I recall that exciting day in January, 1959, when forces of Fidel Castro entered Havana and said goodbye to Batista and all of his brutal cronies who had oppressed the people of Cuba for decades. We in America believed a new day was a’borning for our Cuban neighbors and life would be better for all who had endured so much pain. Alas, the dream of paradise soon became a deferred hope as it became clear Fidel Castro was simply another dictator who wrapped himself in the rhetoric of “the people.” Those who claim to represent, “the people,” invariably wind up using power for themselves, not the huddled masses down below. The issue for Cubans was not imposition of a Socialist ideology because one could be a Socialist as well as believe in the tenets of democracy. The issue was always that Castro enjoyed power, he considered himself the embodiment of truth and knowledge, and the last thing on his mind was establish a society in which “the people” actually had a voice that could be heard by their oppressors who disguised themselves in the clothes of defending “the people.”
The Castro boys announced there would be a slight shift in the manner of running Cuba’s economy. At least 500,000 public employees would be let go and told to run their own barber shop or plant their own crops or open a pharmacy that depends on payment for items. The world awaits the new regime in Cuba, and whether it will be democratic in rhetoric as well as reality.