In October 1960, my parents, my sister, and I landed in LaGuardia Airport from a Pan American flight direct from Cuba. We had left the Castro controlled regime after having been thoroughly searched. We were allowed to leave with five dollars and only one suitcase for our entire family in which to carry our belongings. We were not able to sell any of our possessions or property before leaving. The regime sent soldiers to come and take a full inventory of our belongings before we left. When you were ready to leave, they returned to complete another inventory to ensure nothing was missing or they would not permit you to leave. The last thing done was a body search at the airport prior to boarding. The people that were swayed by Castro’s charismatic charm and promises were entrapped when he solidified control of the country. His next move once in power was he began taking over private businesses until everything was under government control and life for the people became unbearable.
The current situation is unimaginable. The Cuban people are starving and food is rationed. A person’s typical monthly ration is a half of a chicken, a gallon of milk, a pound of beans. This is only contingent on the things being available/found when it’s finally your turn in the line. Hopefully it’s available when your turn comes. If not, you have to wait till the following month. Medical supplies are not readily available. Things like Tylenol or Ibuprofen that we can buy in almost every store, and even gas stations, are hard to come by. Garbage pickup, which is another luxury that we have easy access to, is not often available where the locals reside, however, it is available and routine in the tourist areas.
The buildings are dilapidated- balconies are falling off the buildings to the ground. There is no building material for the people, yet hotels and casinos keep getting erected for the tourist trade. Local Cubans are not allowed to enter these hotels and casinos. On average, a doctor makes $12 per month, whose salary is paid by the state. He can make more working in the tourist trade. I still have family in Cuba and we were able to communicate freely prior to this current event. Yet the people are fearful since the government is everywhere. Everything is monitored, there is no such thing as freedom of speech. There is a neighborhood active watch to catch the ins and outs of the people and the community.
Some believe the U. S. embargo has hurt Cuba. I do not believe it has. They are still acquiring items, those items are just not available to the people. How can the government obtain hotel and casino equipment, industrial building materials, piping, among many other products to support their needs. I would imagine that where those materials are purchased, they also have medical supplies, as well as food.
When Fidel Castro was alive, he blamed the United States for everything and the people believed him. In my opinion, Fidel Castro is a Capitalist whose estimated net worth was around $900,000,000, which does not include his property holdings or commercial holdings. When money is sent to family members in Cuba, the government keeps 20%. Cuba’s leaders have blamed the United States for all its woes. Yet they take no responsibility for the state of the country. There is no private ownership of any kind, the people are solely there to provide for the government. The theme of Communism is to blame others, never take ownership of any problems, and then the people will believe the rhetoric.
When Castro seized power he demanded that Cuban citizens turn in their guns as they no longer needed them because the revolution was over. The Cuban citizens protesting in the streets only have rocks and sticks against a government army with guns.
It is sad that some people in the United States are sympathetic to Socialism and Communism. It does not work. Just take a look at Cuba, North Korea, and/or China. All major industries are owned by the government, the people are oppressed and have no freedom, no voice, and no rights. I am so grateful to the U.S., the greatest nation in the world, for having opened its doors and allowed us to call it home.