To the Editor: 

Bernie Sanders’ debate comment that as President he would initiate a socialist government like Cuba, he believes worked well. Bernie, open your eyes. Study history. Have you even visited Cuba? If you did, were you surrounded by government officials who carefully shielded you from reality? To even suggest that the U. S. is currently in a situation similar to that of Cuba in 1958 is almost traitorous.

Cuba of 1958 was owned by The Mob. Those on the inside had it good. The rest were in abject poverty and no way out. Along came Castro.

I visited Cuba in 2017, almost 60 years after socialism was established. I spoke with Cubans. The reality? Cuban currency is worthless outside of Cuba. It is illegal to spend U.S. dollars. But everyone is happy to get greenbacks. Housing is in buildings that would be condemned in America. Some high-rise buildings have facades that have crumbled into streets, leaving residents open to view. Infrastructure is non-existent. Sidewalks are crumbled to dust, with big holes everywhere. Streets are paved with pot holes. Public transportation, where it exists, is stake bodied trucks where people scramble up to stand in the truck bed. Domestic water is hit and miss. Cubans have cisterns in their homes to stock up on days when water flows. Food is rationed. The iconic U.S. cars of the ‘60s have been converted to run on cheap, Chinese diesel, belching choking fumes. Gasoline is virtually non-existent. Schools and Universities are free, but buildings are boarded up or falling down. Medicine is free in hospitals, run without supplies.

Socialism worked well when Russia poured money into it. When Russia left, the economy was propped up by Venezuela, now in chaos. Sixty years after Castro, Cuba is being saved by capitalism. Cubans are gaming the system, saving up money to come back to open up private businesses. Degreed Cubans are now tour guides and tour bus drivers making roughly 3 to 4 times the salary that could be made with their degree.

More examples? Travel to countries that fell to Russia after WWII, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, etc. Seventy-four years later, they are desperately trying to shed socialism which crushed them and rebuild their countries as capitalists.

Socialism doesn’t work. Ask those who have lived it. Bernie, take off the blinders and get in touch with reality. You are scaring me to death!

Bess Carnahan


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