Change in Cuba
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Freedom House, an American non-profit group, this week released the results of a study it conducted of change in Cuba, where Fidel Castro has stepped down in favor of his brother Raúl. Five field researchers from Freedom House conducted interviews with 180 Cubans.
The results provide a valuable corrective to those who romanticize life in Communist Cuba. According to Freedom House: “Beef is so scarce that its respondents said it is commonly referred to as oro negro, or black gold.” Also, “hospitals don’t have most medicines.”
The rational response to such conditions is to want to leave. The report said, “With only one exception, all respondents under age 30 expressed a desire to leave the country.” Divorce is rampant: “One respondent recounted that she and her husband attended a parent-teacher meeting at her son’s school. Of the 25 students, her son was the only one who lived in a household with both parents.”
Says the report: “Cubans generally have a bleak outlook regarding their country’s short-term future. … They have lived for nearly five decades under the dictatorial rule of Fidel and Raúl Castro and know little if anything about alternative political and economic models … Cubans are not permitted to hear directly from the proponents of democracy in Cuba. They are subjected to constant government propaganda designed to stoke their fear of capitalism, which is presented as a source of crime and insecurity.”
President Bush has seen the end of Fidel Castro’s formal rule but not the end of Castro’s rule nor the advent of freedom in Cuba. To judge by Freedom House’s latest report, the sooner change comes there, the better.