Thingish Things

Cuba Folds, 53 Years Late

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Nov• 03•11

Fifty three years after the fall of Havana, Cuba’s revolutionary leaders have thrown in the towel and admitted systemic defeat. In announcing today the opening of Cuba’s residential real estate to buying and selling, the Raul Castro regime is aknowledging what his brother Fidel’s regime refused to: Marxism doesn’t work.

It’s hardly a secret. Every Marxian utopia has ended in disaster. Every single one. Cuba and North Korea have been the most prominent holdouts, and one of them now begins the task of unraveling a half century of damage.

Buying and selling real estate will be confined to Cuban residents, Havana’s government announced. But that’s a preposterous concept and even they must know it. Valuable Cuban real estate expropriated by Cuba’s henchmen for Party loyalists decades ago will soon be up for sale, and outside money will snap it up using surrogates within the country if need be. It will be impossible to stop that.

One of those homes, the one in which Raul Castro himself lives, belonged to a dear friend of mine, an elegant lady who lived out her life in a rent controlled Manhattan apartment after her family’s sugar estate was seized. Raquel had been visiting the States when the Batista Regime fell to the guerrillas, and, with just the clothes on her back, she never returned home. A ravishing beauty in her youth, she took a job teaching Spanish and transformed, over time, into a little old New York lady.

I used to tell her we would one day dance in Havana and visit her old home. But the mere mention of that would make her melancholy and she would change the subject. Raquel was 90 then, and she is now long gone. There will be no homecoming for her.

Cuba tried to jump start its economy last year by allowing its people to engage in small entrepreneurial ventures.  But there was nothing of value in the country to buy and sell, so that program has done little to help struggling Cubans. The only thing of value left in Cuba is its real estate (its  climate and proximity to the U.S.) and the latent ingenuity of its people. Once the money pours into the former, one can expect the latter to thrive. That’s what Comrade Raul is plotting any way from the porch of my old friend’s home, 50 years too late.

Meanwhile, in downtown Manhattan and in cities all across American tired Marxist slogans and ideologies are being trotted out again. Amazing.

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