I’m not going to give you monotonous and overstated examples of how Cuba has had some relevant improvements under Fidel Castro, like the “best education in Latin America” argument or even the innovative and environmentally-friendly agricultural system (which happens to be not only sustainable but also an example to follow for many nations). Instead, I’ll bash the system like everyone else. There is no real economic advancement in Cuba, no opportunity and no incentive to work harder. The press is censored and dissent is punished. The airs of communism still blow through that forsaken island, and of course Castro-that old, decrepit revolutionary man-still limps around. So, of course, we should free Cuba!
The results of that freedom would be amazing. Without Fidel and his communist ideals, Cuba would be a real Caribbean paradise. Just like Jamaica or Haiti, political freedom would prevail and economic advancement would finally be a reality. I can picture La Havana with American-owned casinos, Bentleys and Ferraris parked outside the five-star hotels, nightclubs pumping techno until sunrise and University of Miami students eating McDonalds at 7 a.m. right after a long night of spring break partying.
For all you progressives and activists concerned about social and economic inequalities, don’t worry. Those former communists will most certainly profit from the economic boom that will plague Cuba. In Cuba, American corporations will not pay menial wages and Chinese companies will not destroy the local industries. Cuba will not be transformed into a dependent and rotten economy under the flags of globalization. In this particular nation, the dream of “everyone rises with the tide” will finally become true.
Furthermore, as good old Milton Friedman would say, “Economic freedom will bring political freedom.” And if you’re one of those leftists who believe Latin America did not prosper from neo-liberalism, let me prove you wrong. Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and other countries did extremely well in the ’90s when neo-liberalism was at its best. Their economies boomed (and then heavily crashed), investments soared (and all the profits left the country), states underwent privatization (only to be bought by foreign companies) and most importantly, poverty was a big concern (but nothing much changed, other than an exponential growth in inequality). Cuba will then of course follow the path of its neighbors and thus achieve that deserved prosperity.
So we should all chant “let’s free Cuba” and remember that Cuba will be different because no frenetic capitalism will invade the island. More importantly, when advocating its freedom, remember that it will all be done in the name of destroying communism once and for all. As for the ideals of valor, solidarity and the spirit of a once-true social revolution, remember them the most, because soon they will be replaced by our dear consumerist values.
Xavier Alarcon is a freshman majoring in Latin American studies. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.