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Communism Still a Horror; People Still Flee

It’s May Day, that great holiday of the international communist movement, and news comes from Miami that two young actors have joined more than a million other Cubans in fleeing the Castro dictatorship to the United States.

Twenty-year-old actors Javier Nunez Florian and Anallin de la Rua were allowed out by the Cuban government to publicize a Cuban made film (on defectors, no less) and to appear at a film festival in New York. Javier had won the “best actor” award at the Tribeca Film Festival, but when he and Anallin changed planes in Miami, they never appeared at the departure gate for New York. Their suitcases were found to be empty, and these courageous young people re-emerged on Miami television to announce their decision to seek political asylum in the U.S.

Sadly, some of the chic film folks who hailed their performances will think less highly of them now that they’ve bolted for freedom. The Trust Fund Left and the Michael Moores of this world persist in seeing something romantic and attractive in the most squalid ideological failure and the most grotesque system of mass repression devised in the history of the world.

I am, of course, referring to communism. Cuban communism, for all the murders, repression and systemic failure attending it, is not the worst communist government ever built. The North Koreans, the Cambodians, Mao, and of course the great architects Stalin and Lenin themselves, were more murderous than the Castro brothers and did more harm. I have long favored dropping the U.S. embargo and declaring on the U.S. end that the island is fully open for travel and investment. This would not only be the best way to end the dictatorship; any other policy is an infringement of American liberties that, absent a compelling national security rationale, cannot in my opinion be justified. Back in the Clinton years I worked directly with both Cuban and American officials to promote policy changes that would make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and for the Cuban government to buy a wider range of products from the United States on a cash and carry basis.

But pragmatic policy, the national interest and a due regard for the personal liberty of American citizens is one thing; losing moral clarity about the nature of communism is something else. Communism is a system that, whatever noble intentions may animate some of its delusional followers, places petty and tyrannical bureaucrats in charge of the life of a people. Artists, writers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, mystics, social reformers, advocates of liberty: all these people are the particular targets of the baying, vindictive and irrational hatred of the narrow, cramped souls and power-crazed fanatics this sorry system empowers.

Communism is an engine for putting the worst people in a society in charge of the best and the most creative; the results are the awful charnel houses and environmental disaster scenes that mark the communist and formerly communist worlds everywhere the virus spread.

That Javier and Anallin had to get out of this stale and stultifying world to stretch their creative vision and try their wings is no surprise. That they have had to leave friends and families behind is a tragedy, and just one more of the injustices that stains the record of this failed regime.

They are welcome in the United States like those who have come before them; when freedom arrives in Cuba, as someday it must and will, they will be among those whose gifts, vision and patriotism can help the whole island begin to overcome the wounds the Castro movement has inflicted.

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  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “I have long favored dropping the U.S. embargo and declaring on the U.S. end that the island is fully open for travel and investment.”

    I disagree, Cuba serves as a cultural example of what not to do for all of the Americas. It was only a few decades ago that most of Central and South America was filled with Authoritarian governments. I believe that the comparison between the US and Cuba, led these nations to Demcracy rather than Communism.

    “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” Edmund Burke

  • Ed Snyder

    Mr. Mead, thank you for this blog. I always enjoy your posts, but this is the first time I have bookmarked one since your Christmas series. I do not recall ever reading anything that so succinctly and precisely reveals Communism for the crime against the freedom, dignity, and worth of the human person that it is. Thank you again. :)

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    Check this: “Communism is a system that, whatever noble intentions may animate some of its delusional followers, places petty and tyrannical bureaucrats in charge of the life of a people. Artists, writers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, mystics, social reformers, advocates of liberty: all these people are the particular targets of the baying, vindictive and irrational hatred of the narrow, cramped souls and power-crazed fanatics this sorry system empowers.”

    For a minute there I thought you were talking about China.

  • Derek Footer

    If our goal is to keep the Castros in power, then by all means keep the embargo. But 50 years of embargo has failed to dislodge them; in fact it has made them stronger. And keeping them in power merely to provide an example is not only unethical, it is immoral.

  • Rhodium Heart

    I hate Communism and I want to see this virus eradicated. That said: People who continue to favor the embargo against Cuba are incapable of learning and, for that reason, brain-dead.

    Every Communist country with whom we had trade relations stopped being Communist. Every Communist we chose to isolate stayed Communist. Period. You went to end Communism? Pick the strategy that works. You want to keep people in Cuba enslaved so you can feel good about your ideological purity, then continue the embargo by all means.

  • Dick Lugar’s Hair-Stylist

    Off topic, but Ezra Klein and Andrew Sullivan in your blog-roll?

    What, Carrot-top and Jeffrey Ross were unavailable?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    3. Derek Footer says: “But 50 years of embargo has failed to dislodge them; in fact it has made them stronger. And keeping them in power merely to provide an example is not only unethical, it is immoral.”

    It’s made them stronger? Where is the evidence of that? It is not our embargo that keeps them in power, so how is it unethical or immoral? Our embargo in fact weakens the Communists logistically, and provides most ethical and moral guidance to peoples everywhere that Capitalism provides for the people much better than Communism.

  • Walter Sobchak

    The time has come to re-invigorate the Monroe Doctrine. The US must retire the Castro Brothers, and erect a liberal democracy in Cuba. It is intolerable that we have allowed a totalitarian and hostile regime to operate within our territorial waters for a half century.

    We should do this ASAP, and vi et armes, not by some wimpy, bound to fail, negotiating process. The Castros must be told. If we need to blockade the island, if we need to declare a no fly zone, if we need to blow up their military equipment, if we need to land a couple of Marine expeditionary units, that is what we need to do.

    We need to guarantee to the Cuban people that we will never again allow this type of travesty. We do not need to annex Cuba, but we do need to ensure that it is a liberal democracy that will live peacefully and harmoniously with us.

    Will Obama do this? Don’t be silly. His administration is part of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Can the State Department do this. Not before the heat death of the universe? Can it be done? If you will it, it is no dream.

  • Estragon

    Yet 72% of Hungarians (according to a 2009 poll) believe their country was better off under the Communists than it is today; and 44% of Poles in another poll evaluate the period of the Polish People’s Republic “positively.”

    Communism may be a failure, but (1) different countries had varying experiences with it, and (2) for a lot of people, democracy and capitalism have turned out to be a disappointment.

  • Douglas Levene

    Rhodium, I’m afraid I have to disagree with your statement that: “Every Communist country with whom we had trade relations stopped being Communist.” China, Vietnam and Laos are all still ruled by their respective Communist Parties, which retain a monopoly of power in each country. It is true that each of those countries has opened up their economy and permitted a significant amount of private enterprise and foreign investment. It is also true that there is today at least some freedom of speech in each of those countries. But trust me, the Communist Party jealously guards its monopoly on power.

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