The Cuba Castro Leaves Behind

Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Gustavo Faverón-Patriau from the Latin American Studies Program, writes:

fidel_castro

Fidel Castro in 2003. Source: Wikipedia commons

When Fidel Castro conducted the guerrilla effort of the Cuban Revolution, his goal was deposing a corrupt tyrant who had sold Cuban national interests to foreign investors and international mafias. It was not difficult for left-wing people around the world to support such an effort, and it was not difficult in the following years to romanticize the young, long-bearded revolutionaries who were trying to transform a country without totally submitting to the principles of Soviet communism.

The dynamics of Cold War and the American embargo put an end to that effort, and soon Cuba was a Soviet protectorate and a totalitarian state. It became an extremely vertical society, ruled by a strongman who reigned over concentration camps, oversaw shooting squads in secret jails, and shot down all opposition, forcing millions to emigrate.

The fall of the Soviet Union left the Cuban economy in disarray and the country, already frozen since the 1960s, became a veritable wreckage. The fact that Castro, in 2008, left power in his brother’s hands was a clear indicator that the Cuban Revolution had become a sui generis communist monarchy. It is sad that now, with Fidel Castro out of the picture, and Obama soon to be also out of the picture, Cuban-American relations are at risk of deteriorating. Cubans do not deserve that, just as they did not deserve the abuses they had to endure after the 1959 revolution.

thumb: