The US news frequently runs articles about Cuba reforming and opening up, that the communist government is adopting free enterprise. But it’s more a mafia-like system of favors and bribes, than a burgeoning place of free enterprise.
The day Cuba is reformed is the day anyone can take a plane from Miami to Havana and then walk down the street wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Castro (either one) that says “Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you’re a prick”.
Does it matter that Cuba permits the practice of religion and writes a prohibition again religious discrimination into its laws? Not if the permission is granted only to those who keep quiet about their beliefs. Profess openly, or engage in protest in relation to your beliefs, be prepared to be labeled mentally ill or thrown in jail. And unfortunately sometimes the churches themselves prop up or at least turn a blind eye to the governement’s actions, such as the case of a number of protesters who were called criminals and mentally ill by a church Archbishop.
Even the Washington Post has called Havana’s Archbishop of Havana a partner of Rauol Castro. It is too often the case that for a few favors the world is willing to turn a blind eye to an oppressive practice. Release a few prisoners, and the totalitarian state is free to continue intimidation and mis-information about protestors who simply don’t feel they need the state’s permission to go to church.
Once upon a time, when Fidel Castro still had the “cool factor” he claimed it would be a mistake to assassinate him because his brother Rauol was so much more radical. That Cuba is intolerably broken, with many citizen’s hungry, sleeping in bug infested dwelings, and now the purist of purist’s, Rauol, has been forced to open up commerce a little bit, like the pigs in Animal Farm who sold produce to the human enemy in order to keep the illusion of productivity going.
Stick a fork in it, it’s dead.
A few permits to sell cars and some land for former government employee’s is worse than no reform in a case like this. It becomes institutionalized cronyism, and much of the outside world applauds. Business appears to open up, but then like the British businessman who wanted to build a gold course outside Havana, he finds himself in the middle of a bribery scandal which then scares away new foreign investment.