Source: A comment to this question on the Quora message boards:
Is Cuba proof that socialism works?
Updated May 14, 2016
I own a house in Cuba directly on the ocean in Santiago Bay. Well sort of, since I had to register it in the name of a legal Cuban wife, so legally I am entitled to 50% of the proceeds, and am not allowed to own any property as a foreigner, or even to stay there unless I pay for a Family Visa upon arrival. I first went there the month December of 2011 to look for houses, a couple of weeks after the property law was enacted, so I know Cubans, especially my neighbors. So I can tell you about Cuba a lot better than some tourists who have visited.
Cuba is a massively corrupt economy. What is left of communism is the monthly free food allowance which is sufficient for 10 days of the month, that you get to remain in the house where you are now living (unless the government decides they shall take it away from you for corruption like having girls stay overnight), the free education which is mandatory (where the students also get indoctrinated into Castro thinking) and the free medical care. Most Cubans prefer to pay for a doctor rather than get stuck with the survival rate of the free Cuban medical care. I have been in hospitals where there is no water to wash any one's hands.
Everyone works for the government, even musicians, dancers, bar tenders, construction workers, unless they pay a patente (license) monthly to the government for the 80+ professions that have been authorized and then they can try their own business. The government owns all the restaurants, ice cream shops, bars, hotels, stores. All the workers, whether surgeons in the hospital or bar tender in a bar, earn about 10$ per month in the south (which is lower than in the north). So after years of good work they can earn maybe 12$ a month. Hardly anyone can earn 20$ per month. So the government charges them for a can of imitation Cola 1$. A plastic bucket to put your mop in the government charges 5$ (half a month's wage for the cheapest buckets). So the bar tender makes far more money than the doctor because he leaves the government cans of Cola in the bar and reports that they didn't sell, and he buys cheaply other cans of Cola that have been stolen from the government warehouses and he sells those for 1$ and pockets the difference. The surgeon (if he hasn't turned to driving a taxi) also requires a gift for each surgery he performs.
So the entire country is just a farce of communism. Everyone steals the goods from the government. Otherwise the entire economy would collapse in a few days. If it wasn't for the stolen fuel the transportation would collapse immediately. Stolen Diesel is sold for .03$ per liter, the cheapest in the world. In the government gas stations it costs more than 1$. All the old Cuban taxis and WW2 era trucks where the Cubans travel in like cattle standing up, run on stolen Diesel. The value of a job to a Cuban is not the 10 or 12$ monthly salary, but rather what can he steal from the work place.
The Communists in the government are just interested in maintaining power. They would gladly sacrifice the well being or even lives of the Cubans in order to maintain power. They basically have put Castro, who suffers from Megalomania for decades, instead of in a mental institution, they put him in charge of the country. His regime has attracted the ignorant, the stupid, the incompetent and the malicious into the government so that the lowest class has lorded over the competent for 50+ years now with the result that 1/3 of the Cubans have had to leave the country and Cuba is the most retarded country on Earth.
Cuba is just an example of how a few individuals using the KGB text book can intimidate and brainwash millions of humans. It is just proof that most of humanity is little better than sheep or monkeys.
A comment was made on the above post regarding how communist revolutions are good for people and how Cubans are better off now than before the revolution. I just had to answer it with the following facts
Look, you have never been to Cuba??? Obviously not.
The quality of life there is worse now than before the revolution. many people complain to me that there are times of the year when they suffer hunger. Even people who have money cannot buy food because there isn't any available. People who want to buy deodorant or shampoo and have the 2 or 3$ that the government charges them in their monopoly of all the stores, sometimes have to go hundreds of kilometers to another city to buy it there because there isn't any.
Before the revolution I can see that the houses had showers in their tiled bathrooms. Because they are still there. But the people don't use them. Because parts have broken or the pipes have rusted so hardly any showers work in southern Cuba. All the Cubans use a big container (metal barrel, large plastic container, whatever they have been able to scrounge) and they dip a tin cup or whatever in this water and they throw it on themselves and this is how they wash themselves.
Before the revolution there were more cars in Cuba then now. The production of sugar has gone down. Many sugar mills are rusting hulks due to lack of maintenance or parts.
Sure, i see a book at the airports produced by the regime showing suffering before the revolution. Ok, electricity for my house is costing me 3.00$ per year and the water also costs me about 3.00$ per year and there isn't any meter so I can use as much as i want. But none of my 900 neighbors had ever seen pressure water or a hot water heater that I had installed, in their lives.
At the government owned restaurants one can eat for 2 or 3$. But I have eaten at restaurants where they served me the head of a lobster. I asked where is the tail? The waiter answered "Who Knows?" The food that doesn't get stolen by the workers in the restaurants is just there to keep their supervisors off their backs. It is the worst quality. Fish is full of spines, just like cat food. I have found dead roaches in bowl of rice.
The problem is when the economy doesn't give an incentive for people to better their lives through hard work the entire country retrogresses. The only way to progress in Cuba is by joining the regime and spying on your neighbors and denouncing any activity they do which might get them arrested, like fishing, or catching a lobster, or having girls stay overnight, or talk negatively about the regime, or try to sell some product without a license. The only other way to advance your self is by STEALING from the government, which has a monopoly on all supplies.
So the millions of government workers who serve the public just look at you like you are bothering them and give you the worse service, because they have no interest in their jobs. Just a few years ago the government was arresting men who had no jobs with a law DANGER TO SOCIETY. I have neighbors who spent more than a year in forced labor camps, JUST FOR NOT HAVING A JOB.
When you have an economy that takes away the incentives to better your life the entire economy collapses and the only thing that keeps these communist regimes going is threats, arrests, intimidation and implementation of the KGB political manual, which you can research online. All the Cubans who haven't fled Cuba live in a daily fear of their government.
The KGB method is this:
1. Create through propaganda a GREAT ENEMY that is about to attack your country and subjugate the people and make them suffer, unless they line up behind you to fight this enemy and get into battle mode and obey their commanders; blame all bad things on this enemy and take credit for all good things that may happen.
2. Eliminate the contact between foreigners and the people so the people cannot be informed of any other perspective but the one you are trying to force on them.
3. Of course control all media and means of communication so as to constantly propagate this fear of attack and to suppress any other communication that is not along these lines.
4. Constantly spy on all citizen communication and when you detect deviance or skepticism about your regime harass or detain those involved.
5. Prevent the people from leaving your country as they might spread unfavorable information about your regime. This gives them a daily fear that they cannot escape you and therefore are better off obeying you.
This is the only thing that works in Cuba and if you think about it, is the exact method that all these communist regimes have in common, and actually is what communism is all about, and the rest is just a total failure. It actually is a quite effective method of herding humans. The Cubans are so desperate to leave there that millions would leave next week if they got the chance.
An additional note the KGB manual instructs the leaders that when they create this GREAT ENEMY they must NOT select a group of people that conflicts with the archetypes of their people (like their mothers, or monks, or the hospital workers, etc) or otherwise the people will have resistance to accepting this GREAT ENEMY.
AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT WAS MADE FROM SOMEONE FROM EAST EUROPE WHO ACTUALLY ALSO LIVED IN CUBA WHICH I POST BELOW:
I lived in Cuba few years and I know communism pretty well. You are right with many thing, just you didn't say another side. No 1 of KGB manual isn't true, US is great enemy and try many times and many ways steal land from cuban people (same as they did with local americans, yes). Also No 2 isn't correct, US put embargo on cuba, then part of this problem is also there. True is, US are scared about any good thing in communism and they do everything to damage this idea. But you are right about it, it has no future in this embodiment. We can also talk about corporate fascism in the west right now and his future, but this is different story.
I agree with you completely. You are obviously a person who knows things because you have lived them, rather than reading statistics on web pages. Castro knew he was creating a Great Enemy when he expropriated USA companies' property in Cuba and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear missiles there. But the question is, did he believe his people would be better off this way or did he just see that his role on the world stage would be historical, and his disease of Megalomania drove him to take these actions without taking into account the possible extermination of the Cuban people?
Problem with Communism is that it takes away the incentive for people to work to better their lives, so immediately no one works and the economy falls apart. Then the ones in charge of implementing an obviously failing system see the only thing they can do to better their lives is to steal the goods from the system; so immediately an underground economy arises in the stolen goods.
Cuba proves that a government cannot legislate, educate or brainwash it's citizens into caring about the common good and the other citizens. Castro tried it for 50 years with the brainwashing of the children who are forced to attend the kindergarten and watch the TV screen where they get hours of propaganda from Havana, with the slogans painted all over the country, with the giant images of himself all over the country, with the Committees of the Defense of the Revolution in every block in which the people meet to affirm their communist thinking, with the constant barrage of propaganda on the only television channels that Cubans can see, with the neighborhood spies that are constantly reporting the misdeeds and morality of the citizens to the authorities, with the WAR OF IDEAS where young people are taught to fight non communist ideas inside their heads.
The result is that Cubans can't think. They can't have initiative. Very few can start something. Even if you get them going, they can't follow through. Once you are not there to animate them they stop working. Even after they leave Cuba it takes them months or even years before they can start to think.
Sure the West isn't perfect, we have not arrived in paradise yet, but people must be allowed to think. Castro believed that his thoughts would be sufficient for the entire 10.000.000 Cubans and no one else should think but him, and they should only devote themselves into learning what he thought.
Central thinking and planning is absurd. There must be a combination of that and individual initiative for humanity to survive. Take a lesson from ants or bees. They search in random patterns for opportunity and when they locate food then the central system of transportation takes over. Nature could have arranged for ants and bees to fan out from their nest in a regimented pattern where they covered a great circle around the nest, but that did not take into account the Theory of Chaos. Chaos is a necessary part of the universe. The Five Year Plans were ridiculous because Chaos happens. Humans, like the ants and bees, must act randomly, in order to find opportunities that present themselves at different times and could not be found in a regimented grid search, AND to avoid being destroyed by large occurrences, should all the individuals be doing the same action which suddenly becomes a great danger to those engaged in doing it, there will be other individuals who are not doing this thing who will then survive.
Communism was a stillborn concept and could never work with humanity.
1. Governments cannot legislate humans into caring about other humans. Evil is a necessary part of life. Humans must perform evil deeds. Governments can only punish harmful deeds.
2. Humans will not work for the common good happily; they will only work with zest to better their lives.
3. The distribution of goods and salaries equally causes the more competent to abandon the system or try to destroy it. The more competent must be rewarded for producing more. The less competent must be punished for not producing enough.
4. To legislate that the weak, the incompetent, the stupid, the lazy, the malicious are equal to those who are not, is absurd. Humans are different and have different capabilities and no legislation can change that. Communism puts the incompetent and the stupid in charge of the competent because in a free market they were the subordinate class, and after the revolution they are in charge. Then immediately the entire country goes into a economic crisis, because there were really good reasons why these people were a subordinate class and the force of armed rebellion does nothing to change those reasons.
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