Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Predictable Consequences of Centralized Power in Cuba

As power becomes more centralised in the hands of imperfect human beings comprising a ruling class, it will most certainly be abused to the detriment of the masses. This is true of communist countries like Cuba or countries embracing communist or centrally planned policies. According to former bodyguard to Fidel Castro, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez; Mr Castro secretly enjoyed an opulent lifestyle even whilst cubans suffered poverty and austerity. 

From the Miami Herald:
Fidel Castro once claimed that he lived a life of exemplary revolutionary frugality on a salary of merely $36 per month.

“Lies,” said Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, 65, who served as a bodyguard for the former Cuban leader for 17 years and has published a book of memoirs portraying Castro as a sort of feudal lord who ran the island like it was a personal fiefdom.

Castro controlled about 20 luxury homes, a Caribbean island getaway with a pool and dolphins, the 88-foot yacht Aquarama II, and several fishing vessels whose catch was sold for dollars deposited in his accounts, according to Sanchez...

Only special friends were allowed on the island, according to Sanchez. Welcomed in were the late Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, CNN owner Ted Turner and Erich Honecker, head of then communist-run East Germany.

“He always claims he lives frugally. Lies. He lives in a luxury that most Cubans can’t even imagine,” Sanchez told el Nuevo Herald in his first interview after writing his book, The Secret Life of Fidel Castro, published Wednesday in France...

His 325-page book says Castro, now 87, controlled several numbered bank accounts abroad as well as the finances of several state enterprises — including a small gold mine in the Isle of Youth — that reported to him as president of the ruling Council of State. When Castro received a Cohiba cigar box full of Angolan diamonds, he told an aide to sell the gems on the international market “and you know what to do,” Sanchez said...
Members of the ruling class who may claim a divine right to rule are no more noble or ignoble than the rest of the population and would be subject to the same fleshly desires for material possessions, power, control, job security and luxury. For these reasons it is always ill advised to centralize expansive authority in the hands of any political class.

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