Upon viewing the American Experience special on PBS featuring the life of Fidel Castro, I had a few comments, mostly criticisms.
While the program did do a decent job of outlining the life and genesis of Fidel Castro and his personal ideology, and also a great job of putting Castro and his Cuba in the larger context of the Cold War, they missed a huge part of the story. What is happening in Cuba recently, y'know, since about 1994?
The series failed to point out what an utter shambles all of Cuba has become gradually since Castro's seizure of power in 1959. Cuba lost the Cold War and it really shows.
To get a better perspective, check out an excellent book, Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics by P.J. O'Rourke. In his chapter entitled "Bad Socialism: Cuba," O'Rourke tours through Cuba in 1997 and details the level of disaster that exists there. There is no money, but that dosen't matter: there is nothing to buy.
People are watched by the police, controlled in their every move and restricted in their economic freedom. The people that O'Rourke talks to leave no doubt why Cubans will risk death to leave the place.
Castro used Cuba as a stepping-off point for his ideas on international communism and socialist destiny. While he was fighting in Angola and kissing Soviet ass to get more handouts, his people were starving, living in hovels and completely captive of his legendary whims.
Can the ravages of socialism (at least Castro's brand of this pernicious ideology) ever be undone in Cuba? Can we go back to the good old days when the Mob ran Havana? Why, as O'Rourke points out, does it seem that Albania is in better shape than Cuba? Albania, the new "sick man" of Europe is nothing to be compared to...
PBS didn't lionize Castro...they indeed pointed out his personality flaws and their deleterious effect on Cuba. They didn't go far enough.
In these days of international fights against terror, we must not forget those in peril and suffering just 90 miles from Florida.
Viva Cuba...but it's time for Castro to step aside.
"Check the Box Sunday"
5 weeks ago