This is in response to George Nethercutt's column ("My Dinner with Fidel," 12/8/16) wondering why Cuba is communist after 50 plus years of Fidel Castro's communism. When are we going to look at history and wonder why people hate the U.S.? There are two sides to every story.
Prior to 1959 there was a dictator [Fulgencio Batista] controlling Cuba. The Mafia had control of numerous casinos in the country. Batista and a few cronies were rich and corrupt. Most of the people were poor and illiterate. Prostitution was rampant as a way to survive. The government ruled by torture and murder. The country was ripe for a revolution by anybody with strength and charisma.
Castro came along and took over the country. He deceived the world by hiding his communistic beliefs for a little while and then came out openly. So, the country went from one extreme on the right to the other extreme on the left.
In 1961, I met a young man in college who escaped from Cuba after Batista fell from power. He told me the story of how he was watching a baseball game. During a break, Castro's soldiers marched out a group of people who were then machine-gunned to death in front of the crowd. That opened my eyes to the fact that Castro wasn't a saint. But the person telling me the story had a hard glint to his eyes, also. I could easily picture him being from the ruling class who subjugated the majority of the people.
I've since learned that the majority of the Cubans are now literate and can get free education as high as they want to go. Cubans have a large number of doctors who don't get paid well but they do serve the health needs of the population. Opposition leaders are apparently still jailed, but I haven't heard of any more rampant executions for a long time. We do business and trade with other communist countries like China all the time, so it is inconsistent to continue a boycott against Cuba.
My point is that violence and extremism on the right or left is wrong.
Post Falls, Idaho