I recall watching on television in California as we witnessed Fidel Castro’s troops enter Havana and be greeted by cheering crowds. The dictatorship of Batista was not over and Cuba could finally enjoy the freedom its people longed to experience. Castro was not only warmly anticipated by Cubans, but by those throughout the world who wanted the end of brutality and repression by a government. No one would have dreamed in those heady days of liberation that fifty years hence, a Castro would still lead Cuba. No one would have dreamed that fifty years later Cubans would lack freedom of speech or that gays would be in prison. Now, there increasingly are reports of thousands of young Cubans fleeing to other nations in hope to experience a lift that entailed meaning. Ecuador last year received over 27,000 Cubans.
Professor Ricardo Matinelli bluntly stated the obvious about the quiet exodus of youth. “It’s a sign that the revolution has failed so they don’t want to talk about it.” Fidel is old and obstinate, Raul fears to upset his brother and stagnation rules in a Cuba where all too many earn $20 a month.