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.