Amazing isn’t it that 18 years after the collapse of communism in Europe, there are still people on the left willing to spout same apologie for dictatorship when it comes to Cuba? Have they learnt nothing?
And it is not just the far left. Read a former Labour government minister Brian Wilson:
Fidel Castro will go down in history as the man who defied the world’s greatest superpower for almost half a century. He could only do so because the vast majority of the Cuban people supported him in that fundamental objective…..
Castro stayed in power thanks to the support of ‘the vast majority’ of Cubans? How does Brian Wilson know that? The Cubans have never been asked for their support or consent. More than a million have voted with their feet and escaped from Castro’s hellhole.
Does Wilson expect us to believe that Castro’s grip on power has nothing to do with the secret police present in every street with a Stasi-style network of spies and informants?
Nothing to do with the suppression of any kind of dissent? Nothing to do with the total absence of a free press? How can a Labour Party member, let alone a former minister, talk in such glowing terms about a dictator who has never allowed for free trade unions in his country and who has smashed any attempt at creating a labour movement in that country?
And while we are at it – spare me the stuff about “well, yes, but the healthcare system…”. It is a myth. Walk into a Cuban chemists and try and find the medicine that you need. The shelves are empty. The hospitals are lacking basic resources. There are great doctors and some of them are doing genuinely wonderful work in Castro’s propaganda campaigns abroad. But for the average Cuban, you better not get sick.
And every time I read the phrase ‘Miami mafia’ I can’t help but chalk up another little victory for Castro’s propaganda campaign in the West. Even people who will say not a good word about Castro will come out with this crap about Florida gangsters determined to destroy the great health system.
Think about it, there are 1.2 million Cuban-Americans. 1.2 MILLION. They include people who fled Cuba in fear, people who wanted simply to escape poverty, people who had been threatened by the regime, people who lost everything when Castro’s gang stole their property, Afro-Cubans escaping double or triple-oppression, all manner of people with all manner of reasons for wanting to live in a free country. Dismissing them all as evil casino owners and pimps who can’t wait to get back to Havana and start dealing drugs is just so clearly ludicrous yet it is constantly present in any discourse about the prospect of change in Cuba. To the average European lefty, the very phrase Cuban-American makes someone suspicious.
But you know, you better get to Havana before it is ruined by the mafia! Well, here is some news for you – Havana is already run by a mafia family. They are the rich white people you will see strutting around the island.
I am talking about the family headed by the Castro Brothers – you don’t think they have some rackets and are profiterring personally from the explotation of poverty? You think prostitution was finished by the ‘revolution’? Go to Havana, the place is full of prostitutes- like any poor country, ruled by a corrupt elite and frequented by western sex tourists. There is certainly no shortage of dirty old men taking advantage of desperate teenage girls hoping to get a passport out.
When the Castro Brothers are finally out of power – maybe freedom will result in a KFC and a McDonalds in Havana, maybe those ‘quaint’ 1950’s cars will finally be scrapped and replaced by Nissans and Toyotas. Maybe some Cuban-Americans will go home and seek to make money by investing in businesses in the island. Maybe tourism will take off in Cuba and it will compete with the likes of Barbados and Bahamas for trade. Maybe there will be some medical supplies in the chemists and nurses will earn a living wage and be members of a hospital workers’ union.
Who knows? Why not let the Cuban people decide! Something Castro (never call him Fidel like he is your mate) has never allowed.