12 November 2014 ~ 3 Comentarios

Why communism collapsed 25 years ago

by Carlos Alberto Montaner

Brelin wall

(Miami Herald) Twenty-five years ago, communism was symbolically buried. A crowd of Germans filled with hope ran to the Berlin Wall and demolished it with hammer blows.

It was as if they were pounding on the heads of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Honecker, Ceausescu and the rest of the theoreticians and tyrants responsible for the longest of the many dictatorships that humanity has endured.

Around that time, a rigorous book took stock of the experiment. Its title: The Black Book of Communism. Our specie fertilized the paradise of the proletariat with about 100 million cadavers.

The reaction was predictable. In the Soviet Union, in 1989, all of Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to rescue the Marxist-Leninist model had failed. In Hungary, a Communist Party led by Imre Pozsgay, a reformist intent on liquidating the system, opened the nation’s borders so the Germans in the GDR could go into Austria and thence to the radiant and free Federal Republic of Germany.

In Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel and a handful of brave intellectuals set up the Civic Forum as a response to the monochord barbarity of Gustav Husak.

In June, five months before the toppling of the Wall, the Poles had participated in elections machiavelically conceived to corner the Solidarity movement but, led by Lech Walesa, the democratic opposition won 99 of the 100 Senate seats.

What had happened? The communist system had finally been defeated. The countries that first implemented it and first cancelled it were impoverished dictatorships, cruel and ineffective, that lagged visibly behind the West in all levels of existence.

Communism was a horror from which anyone who could flee fled, while those who remained no longer believed in the Marxist-Leninist theory, even though they automatically applauded the measures imposed by the leadership.

That is why Boris Yeltsin could dissolve the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1991, with its 20 million members, without hearing a single protest. Reality — not the CIA or NATO — had defeated that barbaric and counterproductive way to organize society.

Aleksandr Yakovlev, the theoretician of perestroika, told me so, in his large Moscow office, when I asked him why communism had collapsed. “Because it didn’t adapt to human nature,” he said. Exactly.

What about the Chinese? The Chinese, more pragmatic, had come to that conclusion earlier, after observing the driving and triumphant example of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. They were the same Chinese, with a different collar.

Mao had died in 1976 and the power structure immediately rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping so he could direct the evacuation of the collectivist madhouse built by The Great Helmsman, a cruel psychopath willing to sacrifice millions of compatriots to put into practice his most delirious whims.

By the time the Berlin Wall was toppled, the Chinese had spent a decade tunneling silently toward an exit that eventually led them to an incomplete prosperity without freedoms.

Why didn’t the communist dictatorships in Cuba and North Korea fall or transform? Because they were based on centralized military dynasties that did not allow the slightest deviation from the strongman’s voice and will.

The Chief totally controlled the party, the parliament, the judges, the military and the police, and more than 95 percent of the ragged economic fabric, while firmly grasping the reins of the communications media. Anyone who moved did not appear in the photo. Or ended up dead or condemned to silence. The apparatus of power was only a conveyor belt for the wishes of the beloved leader.

That prehistoric stubbornness has had a very high price. Cubans and North Koreans have wasted one quarter of a century. If the two last communist tyrannies had begun their transition to democracy at the proper time, Cuba would now be at the vanguard of Latin America, without rafters, Ladies in White or political prisoners, and North Korea would be among the Asian tigers.

Lamentably, the Castro and Kim families opted to remain in power whatever the cost. Their walls stood unassailable, defying reason and defying the times.

3 Responses to “Why communism collapsed 25 years ago”

  1. Dan Nicgorski 12 November 2014 at 11:00 am Permalink

    Thank you for your editorial in Tuesday’s Miami Herald titled: “Why Communism Collapsed 25 Years Ago”. I always look for you writing in the Herald and envy your intellect and cross cultural awareness.

    Alesandr Yakovlev’s reason for the collapse of communism is sound. It makes sense that a society needs to adapt to the changing times. All societies maintain a core set of beliefs about themselves that periodically need to be examined and either re-embraced or abandoned. The failure of any country or culture to do this self examination can be potentially lethal.

    As to North Korea I would probably attribute the longevity of the regime to their primary sponsors, China. Without China’s financial help I would think the Kim family would have suffered the fate of most other tyrannical family regimes. As to Cuba I think it is primarily the island’s proximity to the United States and our policy of accepting any and all who want to leave that allows the Castros to stay in power.

    I have lived and worked in south Florida since 1978 and have met many strong, brave Cubans who have fled their country. As perilous as the 90 mile journey is to America, it is still only 90 miles. When the Castros feel the heat of there subjects displeasure they just open the gates and allow the troublemakers and discontented to leave and we accommodate them in their efforts to stay in power by opening our borders and pocketbooks. The peoples of Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, etc. could not leave so easily. They had to stay and fight. The strong, brave, discontented Cubans could leave. And the Castros know this. When the pressure builds they can left off steam, like a pressure cooker, by just letting the malcontents go. Imagine for a minute that we never facilitated the exodus of the thousands of people, agents of change, from leaving the island. Do you really think the outcome would have been any different than say the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary or how about South Africa?

    Talk about a tyrannical system of government, South Africa, under apartheid was brutal and unforgiving to any and all blacks who attempted to change the status quo. I can remember seeing pictures of policemen riding around in trucks shooting protesters dead. But yet even they managed to change the system. Why? Because they stayed and fought for their rights.

    Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not some kind of Cuban emigrant basher. I admire most of the expatriate Cubans I have met. They are strong, brave, hardworking people who had a hard choice to make. I don’t envy that choice and most of them did it to better their lives and their families. What I am saying is that if all those brave, strong, hardworking people had to stay and fight to change the system it would have changed. Cuba is condemned by their geography. Until we address that issue we remain complicit in maintaining the Castro’s hold on power.

    Dan Nicgorski

  2. Tienda Scrapbooking 10 December 2014 at 6:33 am Permalink

    Me ha gustado mucho el post. Por favor seguid publicando.

  3. Jorge 10 December 2014 at 7:11 pm Permalink

    Que razón logica tienes hombre. Es evidente la complicidad de los EEUU al limpiarle el patio a esos títeres de ideologías extrsngeras. Es un pastel también gustoso pues reciben más de 5 mil millones de esos cubanos que al amar su patria y familias que quedan esclavas bajo ese yugo les envían y quedan en los bolsillos de esa mafia militar que le ha quitado todo a los cubanos. Y los políticos de acá de nuestro mundo libre y democrático también aprovechan . Después de todo la hipocresía llega al cielo y hay pastel para todos mientras Cuba sufre.

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