Sugar-Coated Myths about Castro and CubaI am a senior...


September 17, 1994

Sugar-Coated Myths about Castro and Cuba

I am a senior electrical engineering major at Morgan State University. This letter is in response to one written by Cliff DuRand ("Clinton Should Ignore Myths about Cuba," Sept. 3).

The reason I am writing is that I feel the sheer weight of the inaccuracies in his letter compelled me to answer him.

Mr. DuRand, in an attempt to explain the reasons for the Cuban exodus, uses the most convoluted and backward reasoning I have ever heard.

First he says, "In spite of the best efforts of the world's greatest superpower, 35 years later not only is Castro still in power, but the social project of the revolution remains immensely popular -- even among those now leaving."

He goes on to say that Cuba's economic crisis -- and the subsequent refugees -- is caused not by the failed policies of a socialist system but by the U.S. embargo.

Maybe I missed something, but when did the United States become responsible for putting food in the mouths of the Cuban people?

By Mr. DuRand's reasoning, the Clinton administration is trying to "escape responsibility" for "creating the refugees" by embracing some well worn "myths."

Myth No. 1: "Castro is about to fail; we only need to keep the pressure on a little bit longer."

According to Mr. DuRand, the 1993 national elections (an earth-shaking event for a socialist country that seems to have gone unnoticed by the rest of the world) were "a referendum on the revolution and Mr. Castro's leadership" and showed Mr. Castro to be more popular than Mr. Clinton during his election.

Mr. DuRand just discovered one of the beauties of socialism -- elections tend to be really easy when you're the only candidate. In fact, your "popularity" usually tends to soar.

He also says, "Sure, there is discontent in Cuba. There is also discontent in Los Angeles, but that doesn't mean the government is about to fail."

No, the difference is that the people of Los Angeles are not risking life and limb to cross a 90-mile stretch of shark-infested water to get away from their "discontent."

Myth No. 2: "Socialism has failed in Cuba." Mr. DuRand says that "until the collapse of its trade [with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe], socialism had created a middle-class society in Cuba."

Couldn't one then say that Cuba's middle class society was created not by socialism but by trade?

If the first responsibility of a government is to see to the basic needs of its people, and that government is socialist, and those needs are not met, then the only conclusion is that socialism has failed.

And I would like to clear up one other point. Cuba never had "trade" with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Cuba was given "subsidies" by those countries, which had an interest in seeing a socialist state act as a thorn in America's side.

In return, Cuba gave those countries more sugar than anyone could possibly need. This transformation of Cuba into one of the world's biggest sugar exporters (if not the biggest) may explain why this tropical island, the largest in the Caribbean, blessed with perfect weather year-round, cannot feed its own people. All the good farm land is used for growing sugar cane.

Myth No. 3: "The U.S. has the right to a government to its liking in Havana."

On this point, Mr. DuRand and I agree. The United States does not have a right to pick what government resides in Cuba, only the Cuban people do. But the U.S. has every right to suggest that they choose a democratic system.

What is more important, the United States has every right to pick and choose whom it does business with.

And if that means deciding not to trade with an oppressive, dictatorial and totalitarian regime, then we do not trade. If Mr. Castro and Mr. DuRand have trouble accepting this, tough.

Mr. DuRand needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Socialism is a proven failure, and Fidel Castro has no one to blame but himself for his country's problems.

Kenneth Hunt


Divorced Parents

In response to Susan Reimer's column Aug. 30, "Think twice before getting a divorce for the kids' sake": I have never been so infuriated in my life. In it she states that a child from a divorced family is emotionally overwrought, underachieving, depressed and in so many words less of a child than children from a family with two married partners.

Let me tell you, my children were three and four years old when I was divorced, and as far as Ms. Reimer's statement about them not having a good life, this is entirely untrue.

I worked two jobs to make sure that they were able to stay in their home, that they had all the nice things that a two-parent family could afford.

My second job was working at home typesetting so that I could be home with them, starting when they would go to bed at night and often times working to 2 or 3 a.m. to finish. Every spare second I had was completely devoted to their needs.

My children are now 12 and 13, a difficult time in any child's life. They are both happy, outgoing, loving and very giving.

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