Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did his bit in Havana. It is no small thing to speak at an event commemorating the life of a figure who is a symbol, albeit of an obsolete world, of an ideology that survives only in a handful of corners of the Earth (terrible for their populations), a utopia that was defeated by reality even inside Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The measures being implemented by Raul Castro’s regime refute all the fixations that transformed the revolution of 1959 into a dictatorship. Yes, it was a dictatorship. Maybe it had a good public health system, but it also carried out 5,600 executions and 1,200 assassinations.
According to the Cuba Archive database, the Castro regime is directly responsible for 10,723 deaths. Another 78,000 people died at sea between Cuba and Miami. None, however, drowned trying to get from Miami to Cuba, to the paradise described by Tsipras in his speech. Migration flowed only in one direction, even though the US has a terrible health system. All over the world, in fact, people have died trying to leave socialist edens and to reach capitalist hells. They couldn’t be stopped by East German bullets or by the kind of exhortations made by the Greek prime minister. “We have our own dynasts too,” said Tsipras. “The inhuman logic of the laws of the market and neoliberalism.” While in Greece everyone seems to know how mean, cold and brutal “neoliberalism” can be, in the rest of the world people are literally dying to reach it.
In April 1980, 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian Embassy in Havana asking for asylum. The incident compelled Castro to briefly open the borders and allow passage to anyone who “did not want to live in Cuba” – 85,000 left in the first month and by September, when the escape window closed, their number had reached 125,000. Today, more than 10 percent of Cuban are living in self-exile. None of these 1.3 million people, however, opted for another socialist paradise. They all preferred neoliberal brutality.
The scenes from Havana were quite surreal, and not just because of all the dictators flanking Tsipras on both sides. Let’s think about it for a second: The prime minister of a country that allows the left (even this ludicrous version of the it) to govern goes to a country where departing from the ideological line was punishable with prison or death, and tells those people that he is being oppressed by neoliberalism. If he feels so downtrodden, why doesn’t he stay there and see what the communist version of the “independence, liberty, justice and dignity” that he talked about in his speech looks like firsthand?