I am not a communist. I have been raised to believe that communism is not a form of government that I wish to live under. Maybe it was because of indoctrination. I am not sure. I have always believed that the harder you work, the more you will prosper. My father had an 8th grade education. My mother had a high school diploma. No one ever went to college much less law school. When I think back on my youth, I believe that the people I grew up with had choices to make. Those choices would determine, to some extent, success. Some of my grade school classmates chose to go to the ball field and some chose to go to the library. Those that went to the ball field had more fun. Those that went to the library are, generally speaking, more well-off today. I guess what I’m saying is that I am a fan of capitalism. It worked for me and my family.
Now back to the heading of this article. I recently took a trip to Cuba partly because I was curious. When I got there, I noticed that the majority of buildings, even those by the water, were dilapidated. Chunks of concrete were missing and there was no sign of paint. I came to believe that paint, in a communist country, is unnecessary and therefore considered a luxury. The power went out when I was there and everything in the refrigerator got warm. I learned that this was the norm and that it happened frequently. The Internet went out on a regular basis and you paid for Wi-Fi by the hour (two dollars). No one owned a car unless you were a taxi driver and if you were in any way physically disabled, good luck. There were very few elevators and walking up four or five flights of stairs to enter an apartment (or restaurant) was routine. There were no new cars on the road. Just American relics from the 50’s or compact Russian cars from the 70’s. If you went to a grocery store, there was a good chance that they were out of most things. Hardly ever was there any beef and the ability to buy chicken was controlled. Shelves were bare and many foods were absent. I think you are getting the idea. It is not America.
But there was something about Cuba that I admired. The education was free. Healthcare was free and, most importantly, everybody was treated the same. There did not seem to be a discernible lower and upper class like we have here in the United States. Because of that fact, there was no “keeping up with the Jones’s”. No one had much but everyone seemed happy. No one was critical of the government. They were all in the same boat and they made the best of it. They literally danced and sang in the streets and on the beach. I was amazed. They seem content with what they had and there was no envy toward those who had more. They are a proud people and they welcomed me to their country. In a strange way, I think we have a lot to learn about the Cuban people and their satisfaction with life. I hope to go back some day.