Fidel Castro is dead, but long live Castro.
It’s naive to think that everything is reset to normal the morning after the announcement of his death.
Communism has been left to breed unabated in that island petri dish for 57 years, and the vast majority of its citizens know no difference, have never tasted freedom, liberty nor independence.
Castro’s poison has turned the citizens into sheep — fed, herded, docile and meek. The modern-day Stockholm syndrome. The people have fallen in love with their captors and know no difference
As a product of a Cuban parent, grandson of Cuban exiles and a recent visitor to the island, I know it will take more than Castro’s death to ignite the human spirit, rebuild the massive crumbing 1950s infrastructure and jump-start the economy necessary to regain Cuba’s place on the world stage.
Buildings have 57 years of deferred maintenance — roofing, paint, elevators, plumbing, heat, all broken, like the Cuban people. Their owners, the government, have ignored anything structural while the Castro family is reported to have siphoned off and hidden tens of millions to enrich themselves in secret accounts worldwide. They reside in splendid palaces while the Cubans live in caveman huts built on top of one another.
Visitors to the island since President Barack Obama’s lifting of travel restrictions have seen a beautiful historical romantic Disneyland version of old Cuba. It is a carefully controlled pageant of color and people, characters in dress just like Walt Disney would have imagined. Only one street off the “yellow brick” path is the real Cuba: abject poverty, squalor, the sights, smells and sounds of the worst in Third World order.
What is needed is a profound change in American policy. Lift the embargo that hurts the little people. Give the general population abundant food, simple luxuries and, most of all, the internet to open their eyes to the sacrifices that have been imposed upon them by their communist captors. Open their minds to the rich fabric of life created by freedom, hard work and creativity.
Do it now and watch Castro’s communistic legacy crumble to ruin.
Alas, poor Babylon.
Frank Norton Jr.