Communism killed Cuba, plain and simple. The wave of communism in the island of Cuba, led by Fidel Castro, did more to harm and to hurt the Cuban population than it did to help it. And today, in 2017, we have politicians that want to click a “reset button” on Cuba.
When the United States clicked the reset button with Russia under the Obama Administration, it contributed to the deteriorating relationship we have with Russia and the proxy war in Syria that we have today. We cannot implement a similar policy in the island nation of Cuba. It simply won’t work.
Prior to the revolution, the Cuban economy was very successful. The country had several American companies present, and it had one of the highest GDPs per capita in Latin America. But, Castro was not content with this economic success, and he decided to launch a revolution against the island's previous leader, Batista.
Fast forward to after the revolution. The U.S. government could not continue having formal diplomatic relations with the country and subsequently created an embargo on Cuba. All of these actions were due to the Castro regime failing to understand and recognize the rights and freedoms of the citizens.
In addition to its failure to protect the rights of its citizens, Cuba installed a communist economic system. This system has killed tens of millions globally throughout the 20th and 21st centuries (see the Soviet Union and China). But, Castro saw this as a “fair” system and went ahead with its installation.
However, calling communism "fair" is blatantly inaccurate. Many of life’s necessities are not even accessible on the island and, if available, are scarce and distributed to friends of the Castro regime. Freedoms we take for granted in the U.S.–– the freedoms of religion, expression, and speech–– are censored and even criminalized.
Today, the Cuban people are hungry for economic and social freedom. While inside Cuba it is difficult to speak one's mind due to the grave costs of speaking up, Cuban-Americans are trying to fight the good fight for freedom, each and every day.
Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have been leading the charge in the U.S. on behalf of the Cuban-American population, and both Cuban-American Senators are strongly against the Obama Administration’s reestablishment of diplomatic ties beginning in 2014.
But the Trump Administration, helped by Senator Rubio, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, and others have been able to reshape U.S. policy towards Cuba this past summer.
But, this shift, while in the right direction, will not cure the years of injustice and horror that the island has faced. Communism killed Cuba.
Paul Vernick is a columnist for the GW College Republicans' website. The opinions expressed on this blog are his own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official views of the GW College Republicans.