Cuba is a short boat ride away from the Florida Coast. It’s so close that Fidel Castro’s cigar smoke would sometimes perfume Little Havana in Miami. The Cuban exiles living in Florida were beached in the land of freedom, but they had still been affected by Fidel’s looming presence in their homeland. Fidel, a dictator, ruled Cuba for 47 years until 2006 when control was handed down to his younger brother, Raul. The Cuban dissidents rejoiced over Fidel’s recent death, while many on the left mourned his passing.
Liberals the world over are not mourning his death like a beloved personality who passed away too soon, but rather like a revered grandfather whose time had finally come. They’re reflecting on his life as a charismatic revolutionary who upended a world class civilization to create an anti-American society that had equality for its masses. A cause Progressives believe in.
Some on the left view American and Western culture as materialistic and unjust and they fantasize about the remedy to correct their perceived wrongs. Progressives believe that capitalism just wastes resources and is the cause of global climate change; and that wealth and resources are not equally distributed across society.
So it is easy for these Progressives to overlook Fidel Castro’s brutality and the suffering of the Cuban people. In their eyes his communist system had too much that was correct and it tickles their fantasies of a world where everyone has equality and society can be controlled by those who know best.
The Dictator thumbed his nose at everything the US stood for: limited government, personal liberty, free enterprise and upward mobility. As a result, Cuba became a third world country stuck in the fifties where generations of Cubans couldn’t live their life to their full potential. The crowning achievement of Fidel’s control is free education and access to free healthcare. Fidel’s Cuba does have equality, but it is misery equally distributed.
The problem with the left’s dream of an equal society is that wealth and resources have to be first created in order to be equally distributed. If personal enrichment and a path for a better life are removed from a civilization, then there won’t be any incentive to create new wealth for further distribution.
As the wealth of an equal society declines, so does the standard of living for its citizens. Yes, there is equality, but less and less resources are shared. There isn’t any upward mobility only downward. The poorest benefit some, but the poor’s misery eventually spreads throughout all of society. The only exceptions, of course, are the elitists in control. They have everything the capitalist world can offer.
There is, however, hope for a better tomorrow for the Cuban people. Raul Castro is 87 years old and has in recent years allowed some freedoms to creep in, but still not enough to bring Cubans into the 21st century. It’s difficult for people who’ve grown up in communist Cuba to imagine anything but the system that Fidel created. But if these people are given access to uncensored information from tourists and the internet, then their eyes will be opened and they’ll demand personal liberty and the opportunities that are derived from free enterprise.
Fidel Castro disparaged American ideals, but in the end his people will choose those ideals for themselves because upward mobility and personal freedom are better than equal misery. Once the Cuban people finally have freedom, they won't revere Fidel like Progressives do today, but will remember him as a ruthless dictator who kept Cuba in the dark for over a half century.