I have posted on my alternate universe vision of the world, if the US had never been. That was a speculative fantasy. But in a few countries today, like Cuba and North Korea, our influence is less than zero – in these countries we don’t exist except as an object of official loathing. That’s hard reality, not speculation.
I find the condition of these countries rather telling.
They are unfree. They are ruled by elites desperate to retain power, who use an outmoded Marxist ideology to exploit the population and advance their private interests.
They are economic basket cases. The combined lack of freedom and dearth of material prospects is fatal to morality. People must prey on one another, and on the everpresent state, just to survive. Stripped of civility, decency, and integrity, ordinary people descend into an existential hell from which there are two difficult exits: escape or death.
This article by Karen Horn in the online Standpoint depicts what it terms “the euthanasia of Cuban society” with stark clarity:
Life is already “nasty and brutish” here. Cuba is decaying at a scandalous pace, physically and morally. The social capital of civil values and mutual trust has evaporated and hatred is taking hold. It has become normal to cheat, trick, lie and steal — from each other and from the government. Neighbours, friends and family spy on, blackmail and denounce each other. Solidarity and civil courage have fallen into oblivion. No one dares to move when two men beat up a peaceful drunk in the crowded Parque Cespedes in Santiago. There is a good reason for this inaction: one attacker is a police officer, the other one probably from the Comité de Defensa de la Revolución, a neighbourhood control cell, or the secret police. The victim is left on the ground, crying. This artificial, horrifying edifice of “public order” insured by terror would break down should a natural catastrophe incapacitate the state. As well as scrambling for survival, Cubans would begin settling accounts with each other. In the ensuing abyss of violence, as well as being “solitary, poor, nasty and brutish”, Cuban lives would also become short. [. . .]
Juan’s father is recovering from surgery in a Havana hospital where the sanitary conditions are horrifying. Juan takes him food, drink and medication. But surgery, like all public services, is free of charge — a fact that Cubans repeat, trying hard to persuade themselves that their system is not so unbearable after all, ignoring the simple truth that what costs nothing is worth nothing. The hospitals are yearning for technical equipment and staff. Yet well-trained doctors have been sent to Venezuela, together with military experts and schoolteachers, in a trade for oil and gas. It is better to avoid being ill.
Everyday life in Cuba resembles a forgotten corner of hell, where the devils and the sufferers and one and the same, and the sin deserving such endless punishment is to be born in the wrong place.
The Cuban regime vociferously hates the US, and for this reason it is admired by many. Americans, I think, should feel pity for the bedeviled Cuban people, and be honored to have earned the hatred of their despotic rulers.