CUBA: A Bright Future
On first glance, Cuba is not what it seams. One might think of the island simply as the last bastion of Communism in an increasingly democratic and capitalistic world. This is increasingly untrue, and can no longer be considered a fact. It is true, however that in the past Cuba has gone to great lengths to make itself isolated, this was simply a tactic to ensure that their unique society was not diluted by any outsider influence, especially American. The result of this political behaviour has often meant nothing but pain and strife for the Cuban people. Lately though, they have been loosening their leash, and have allowed for some more breathing room. No where else is this more clear than in the expanding tourist industry that now dominates much of the island and it s economy.
The political future of the small country has been uncertain since the first Europeans landed on the island in 1492, along with the now famous Columbus. Indeed, for the first several years, even the name of the island itself changed frequently before eventually settling on Cuba ( which originates from the local name Cubanascnan). The title to the island bounced back and forth as well. First from Spain, then to England after the seven year war, then back to Spain, and eventually to the sovereign country that it is today. During the Batista years ( 1952-1959 ), life for the islanders was repressive and conditions pour. Initially Batista was merely interested in cowtoeing to the American investors and tourists that flocked to the island, but he gradually developed his own personal political schedule. Finally Batista was overthrown after several years of struggling with the likes of Fidel Castro and His many guerrilla supporters. Once in a position of power, Castro immediately seized control of the island and began to instate the basics of communism. It seamed with this that at last Cuba had a future. Indeed, Castro was more than a Communist puppet, he was a figurehead of the Cuban people and a political visionary. What he did for the island was completely unselfish in it s routs. He abolished racism on the island, and gave even the poorest of peasants the opportunity at a university education. It is impossible to decipher an image of the Cuban government simply from looking at such Communist counterparts a s China. China is an extreme case of Communism, Cuba on the other hand is more lenient in it s views. In fact, Cuba is developing quite the keen business sense. Some say the island is even flourishing, and even has the opportunity to do better.
Though, today this relative security and political stability is beginning to falter. Fidel is not the young mountain guerrilla that once was, and is reaching an age where many are beginning to question his health. What will the future hold for Cuba? No one knows for sure, but it isn t inconceivable that Cuba s present form of Communism won t carry on after Castro s gone. Few people on the island have anything but the greatest respect for him, at least they say this is so. However, the American government is certain that there is enough pro-Americanism on the island that it could eventually revert back to it s former role as a protectorate of the States once Castro is gone. Maybe even a state. Thus far the political future is once again uncertain.
When Batista was in control of the government, the foreign policy, to a point seemed to be "Go with whatever the Americans think is best." This position changed as the governments agenda changed, and it wasn t long before Batista annoyed the Americans to such a point that the realized that he wasn t worth the fuss. They supported Castro in his efforts to take control of Cuba, believing that any change would be for the better, and that Castro would be so grateful, that they would essentially have him in their pocket. Things couldn t have gone more off course than they did, and once the cold war got reacted up, they certainly were kicking themselves. Cuba began developing strong ties with the USSR, and from that gained weapons and technology. How they used this technology was still up to them, since they were in such a key position, the USSR likely considered them a valuable commodity. No doubt Cuba used this fact to play Russia for all it was worth. Back to the use of the economic support provided by the USSR, Cuba used it as it liked. Throughout it s golden years, Cuba supported numerous political uprisings all over the globe. This point is clearest specially in Africa, since fair portion of the population is of African descent, there was strong sympathy for the African situation in particular. Also, Cuba was a focal point for the mass training of revolutionaries to fight effectively with guerrilla warfare. Who better to teach it than the Cubans who only years before had been doing the same. since loosing it s support from the USSR, such programs have been cut back significantly, and instead, Cuba does training of a different sort. Cuba has, for an island of it s size and political strength, a fair number of trained professionals and institutions of higher learning. Today, Cuba brings in students from all over, but specifically ones from Communist China and many of the surrounding islands.
Throughout the fifties, Cuba was gaining a booming economy. Many American company's built factories there and employed a great deal of the population. Also, tourism was also on the rise as a large number of Americans flocked to the island every year due to it s close proximity to the states. After Castro took control, all this, for a time, stopped. The Cuban economy moved from being an up-sprout of the American economy to a supported member of the Communist bloc countries. All American owned business were seized and assets were liquidated to be funnelled back into the state. There was a wide scale mechanization of the industries, and the economy was flush with support. Since the fall of the greater communist countries, Cuba has been left very much on it s own. Naturally, it has turned back to it s original source of income; tourism. The tourism industry brings more money into the country than all the yearly sugar exports. It now employs more and more Cubans who are attracted to the jobs by the possibility of the almighty American dollar, and tips. So it seams that things, for the most part have come full circle. At least for now, Cuba is once again depending on America for support. weather they like it or not.
Social/quality of life:
Cuba certainly has seen better days. They may have survived without American aid when backed by the Communist bloc, but they certainly won t when it s just them against the States. They receive little in the way of modern medicine, their technology is still stuck in the seventies, they drive cars from the fifties, and there are frequent power outages. And that s just if you live in an urbanized environment. close to two thirds do, but at least one third still live as they would have close to eighty years ago. The telephone service is spotty at best, and the postal service isn t much better. Still, this aside, the average life expectancy is somewhere around seventy six, though this age differs by source. The climate is conducive to just about any kind of industry or agriculture, so there really shouldn t be any problems. Still, things can t help but improve.
Cuba is definitely one of the more progressive communist governments in existence today, and this becomes more true every day. Their future in the area is becoming considerably unstable, and as Castro ages, so does the Country. Communism may have been the answer for the past Cuba, but the future certainly looks bright for a return to capitalism. Cuba no longer holds the political strength that is used to, and this is clearly reflected in their foreign policy. This once strong country has had to take a position on the side lines, and no longer participates to the extent that it once did on the global scene. The economy has begun to realign its self with the United States in a search for stability. The future Cuban economy also looks bright. Finally, there s the social situation. It s deplorable at the moment, but with the improvement being made to the ailing economy, one can only hope that some of the spoils will trickle their way down.