Today’s entry is a follow up to the Cuba question and topic - Is it straight forward in showing how our travels to Cuba prop up the oppressive government or is it implied?
Bottom Line: Straight- forward. The recently announced Cuban travel restrictions from the Trump administration have presented several teachable moments. I've spoken of the importance of financially starving the communist government in Cuba. I've also depicted how the proliferation of American tourism in Cuba in recent years has only acted to strengthen the iron fist of the Castro regime. Since then, I’ve received several notes with great questions like this one. Answering the question as to if an influx of American tourist dollars is direct or implied is best explained by depicting the differences between socialism and communism.
In socialist government structure is when the government controls the means of production. However, there isn't a hard limit on earnings and you have the ability for private ownership in these societies. In a communist government structure, the government retains full control over the entire society. Everyone is provided an equitable standard of living and there’s a hard cap on earnings, with the government retaining control of all resources. In the case of Cuba, that cap on earnings is $25 per month.
Prior to the US enabling tourism to Cuba, the economy was in a serious recession, the government was struggling to maintain the status quo, including keeping up housing, maintaining the $25 monthly wage, providing for its military and maintaining strict controls and enforcement over all business activity. This allowed for pockets of opportunity to begin to breakout around the country. With the government unable to afford tight controls, entrepreneurial-minded Cuban’s started to create businesses that they were controlling, tips and other resources brought from tourists were often retained rather than confiscated, etc. That all began to change with the proliferation of US tourism in Cuba. As US dollars flowed into the Cuban economy, the communist government began to improve its fiscal strength. With improved fiscal strength, the government once again increased enforcement often resulting in the confiscation of the businesses that’d been created, tips earned from the outside, etc.
That’s how Americans have directly contributed to the repression of the Cuban people and an illustration of what really happens under communism.
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