Will Cuba ever be free again?
There is no doubt that she will be free someday.
Those for whom this assurance is enough, whose vision and faith is Mosaic, should stop reading here.
We have wandered in the desert somewhat longer than Moses did; or, rather, we have wandered away from the desert that has become our homeland in the hope of being able to return there in the fullness of time. That is the remarkable thing about time which we didn't need Einstein to explain to us: it is always expanding. Yet we ourselves are not. Those of us who have already expanded (and expended) fifty years in the hope of catching up with our country's destiny, returning to that desert and making it blossom again, as it once did, cannot cherish the hope of being gardeners there or even of witnessing its blossoming beyond the days of man. Time for us is definitely finite. The nearer we come to the horizon the less time there is left for us to meet it.
So the original question must be rephrased:
Will we live to see a free Cuba?
Is that hope still tenable?
Not for all of us, not even for most of us. Perhaps not even for any of us.
It really does depend on one's individual expectations, that is, how one chooses to define "free." The more you define freedom down, the closer your definition is to the present system (i.e. the negation of freedom), the closer you are to seeing that day. If consumer freedom suffices, then Cubans have already set out on the road to "freedom" with the Chinese model as their ultimate though unreachable goal. If new faces are all that is required, then there will be many new faces in the immediate future, and more importantly, the old familiar detestable faces of communism will all be gone soon if not the thing itself. If that is enough to meet your definition of freedom, then you are that much closer to the "freedom" you desire. If a re-built Cuba, with skyscrapers as high as Shanghai's and state-corporatism (also known as fascism) in full-throttle thanks to a sympathetic U.S. president that will do for Cuba what Nixon did for China (except without prior conditions), then your dream of a "free" Cuba may be here as soon as November. If you believe that tyranny can evolve into something other and preferable to tyranny without guns and against the wishes of a regional hagemon which considers stability preferable to freedom in Cuba, then what are you doing here when the best perspective from which to witness that evolution is there?
If, however, you belong to the majority of Cuban exiles unwilling to make any accommodation with the evil that destroyed our country, or to tolerate a thriving tyranny more than an impoverished one, if progress means to you the fulfillment of man's thriving to be free rather the State's striving to be omnipotent, if you want the best for Cuba and not merely what others would settle for as good enough for our country, our wait has just begun.
[In Part II, we will discuss what is required now for Cuba to regain her freedom and for us to be able to see her free before we end our days].
I have already dedicated an essay to explaining why I believe there has been no internal insurrection in Cuba in the last 49 years. Fortunately for us, there doesn't have to be one for our country to regain her freedom because the Castro regime is not and has never been sustained by internal forces.
It is not the Cuban people who are the bulwark of Castro's anti-Cuban Revolution. On the contrary, it is their willingness to sabotage it at any and all moments that has kept it in a state of near collapse for almost 50 years, not just the monumental incompetence of Fidel Castro or the irredeemable insanity of Marxist economics. The Cuban people's spontaneous and near-unanimous resolve to do everything in their power to abet the failure of the revolutionary project would have toppled the regime long ago if the Revolution had ever relied on domestic sources for its survival. In fact, it never has. The Cuban Revolution is not nationalistic in origin or trajectory. It is and has always been an international enterprise sponsored and sustained by foreigners.
Left to its own resources, it would not have survived under any guise but crumbled under the weight of the collective incompetence of it leaders and the resistance of the people. But it was never alone. The U.S., which installed Castro in power, has maintained him there for 49 and counting. If its nominal opposition favored the regime, the U.S. was there to provide it. If it did not, the U.S. was ready to dispense with any opposition. When Castro said the embargo was meaningless and proclaimed loudly to the world that Cuba did not need the U.S. for anything, the U.S. obliged by maintaining the embargo. When Soviet subsidies stopped and Castro blamed all of Cuba's problems on the embargo, the U.S. relaxed and eventually gutted the embargo to oblige him.
At the most crucial moment in Cuban history, with Castro posed to obliterate the island in what amounted to the first recorded case of "suicide by cop," the U.S., again, blinked. Rather than undertake the removal of the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Americans were content merely to barter for the withdrawal of the instrumentalities. The Kennedy-Khrushchev pact was purchased at the price of our country's perpetual oppression, for JFK, after betraying us at the Bay of Pigs, agreed to make the U.S. the guarantor of Communism in Cuba, in effect ceding our country to the Soviet Union much as Great Britain had ceded Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany in 1938. Yet the same act of betrayal, which is a source of shame for Britain today, has long been held to be the finest moment in U.S. statecraft. Some nations, it would appear, are more expendable than others.
The Soviet Union underwrote the Cuban Revolution for nearly 30 years, which no doubt contributed to its own economic collapse and hastened the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. It did not, however, bring freedom to the Cuban people. Others were ready and even anxious to take Russia's place. China and all the Western nations, in fact, did their bit to perpetuate Castro's rule. Canada and Spain, which with Mexico have always endeavored to undermine the interests of the U.S. by their support of Castro, resurrected Cuba's tourism industry as the panacea that would save the Cuban Revolution. Despite defaulting on all its foreign obligations and a more than 20-year hiatus on servicing its foreign debt, Communist Cuba was never cut off but continued to be the beneficiary of what amounted to subsidies from countries that periodically purported to deplore its human rights abuses but still underwrote Castro's rule. Even Third World countries have subsidized Castro by contracting for the services of his slaves. This would not have sufficed to sustain the regime if a historical anomaly called Hugo Chávez had not come to Castro's rescue in the hope of some day replacing him.
If Barack Obama is elected president, the Cuban Revolution shall have a new lease on life. The unnecessary sacrifices it has inflicted on the Cuban people will be rewarded in a measure that shall surpass Castro's fondest expectations. The wait has been long, but not a difficult one for the Cuban hierarchy, which always placed their creature comforts before the necessities of the Cuban people. Now they are to be confirmed in all their prerogatives by the United States and accorded not only recognition but vindication. The surrender of the U.S., without prior conditions, has always been Castro's goal and the only terms acceptable to him. Obama has announced that he will negotiate with Castro unconditionally. I am sure that this promise is the only thing that is keeping Fidel alive.
If instead of abetting Castro for nearly 50 years, the U.S. and the rest of the world had opposed his rule, the efforts of the Cuban people to undermine his regime by what amounts to the longest sustained period of passive resistance in history -- the only resistance open to Cubans -- would have liberated them without firing one shot. But that kind of worldwide effort was reserved for another pariah state, South Africa, which, incidentally, is now engaged in the systematic slaughter, almost amounting to genocide, of all foreigners in their country (no, not the whites, but 3 million blacks refugees from Zimbabwe and other African countries).
For Cuba to be free again, the world must not engage Cuba; it must quit Cuba. It is that simple. If in the last half-century the Cuban Revolution has proved anything other than its depravity, it has shown, beyond a doubt, that it is completely unequipped to survive on its own. The Cuban people have done everything in their power to contribute to their own liberation by undermining the system that oppresses them. But that will never be enough while the rest of the world, including the U.S., is complicit in their enslavement.