Why Communism Is Bad

By James Freeman (original here)

I remember very few occasions when I was ashamed of my country. One time happened recently while I was watching a documentary about the fall of Saigon in 1975. The last of the U.S. personnel in Vietnam were ordered to abandon their allies. So our guys had to lie to the South Vietnamese in the U.S. embassy compound, tell them that more planes were on the way to save them, and then quietly slip through a hedge to board the last flight to freedom. As the plane turned while making its ascent, one U.S. soldier recalled looking down into the compound and seeing all the faces – men, women and children – looking up into the sky for the next flight that never came.

When the United States abandoned its allies in Southeast Asia, the communists created the killing fields that led even anti-war activists like Joan Baez to recoil in horror. Tragically, the millions murdered in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were just one chapter in the bloody history of 20th century communism. In the Soviet Union, more than 20 million people were murdered in Stalin’s purges.

Millions more died during China’s Cultural Revolution. For much of the world, the history of the last 100 years is the history of communist oppression. And for us, of course, much of the 20th century was a struggle to defend the free world. From Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, supporting democratic governments against communist attack was the major foreign policy challenge.

But things are so good now. We feel so secure. There doesn’t seem to be anyone who could really threaten us. Communism seems pretty harmless. I think that’s why most people see the Elian Gonzalez case as a simple custody issue. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro certainly doesn’t threaten us, and he’s fairly benign compared to a Stalin or a Pol Pot. From what we can tell, Castro’s not murdering lots of his own people.

Still, it’s worth considering what kind of life Elian can expect under Castro’s regime. Many reporters treat the anti-Castro sentiment in south Florida as some kind of strange obsession among Cuban Americans. And when Elian’s relatives fight so hard to keep him here, they’re ridiculed and called unreasonable. Are they right to be unreasonable?

Let’s look at the facts. Fidel Castro has ruled Cuba since 1959, after taking power by military force. According to the State Department, “Within months of taking power, Castro moved to consolidate his power by imprisoning or executing opponents. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled the island. Castro declared Cuba a socialist state on April 16, 1961.” In the four decades since then, Castro has not allowed a free election.

Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Commission again condemned Cuba’s human rights violations and called on the regime to allow basic freedoms. Three weeks ago, Amnesty International released a new report on Cuba’s harassment of political dissidents. According to Article 53 of the Cuban constitution, there is no freedom of speech. So, by definition, Elian’s father does not speak for himself. According to Article 62 of the Cuban constitution, there is no freedom of assembly and no freedom of association.

There is no independent judiciary. There are now people rotting in Cuban jails for the crime of “disrespect.” In a recent case cited by Amnesty International, Lázaro Constantín Durán was detained for attending a political demonstration, beaten and then sentenced to three years of imprisonment for the crime of “dangerousness.”

Amnesty also reported on another member of the opposition. “Milagros Cruz Cano, who is blind, was re-detained by State Security officials whilst waiting for a bus. She was initially held at the Maria Luisa police station in Havana where she was reportedly beaten by police officers which resulted in a swollen cheek and a bruise and scab below her eye. She was then transferred to Mazorra psychiatric hospital…”

Democracy activist Cecilio Monteagudo Sánchez was detained in 1997 and then sentenced in 1999 to four years in prison for writing an anti-Castro leaflet which was never printed. A journalist also drew a prison term because he knew about the draft leaflet but did not report it to authorities.

In October 1998, when Manuel Antonio González Castellanos, a reporter for the independent Cuba Press, was arrested, his family wrote anti-government slogans on the walls of their house. Amnesty explained what happened next: “Their home was reportedly surrounded by several hundred people, reportedly led by State Security agents and members of the Rapid Response Brigades, who chanted threats and abuse. Government agents then forced open the door and beat two members of the family, Yoani and Leonardo Varona, as well as a visitor at the house, Roberto Rodríguez Rodríguez.”

What about regular day-to-day living? According to the State Department, per capita income in Cuba is equivalent to US$1,540 per year.

Moreover, it’s a crime to try to escape.

So Elian will have no freedom of speech or assembly, no right to a fair trial, no right to vote and no right to return to the United States.

How will the boy adjust to his return to the island nation? Cuban officials have announced that Elian and his father will be taken to live in a government compound where Elian will be re-educated.

There’s a famous picture of a teen-age Bill Clinton shaking hands with President Kennedy and it shows Clinton’s obvious admiration for JFK. I wonder what Kennedy would have done about Elian or another young escapee from communist oppression. Would Kennedy have sent Elian back to Cuba after a demand from Castro or Khruschev? If a boy’s mother had been killed during an escape from East Germany, would President Kennedy have tossed the kid back over the Berlin Wall? I think we know the answer.


2 Responses to “Why Communism Is Bad”

  1. 19 September 2009 at 12:06

    The Communist party is a dictatorship pretending to be one of the people. The only exchange of leadership that was not bloody within the party was Putin becoming the puppeteer for Medvedev. President Obama talks to the marrionette and cannot talk to the puppeteer. These are dark days for our Republic. Honduras is punished for respecting their consitutional laws. Iran, Libya, PLO, Venezuela leaders are given a world stage to bask in their spotlight of fame. Our allies that fought for freedom from communist opression are on their own, and they know Russia is preparing to become the pupeteer for the recently liberated countries.

  2. 2 Alan Scott
    19 September 2009 at 19:18

    Talk about abandoning allies. We have just stuck the knife in the back of the Poles and Ukrainians. We are scrapping the missile defense. I bet in Georgia they are real happy about it too. This will make the Russians love us because ?????? I mean why not appease the Russians? After all, they have been so helpful with the Iranians.

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