Immigration Distorted

Posted to Truthdig in response to:
Cubaqus writes the standard response to any claim that life in Cuba might not be as bad as it is said to be by those who hate Castro and everything he did, conveniently ignoring the fact that under his “brutal” regime, considerably more Cubans enjoy lives considerably better than most Cubans enjoyed before the revolution. The problem with Castro for those who hate him is that he redistributed wealth and resources this, because of limited wealth and resources available, made it so that all had enough but none a whole lot. A trade ban imposed on Cuba by the United States insured that there would not be much to go around. Those who had a lot before the revolution had a lot less after the revolution, not because Castro and his friends took a lot for themselves. As far as I can tell, and I don’t think there is evidence to contradict this claim, Castro and his family and friends did not profit greatly from the system of government he helped to create. I will bet that his and his family’s net worth was considerably less than the leader of most any other country in the world. This may be why Castro was so hated in the United States and why there is so little said about him that is good despite the fact that he did a good amount of good for those who had suffered abject poverty and harsh exploitation under the regime he overthrew, a regime whose leader and cronies prospered greatly at the expense of the majority of the people living on the island.

I have visited Cuba three times now and travelled from one end of the country to the other, stopping almost anywhere I wanted to stop and I did not see a brutalized people. I didn’t see any signs anywhere of the ostentatiousness I would see if I visited any of Donald Trump’s homes or, for that matter, the residences of most of those who serve as politicians in the United States of America. I did not see great wealth beside poverty or workers living in shacks while business owners and investors lived in castles. I saw people who were to the person healthy and literate (unless they were old enough to have lived under the regime the United States supported pre-Castro). I was aware of a good degree of censorship and saw good amounts of propaganda to bolster government and government policies and had a sense that people were somewhat reluctant to say things of which the government might not approve. Certainly I did not like this aspect of Cuban life but I did find the people to something far less than miserable and not at all defeated or terribly dissatisfied with the lives they were living.

Across Cuba, I saw people doing their work, eating adequately, and enjoying cultural trappings that all could afford. The people weren’t miserable and they weren’t suffering the normal consequences of being an oppressed people. They did not seem to be oppressed and I cannot believe it possible that they were all doing what the government told them to do to make visitors see something other than what was the actual reality they were living.

So this article was appreciated because the reality of Cuba is not the reality that has been presented by our free press to the American people. Over the course of many years studying Cuba and its pre and post revolution realities with great difficulty in finding “objective” renderings of those realities, I must say that Americans, for the most part have a very distorted notion of Cuba and the lives lived by Cubans living in Cuba, that distortion intentional and purposeful, offered up in a nation that considers itself to be an open society in which the truth is available to all who seek it. The truth about Cuba is not the “truth” that Americans get and that this is true should cause thoughtful Americans to consider why and what it means in regard to the information they rely upon to make decisions that affect others in their own country and in countries around the world.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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