Cuba, America’s little communist island neighbor to the south is doing a little bit of government restructuring. Fidel Castro has just finished the last stage of what has been an incremental step-down from power. In 2006, Fidel Castro handed over temporary power to his brother Raúl while the Communist dictator underwent a series of intestinal surgeries. In 2008, Raúl Castro was appointed as president of Cuba but the process was only recently finalized when Cuban President Raúl Castro selected José Ramón Machado as the second in command.
It’s difficult to be a hard-line communist country these days and with China turning its economic system decidedly capitalistic; Cuba remains one of the last closest holdouts to the old Soviet Union days when communism had that true Stalinist red flare. But like all the other countries that have attempted the Marxist quest for utopia, communism is also dying out in Cuba, and dying fast. The first signs of change come straight from President Raúl Castro. As reported by Randal Archibold in the New York Times, President Castro is publicly recognizing that the Cuban economy has major problems, and he is creating a positive environment for small business expansion. Furthermore, the door has been opened for citizens to buy and sell homes. This is a big deal for communist Cuba.
Outwardly, Cuba still raises the communist banner firmly affixed to the island country following the Fidel Castro revolution that began back in 1959. Machado’s appointment temporarily fortified the old communist guard. But even though Machado is an old revolutionary communist hardliner, his appointment also reflects the fragile state of communism in Cuba. The fact of the matter is that communism in Cuba is an old man’s game. The hard-line revolutionaries are simply aging away. Fidel Castro, 84, is not long for this world and his younger brother Raúl, 79, is no spring chicken. Despite talks of bringing in new blood to the higher echelons of Cuban government, Machado, 80, is Cuba’s current backup plan should President Raúl Castro have to step down. Why not bring in some young successors? The Machado appointment is one of necessity for Castro as years of dictatorial power hoarding have created a Cuba that lacks younger hard-line communist blood. The situation now is that the communist country of Cuba is running on the fleeting fear of Fidel and copious amounts of Geritol.
The reality of Cuba’s future is hinged on the younger generations that have not been allowed into the higher levels of the Castro administration. Those that have had the opportunity to see the disintegration of the Soviet Union under communism, and may be able place it into a proper context. The next generation of Cuban leadership, which will soon see the opportunity to run the island nation, may very well seize upon the baby steps toward capitalism that President Castro will have taken to economically stabilize the country. Even with the old communist line still being forwarded, there is an air of inevitability when we look at Cuba’s future.
In the end, while Fidel Castro may have survived the Bay of Pigs, economic embargos, his own Frankenstein’s monster in the sociopathic murderer Che Guevara and the fall of Cuba’s highly revered ally in the Soviet Union, the communist system in Cuba is destined to fail. The thriving black market system in Cuba has been a glaring example of the people’s desire to buy products on their own terms. Inevitably, people not only get tired of ration cards and being told on which days they are allowed to buy products, they also simply desire the opportunity to be allowed to make their own way in life. Communism has truly failed the people of Cuba, and America’s light is too close and shines too brightly upon the island country for the reality of economic and personal freedom to be hidden forever. In many ways President Raúl Castro probably sees this and may crack the door open at bit more to capitalistic ventures to ease the longstanding economic pain in his country. As the Grim Reaper claims the last of the jungle revolutionaries of the Cuban Communist Party, Fidel Castro’s Marxian experiment will eventually be laid on the trash heap of history and Cuba will be reborn.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books including the 2010 release "Oliver's Tale: A Squirrels Story of Love, Courage and Revolution." Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 award-winning radio program, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.