A Local Cuban’s Thoughts on Fidel Castro and Communism

A Local Cuban's thoughts Fidel Castro and communism

Fidel Castro and communism both played major parts in Cuba’s history. Fidel served as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba for nearly twenty years, and to this day Cuba remains a communist country. But what do the local Cubans feel about Fidel Castro and communism as a whole?

Whenever I travel to a country, one of my main goals is to meet locals and learn more about THEIR views of their country. Sure you can go buy a history of Cuba book, but what do the locals say? Many times the perspectives of the local people can conflict with that of the history books.

For this reason, I make an effort to learn from the local people when I travel. And when I visited Havana, Cuba, I met a local who gave me his perspective on Fidel Castro and communism in general. Ironically enough, his name is Fidel.

Fidel Castro and communism at the Revolution Museum in Old Havana, Cuba

Fidel Castro and communism in Cuba

In the Museo de la Revolución, or “Museum of the Revolution”, I discovered a totally new perspective that was completely contrary to everything I ever heard in school. This museum highlighted Cuba’s historic revolution lead by the communist revolutionary Fidel Castro.

Behind the glass were letters, documents and photos all illustrating the wondrous accomplishments and achievements of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Accolade after accolade, the exhibit praised Castro and Guevara for liberating the Cuban people from the oppressive American-backed, Batista regime. Photos depicting the brutal torture and murders of the Cuban people under Batista made a strong argument for Castro’s reasoning for revolting.

But how do the local Cubans feel about Fidel Castro and communism today? Do they hold the same sentiments as the Museum of the Revolution?

Fidel Castro and communism: The Che Guevara revolution

A local’s thoughts on Fidel Castro and communism

Fidel is a 31 year old Cuban local who lived and worked in Old Havana. He was a bicycle-taxi driver by profession, providing for his wife and five year old daughter. I met Fidel because he gave me a ride when I visited the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Merced.

Fidel spoke only Spanish, so I really used a lot of brain power during our conversations. I lived in Costa Rica for 8 months last year, where I managed to pick up some rudimentary-level Spanish. However I soon learned that talking politics in a foreign language is much different than typical everyday conversations.

However I managed to understand a lot of what Fidel was rapidly telling me in Spanish. Fidel explained that while Castro’s cause in liberating the Cuban people from Batista was noble, he did not agree with his philosophy on government. Fidel claimed that Castro’s rule isolated Cuba from the rest of the world, limiting opportunity and growth for the Cuban people.

Fidel explained that life in Cuba is very difficult for the locals. Most Cubans are struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families. While Cubans receive food stamps from the government, Fidel explained that the rations provided for the month are enough to feed a family for a week.

Fidel continued explaining that there are not enough job opportunities. Cubans genuinely want to work, but can’t find jobs within their country. Many of them go to neighboring Central American countries seeking work, to then send home to their families. Fidel told me he was so desperate for work that he was thinking about taking an opportunity in the poverty-stricken Venezuela.

Fidel blamed the lack of jobs on the political situation in Cuba. He explained that the government’s strict regulations were stifling the local Cuban’s opportunities to earn money.

The problem of Cuban poverty from Fidel’s perspective is a lack of jobs due to the strict communist-style Cuban government that has gotten better, but is mostly still in place. When Fidel Castro and communism liberated the Cuban people Batista, he simultaneously isolated Cuba, stunting it’s growth and development greatly. Fidel says that the Cuban people want jobs and opportunity just like everybody else. Fidel even told me that he liked what President Donald Trump was doing in the United States and wished the Cuban government and economy was modeled more like America’s.

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Originally from Chicago, now traveling around the world while working remotely as a web designer / developer. A Christian trying to be a shining light in a dark world.

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