Cuba was for decades a myth for the international left, the little country at the doors of the powerful United States where a popular revolution had toppled a dictatorial government controlled by mafia and puppets of foreign powers to create the dream of a free and democratic country. But unfortunately the dream was shattered very soon, and not only by the news in recent years.
Fidel Castro and his brother Raul since a long time have become the usual dictators who clung to power until their last breath. In the caribbean island in fact there is no democracy or press freedom and Cuban citizens cannot even have internet access, since that is limited to foreign tourists in hotels.
Pretending every time to be a tourist the blogger Yoani Sanchez is still able to write her diary from Cuba, speaking of the difficult economic situation of the island and lack of democracy and freedom. Other opponents of the Castro regime are not so lucky and were imprisoned in 2003 when the authorities decided to eliminate the few areas of press freedom which had been opened in previous years. At least 24 journalists are imprisoned in Cuba for opposing the regime, and some of them are conducting a long hunger strike to let the world know their battle. Recently, a prisoner, Orlando Zapata, died after his hunger strike. Zapata was originally arrested in the past for ordinary crimes, but his latest arrest was determined by activity of opposition to the regime. All opponents of the government of the Castro brothers are accused of being common criminals or servants in the pay of the United States, but this is not a new practice.
When the revolution triumphed in 1959 the program of the July 26 Movement was a democratic platform that included communists, socialists and liberals, all opponents of the Batista dictatorship. But during the two following years Castro eliminated all forms of opposition and democracy to ally Cuba with the Soviet Union. Opponents of Batista and supporters of the Revolution as Alexander Morgan, who had fought with Che Guevara in the battle of Santa Clara, were sentenced to death on charges of being CIA agents. The poet Pedro Luis Boitel was imprisoned and died in prison in 1972 after a hunger strike and a decade of torture. The first post-revolutionary president and prime minister, the liberals Manuel Urrutia Lleo and Jose Miro Cardona, were forced into exile in the United States, like other revolutionaries of the first hour, such as Huber Matos and Carlos Franqui, who just died, still in exile.
In addition to eliminating any opposition, the regime began a systematic persecution of intellectuals and homosexuals, as the writer Reinaldo Arenas. Especially after 1980, when 10,000 Cubans demanded political asylum at the Peruvian Embassyin La Habana, thousands of people began to flee Cuba with makeshift boats, and many have died in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. Also in 1980 the regime allowed 125,000 people to sail from the port of Mariel to the United States. Many of them were political prisoners and opponents, as the same Arenas.
Everything that has happened since 1960 demonstrates beyond doubt that the revolution remained romantically imprinted in the consciousness of the European left is an oppressive regime since 50 years now, and has never ceased to be. And that the most imperfect democracy "bourgeois" and capitalist, even the current Italian situation, it is still better than any regime, called communist or otherwise, where the bureaucracy and military can oppress with impunity the citizens without answering to anyone. The accusations against Castro regime are not, as a part of the International left likes to believe, U.S. propaganda, but facts that leave little doubt about the true nature of the Government of Cuba.
The Castro regime meanwhile has certainly brought no prosperity nor happiness to the Cubans that live with an average salary of $ 15 per month and lack everything. Free education and health, which are real in Cuba, are not sufficient justifications for the regime's oppressive rule. Nor is the U.S. embargo, as propaganda would have the world to believe, because the island's poverty was caused largely by a centralized economy and a bureaucracy that never worked properly.
Today, like every day since 1960, when the revolution has become a regime that destroyed its own dream of democracy and freedom, the best thing that can happen to the Caribbean island is the inevitable death of Fidel and his old brother, an event all Cubans are waiting for, hoping to begin a new era for the island.
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