If you are a Cuban citizen, per month, you are entitled to, among other items, one chicken leg, 10 eggs and per day, you receive one roll of toilet paper as your monthly allowance. Remaining foodstuffs are purchased with the $15-30 (chauffeur, doctor, respectively) monthly Cuban income, tips from tourists or remittances.
Where is the balance? In the United States, as a testimony to our materialistic consumerism, when the economy slumps, our government tells us to buy more, sometimes they even give us spending money! We buy and sell credit to the extent that to stratify society into economic classes is nearly impossible given that most of the wealth is a façade protecting the truth of, in many cases, insurmountable debt. There are so many cheaply and mass-produced goods available for purchase in our system that the amount of waste and greed is shameful. However, there is a stifling aura of repression that exists in the daily interactions of people living in a society where they are threatened by government-authorized imprisonment for formulating an independent idea that contradicts the ideologies of those governing them. This is the price a communist society must pay for the services the government provides. Women’s liberation, education, health care, accommodations for people with disabilities, elderly; all the marginalized groups are deliberately provided for. Clearly the two ideologies present components that benefit those governed. As Iranian “President”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke to the world in an hours long speech, on a state owned news channel, one could question if it is the best policy to alienate world leaders whom we fundamentally disagree with or rather should we keep our enemies close? Apart from the whole prohibition of free speech and the unequal access to luxuries, socialism seems to create a stronger community, yet far weaker individuals. In thinking about the relations between Cuba and the U.S., it is easy to identify the similarity of the situation with that of two children in disagreement while playing during school recess. Yet, the polarized position that each government holds, as history has proven, is destructive and a balance of both systems seems to be ideal.