In my recent trip to Cuba, I was really surprised to witness Communism functioning in the year 2017. Not only they have 0% of illiteracy, health for all and security granted to everyone and everywhere, but also, they have more freedom than any of us living in the capitalist world does.
The question relies on what we understand for freedom. We can say it’s the possibility to do whatever we want to. However, we can conclude that no one has that kind of freedom.
It could also well be to have many options and being able to choose among them. But what if you are born in a low income home? What if you cannot walk at night fearing you might get robbed or even kidnapped?
At the same time, we’ve got to be aware that each time you choose something, you are less free than a minute before. For instance, you purchase a house, but now you have that responsibility, and you cannot decide to move to another country overnight, you’ve got to plan it, you’ve got to take much into consideration.
I understand freedom as having room to being yourself, to live in peace with what happens or doesn’t, to live life to its most. And is here my friends where I believe Cubans are free in a lot of ways.
Cubans may not be able to choose what they eat, where they live, what they do for a living, as they would ultimately work for the government. Neither they can pay to get better stuff, like education, health, etc. Nevertheless, all these clearly make them less attached to material things, less dependent on expectations, and they bear a lot less responsibilities. Who would deny this is quite tempting?
With communism granting the basics, Cubans can focus on enjoying life, on choosing to be jolly, on choosing to be merry, on taking the time to stop in the corner to greet a friend, or to smile at passers by and share their gratitude and even their pride of living in paradise.
I, personally, don’t share many many things about communism, however, we can’t say anymore it doesn’t work, because it does, in Cuba. Neither we can say that the ones living in the Capitalist world, after fighting so much for freedom, we can enjoy all the freedom we’d like, at least not all of us.
I’ve got to admit, that while visiting this contradictory country I felt free. I could walk at night, or in any neighborhood and not fear. I could walk and actually look people into their eyes because no one is typing or looking at their phones. I entered a bar, a restaurant, a house, and witnessed, and more often than not was part of, a real conversation, that it wouldn’t get interrupted by a text, or an email, or a call. I felt free of ads and of the tricks of consumerism. And I could keep going on on how taking a break from all these felt good.
We can argue that it’s a country that is stuck in time, that has seen little progress, that depends on tourism to survive, that it has yet huge problems to solve as for instance the trash. We can also say that as it slowly opens to the world, the system will slowly fade. But, for the days I spent there I had this feeling, that we’ve paid a price too high for what we call freedom, and we’ve lost a lot of things in the way, including more often than not, ourselves.
Communism is working in Cuba now. And before it goes away, I believe we could all learn a few things from them, that could ultimately free us from these many chains that we’ve created in the name of progress, in the name of liberalism.