Possible, Unlikely” The
Californian Newspaper, July
by Dr. Jess G. Nieto
Fidel Castro turns
80 years old Sunday and the Cuban Revolution celebrates 47 years of survival.
Nearly five decades of a
embargo have failed to topple Castro. However,
the Cuban people have been forced to endure incredible economic hardships.
Castro and other
Cuban leaders have survived repeated assassination attempts by the CIA.
has been the target of numerous destabilization and terrorist attacks since
dictator Eugenie Bautista was ousted on January 1, 1959.
issues – education, health and poverty –
has achieved unparalleled status in comparison to other countries that have
gone through a massive change, particularly through an armed revolution.
Over nearly 50
has eradicated illiteracy that still has not been overcome in the rest of Latin
America or the
, 100 percent of the children have a free taken to every corner of the island. education.
has the highest school retention rate – more than 99 per cent between
kindergarten and ninth grade – in the
. The university has been
has been increased by 15 years. Almost
all infectious and contagious diseases have been eliminated.
, I saw that a profound medical revolution has taken place – the majority of
doctors live in the neighborhoods close to their patients.
There are more doctors per capita than in any other country of the world.
There has been a
trend in the last decade where some Latin American countries – including
– have leaned leftward in economic and social models.
’s successes in dealing with illiteracy, education, health, poverty and
related issues have convinced a number of Latin American political forces that
model is not successful. They
believe a different model must be tried.
embargo, plus the collapse of the Soviet support, made it impossible for
to import the chemicals, machinery and fertilizers to practice modern,
intensive agriculture. Instead,
Cubans turned to farming much of the land organically from a conventional,
high-input, mono-crop intensive agriculture to smaller organic and semi-organic
, 85 percent of the people own their own homes and pay no property taxes.
The remaining fifteen percent pay a symbolic rent of 10 percent of their
discrimination have basically been eliminated in
. The miscegenation of racial groups
represents one of the most profound results of the Cuban Revolution, with
families having members of every conceivable physical and racial characteristic.
The “Plan for
Assistance to a Free Cub,” which the George W.
Bush Administration calls a “hastened transition to democracy,” is a
euphemism for encouraging Castro’s overthrow and the end of the Cuban
chapter raises suspicion that the Bush administration may not rule out attempts
to destabilize Cuban national leadership. Based
on this country’s past, it can be assumed that secret sections are aimed at
and instituting a government more palatable to
A consensus of
American opinion to eliminate the Cuban government does not exist.
On the contrary, it appears a small community of exiled Cubans in Flrida
has been the major force behind this country’s
policy. Polls indicate the majority
of Americans would like to see the normalization of relations.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the
It is not clear
what action the
will take regarding
when Castro is no longer around. To
’s majority is ready for a government change reflects a misunderstanding of
misunderstanding may be similar to what led Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy to
would rise up against Castro when faced with the
Bay of Pigs
invasion and subsequent subversive acts.
miscalculation could repeat itself if the Bush Administration believes the money
it has set aside for a “transition to democracy” will causes the Cuban
masses to rise up.
It is possible to
see a number of changes if Raul Castro emerges as
’s leader. His view of the Chinese
economic model could have a strong impact. Since
enormous fields of petroleum have been found offshore, this could change the
island’s economic future. Raul
Castro may also want better relations and more dialogue with the
is willing is another story.
Judging by our
past, the antagonism towards
, and the secret sections of the Bush plan, an educated guess is that the
does not wish to have to have a Cuban government similar to the one in power.
It may attempt to line up political and military strategies with its
corresponding funds to attack
Nieto is the Executive Director for Heritage of America Educational &
Cultural Foundation, a non-profit agency.
to Cuba Project