Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cuba and Pleasantville

A few years ago I watched a movie called Pleasantville, which was about a carefully controlled town that was entirely in black and white. There were no books in the library and everyone lived carefully measured and boring lives. Of course an outsider changed that and infused colour into the town.

Cuba is a modern day Pleasantville. In the past 10 years that I have visited, Cuba remains stuck in the 1950's. Their libraries contain numerous books about the revolution in 1953 but nothing else. The museums are all about the revolution...there is no visible progress. 10 years ago most people use horses for labour and oxen to plough, that still remains.

Of course they have a good system of education and medicine, but like Pleasantville it is only a matter of time until the steady state system known as Cuba will change. It is already happening with the internet. While the newspapers are controlled, food rationed and the way of life unchanged, the internet with its possibilities and information will bring change to the Cuban landscape.

The revolution in 1953 involved gunfire and the ousting of Battista. This revolution will be one of ideas. The life for the average Cuban is worse under Raul Castro than Fidel. The truth is, that the Cuban revolution is static and has failed under its own system. Economically, Cuba is stuck in 1953. Ideologically, Cuba is at a crossroads of change as new ideas are sweeping Cuba through the internet.

In Pleasantville, once the people had tasted colour, they could not go back to their black and white world. Once the Cuban people are exposed to new ideas, the black and white world of Castro's Cuba will be changed forever.

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