A trip to Cuba

'In Cuba, your house, your car, your wife, your kids, your mind, your soul, your body, and your heart belong to the government.'

Tags: communism Cuba
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Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
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It is interesting how today’s youth find socialism or communism appealing. These ideologies are being sold to them by the media and many scholastic institutions. My case is a bit different - I come from a political socialist family in Mexico. When Che Guevara traveled to Mexico City in the '60s, my family went to hear him give one of his most famous speeches. Mexico and Cuba have always had a good relationship (in fact, Mexico City is where Che Guevara and Fidel Castro first met). Thus, Mexicans can travel to Cuba with ease. Last year, I visited the communist island.

Even those who don’t know much about Cuba, know that they live in the 1960s.

When I arrived, the airport had no air conditioning, was run down, and looked very poor. I took a taxi and headed to where I was going to stay, in a military colonel’s home. The outside of the house looked very old and moldy, but it was probably the best-looking house on the block. However, when I went inside the house, it surprisingly had air conditioning and was well-furnished.

After settling in, I decided to stroll around Havana, the capital of Cuba. Every block had a picture or revolutionary slogan of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, or José Martí. Around a corner, there was a long line of people waiting for their rationed meal of the week; a couple pounds of beans or rice. There were a couple of shops with not much food that was very expensive. The clerk was trying to sell me six eggs for $20. I knew the typical Cuban could never afford them, or any luxury. After walking around the famous Revolutionary Plaza, I headed back to my housing and turned the TV on just to find almost all channels speaking of the great lives of Latin America’s most socialist leaders. When I tried to surf the internet on my phone, almost all sites were restricted by the state.

Cuba
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The next day, a man approached me and offered a tour of the entire city for $5. I wasn’t scared and said “yes”. I was surprised when he told me, “It’s very hard to survive here”. Even though all levels of education are free, a taxi driver makes more money driving tourists around the city than a doctor. We drove through the poorest parts of Havana and I noticed that many people spend their days outside playing dominos or just watching time pass. Others were playing instruments and dancing with neighbors.

The truth is that communist countries don’t offer incentive to be successful. The system prevents from people leaving the country, speaking against the government, protesting, or buying and selling. It is almost impossible to come out of poverty. The only way to live a bit more comfortably is to become a puppet for the government, where the military and government personnel enjoy the best lifestyles.

Most westerners who pander to communist ideologies live in comfortable and peaceful societies, who seek something new and revolutionary as they yearn for something different. However, they know nothing about the societies of which they aim to replicate. Cuba is a failed state built on these ideologies, and Cubans recognize it.

On my last day in Cuba, I heard one of the most powerful statements from a Cuban that still resonates with me: “In Cuba, your house, your car, your wife, your kids, your mind, your soul, your body, and your heart belong to the government. It is no way to live.”

Cuba
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