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Cuban Communism

Raúl promised a party congress in late 2009 to review communist doctrine, structures, and practices. He traveled abroad to Caracas in December 2008 and to Moscow in February 2009, recalling memories of Cuba-Soviet era ties. A March 2009 purge of Carlos Lage and Perez Rocque – considered candidates to lead Cuba after Raúl’s death - raised fresh uncertainty about succession and regime survival in post-Castro Cuba.

The political and human rights situation under Raul Castro remains bleak. A few dissidents such as Generation Y blogger Yoani Sanchez or Oswaldo Payá, the founder of the Varela Project, are tolerated within strict limits. Access to the Internet, freedom of travel, unrestricted public discussion or press freedom are denied by the regime. Approximately 205 political prisoners remain in Cuba’s prisons. Cuban citizens are harassed by the police and fellow citizens, and deviation from the party line is denounced as a crime and opposition to regime linked to treasonable relations to the U.S.

At 50 years, the Cuban Revolution and Cuban communism stand as a powerful anachronism, a throwback to the heyday of the world communist movement. Yet, Cuba is no longer viewed by its neighbors as a strategic threat aligned with a hostile superpower or committed to exporting armed revolution. The nations of the world, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, have made their peace with Cuba. Latin American leaders, steeped in decades of anti-interventionism, urge the U.S. to normalize relations by lifting the economic embargo and promote evolution toward some unspecified state of moderation and pluralism in Cuba.

Ten former U.S. presidents have occupied the White House since Fidel Castro seized power. Each of them has resisted the idea of yielding ground on the fundamental principle of democracy and overlooking, as realism might dictate, the continued repression of the Cuban people. Now substantial pressure from within the U.S. and abroad is being applied on President Barrack Obama to end all sanctions and grant the Castroite dictatorship the international recognition it believes it merits.

After 50 years of revolution, the spectacle of an island in chains persists. Cuba’s aging and risk adverse citizenry is experiencing negative population growth. Over two million Cubans raised in the “Special Period” are disenchanted with an exhausted ideology, a repressive political machine, and a dysfunctional economy. The watchdogs of the police state prevent freedom from rising in the island.

Cuba is no country for young people. The heroic myths of Fidel’s brand of communism are constantly exposed by the realities of a bureaucratic, inefficient, mean-spirited dictatorship run by a coterie of old men with no clear visions of the future.

 

 

Author Bio:

Ray Walser, Ph.D. is Senior Policy Analyst for Latin America in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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Cuba
Location:  Caribbean
Capital:  Havana
Communist Rule:  January 1959-Current
Status:  
Victims of Communism:
73 000