Were leftists to be believed (and wouldn’t that be a mistake?!), the US is to blame for all that is wrong with Cuba right now. In their view, it’s no that communism is destroying Cuba, but rather it is our fault that Cubans are suffering, starving, and slipping ever further into the depths of socialist deprivation that we in the West find near-unthinkable.
In a way, they’re right. Had Kennedy had the balls to send support for the brave Cuban volunteers that died during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, perhaps a pro-Western leader would have been installed in Cuba. Had that leader then followed the precedent set by Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan, the possibility of a Cuban economic miracle isn’t a remote one.
However, that’s not what the young leftist mean. They think that it’s the fault of a US embargo that the socialist experiment in Cuba isn’t going as well as they hoped.
Well, if socialism is so great that Cuba would otherwise be the bright light of economic progress, why does a US embargo matter so much? The Cubans traded with the USSR, shouldn’t that have been enough to jump-start their communist miracle? They were able to get thousands of troops to Angola, shouldn’t that have been able to get, from the communist bloc, whatever basic materials might have been necessary to plug the gap before their economy went “to the moon?”
The thing is, socialism isn’t that great. In fact, socialism sucks. Everywhere it is tried, no matter the trade policies of other states, it leads to deprivation and misery. Death camps, starvation, and secret police are the facets of “real socialism” and leftists that say otherwise are lying.
The US embargo might have hurt Cuba. But what hurt it more is its morally and economically bankrupt system; empowering the individual and opening its domestic markets will do far more for Cuban prosperity than lifting an embargo ever would.
But, of course, that’s the inconvenient fact that the left doesn’t want to recognize, so they’ll just keep blaming their favorite target: the US.