Friday, September 10, 2010

Fidel Castro Surprises Again

I must admit that I never thought that I would see the day when Fidel would show serious signs of finally rejecting the old leftist ideology.  I have always had respect for the man, even though I could never fathom the idealist ideology he espoused.  That today he is able to see so clearly is actually remarkable.

Yet let us give him his due.  He has faced economic crisis that we are only now experiencing ourselves.  He has promoted military adventures that also got bogged down and got out.  He has tormented his enemies in Washington and surely was less than the supplicant to his allies in Moscow.

If he now decides to embark on a real modernization, he has everything needed for Cuba to roar into the twenty first century and reach economic parity with the developed world on a per capita basis.  He is not saddled with an illiterate population or gimme elites actually diverting resources away like is typical of Latin America.

All this would be a fine end to a great though historically misguided career.

There used to be times when Fidel Castro would be considered the most left-wing famous person of the Western Hemisphere. Times are changing. The U.S. progressives - of the Daily Kos type - are now vastly more extreme communists than the former Cuban leader.

Following the example of his brother Raul, Fidel gave a sensible answer to the question whether it was a good idea to export the Cuban model to other countries. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said. Fidel has also criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his anti-Semitism and especially holocaust denial. However, the same criticism could be addressed to the U.S. and some European lefties, too.

It's a great achievement for the former Cuban leader to be as quick. He only needed to decimate his previously wealthy country for 51 years before he saw the light. ;-)

It's expected that his words will help his brother Raul to promote some kind of perestroika in Cuba. I actually think that Cuba is not doing too badly for a communist country. For example, its GDP per capita is nearly $10,000, almost a quarter of Florida which would otherwise be comparable.

Obviously, if the Cuban leaders are reading the Reference Frame :-), I recommend them something very different than gradual reforms. I recommend them a Czechoslovak model of shock therapy. They may try to optimize some issues and increase the responsibility of the new owners for their companies.

However, as quick a privatization as possible - with the voucher privatization's (a fraction of stocks may be bought by every citizen, for special "children's money") being a necessary component for the companies that no one else would buy - would be greatly beneficial for Cuba's economic feature.

Now, when the leaders and former leaders already realize that the leftist ideology is a dead end, they may try to revive the enthusiasm from their best years, avoid all kinds of flavorless third routes, and build capitalism and democracy of a textbook type. With Obama in the White House, Cuba has finally received a nonzero chance to overtake America. ;-)

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