Monday, August 21, 2006

"Idiot" is too kind of a description

I read this letter to the editor of southwest Florida's Herald Tribune and I was wondering how anyone could be so ignorant.

Why not keep Cuba socialist?

The rest of the world and a growing number of Americans have tired of the long Cold War tirade against Cuba. Uncle Sam resembles an aging suitor still smarting over his loss of Cuba to Russia nearly 50 years ago. And a nuclear war nearly resulted.

You refer to Cuba as a communist country in your editorial "Caution on Cuba." In a communist country, people are supposed to voluntarily work for each other's welfare. Many Christian groups have tried communal societies. The early church of the Apostle Peter was a commune (Acts 4-5).

Cuba is a socialist government, a centrally planned economy, where the government owns most of the production facilities. Well-run American corporations are also centrally planned, and corporations that encourage productivity and creativity by workers generate hefty rewards for workers and stockholders. Of course, free-market governments also need planning. Citizens facing $3-a-gallon gasoline probably wish the United States had done a better job planning energy supplies.

True, Castro has used repression. He has done a poor economic job, but the number of Cubans fleeing to better life in the United States is a mere trickle compared with the flight of illegals from Mexico and South America.

As Americans have learned, a free-market economy is no guarantee that government will not attempt to reduce its individual rights. The previous pope hoped for more freedom in Cuba, but without rampant consumerism.

Since socialist philosophy and infrastructure already exist in Cuba, why not keep Cuba socialist, as an experiment in economics? More personal freedom, especially of religion, should be fostered. A huge oil field has been discovered off the Cuban coast. Perhaps a socialist government would use this oil wealth to benefit the Cuban people. In too many free-market countries, oil wealth has been squandered on palaces, huge estates and hunting lodges.

Richard J. Windgassen

Where to begin? The missile crisis was castro and Kruschev's fault. Who else can you blame? They are the ones that decided to park nuclear missiles 90 miles away from us. Since then historians have discovered that Kruschev was nervous about fidel and that fidel was lobbying for a first strike against the U.S. While some people might be willing to look at this as ancient history, the person who is in power today in Cuba is the same castro and he has not moderated his views.

As far as economics go, this guy really should stick to his day job (whatever it is). The U.S. economy is not centrally planned. There is no government bureau that dictates which products get produced and what quantities. Companies come and go all the time based on whether they produce products people want to buy not based on the whim of a bureaucrat. $3 gas prices are precisely the result of a decentralized economy. The world oil market dictates the cost of crude. History has shown that over-regulation of any industry results in loss of efficiency for the economy and the ones that end up paying the price for the waste are the taxpayers.

You can't compare Cuban migration to Mexican migration. Cuba has more than 15% of its population living outside the Island. Before castro the net migration of Cubans to the U.S. was negative. That is to say more Americans moved to Cuba each year than Cubans to America.

As for the thought that Cuba should remain socialist "as an experiment in economics," here's a novel idea: let the Cuban people decide in free and fair elections which they have been deprived of for half a century.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how non -Cubans know more about us than we do, this world is insane, need I say more.

Anonymous said...

Dick Wind Gassen? Lol- need we say more? Case closed.

leopoldo said...

Henry, nobody could improve what you said

Anonymous said...

What if the cubans WANT to remain socialist?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Did you read the last line of my commentary?

Nobody has asked the Cuban people what they want in more than 50 years. Maybe we should start by doing that before we condemn them to take part in "an experiment in economics."

My guess is that if you were to ask most Cubans what they want, right now they'd say "To leave Cuba." But since the US is neither willing or able to accommodate millions of more Cubans we should help them get to their feet. But there has to be a return to property rights, Human rights, civil society, etc.

Anonymous said...

you still didnt answer the question. Im not advocating Cuba remain socialist (though that would not be the worst thing in the world).


When fidel is dead and gone, with or with out raul as their leader, that the majority (or enough of a majority) of the cuban people agree with the current style of government (more or less) and want no part of "return to property rights?" The jews did not have any "return to property rights" after the holocaust- they got shipped half way around the world. All i'm saying is that i think there is a good chance that the peoplc of cuba may really buy into this whole socialism thing and may not want our way of life (they certainly want our quality of life). If/when this happens, i do not think the US will hesitate to get involved. My understanding of the cuban missle crisis "treaty" is that the US' part of the bargain was that "the US would not invade cuba" --while castro is alive (the unwritten understanding).

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Look the Cuban people have been indoctrinated for 47 years. The majority of Cubans were born after the Revolution. So it wouldn't surprise me if the idea of a scandinavian style socialism would appeal to Cubans that have been taught to despise capitalism their whole lives.

But they should be allowed to choose the system not have it forced upon them like it has been for half a century. In Sweden if people get upset they can change the course of their country because it's a democracy. Countries evolve.

Margaret Thatcher who was very popular took swung the UK back toward capitalism and a market economy after years of encroaching socialism. In the U.S. we had a big welfare reform in the 90s because people saw that the programs that were supposed help people really weren't and in some cases they were hurting them.

As I said it's normal for societies to evolve by trial and error, etc. But Castro has been a dogmatic communist the entire time even though he knows as an economic policy it's a failure. But it's only through complete control of the economy that he can exercise complete control of the country. And that's what's important to him: control.

He knows the Cuban people would have been much better off if Cuba abandoned its policies 20 years ago. But he doesn't care about that. He just wants to remain in power.

But I'll say it again, most Cubans if polled today would just come to the US and that can hardly be a ringing endorsement for socialism.

Srcohiba said...

Henry, this guy's a putz who does not know history. Actually, the Jews received reperations monetarily. Those victims who are still alive continue to receive them from the German government. In fact, even the US is paying reperations for Jewish property they confiscated from the Nazi's. Also suits have been brought against the Swiss banks that kept all the monies stolen from them during the nazi era.

In more recent times, countries in Eastern Europe have returned property or provided money to those who had their property confiscated by the communists. In fact, I had a client from Romania who was given title to a mill that was taken from her family. In fact, her father was shot when he refused to give it up. The mill was returned to her on the condition that she kept it operating. She sold it.

So it is only fair that those who had their property stolen receive either reperations or their property back.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...


I agree with you, though when I mentioned property rights in my first comment, I wasn't referring to reparations for confiscated property. I meant that you have to re-establish the right to own property moving forward in order for any economic reforms to take hold. Otherwise who would be willing to invest in Cuba? The two issues are linked but they are two different issues.

And the Jewish example he gives is not a good one because the Jews in Europe that were victims of the holocaust were spread out throughout the continent. It wasn't citizens of a specific country but an ethnic/religious group that were persecuted.