This morning I was listening to an NPR segment on a post-Soviet Russia, and how from a business perspective, it is ranked in the lowest quarter for good places to do business. It has a growing oil production business that isn't getting credibility because there is so much corruption within the government and the industry.
It's a shame, but it has everything to do with the terrible conditions found under the communist regime. When the people are oppressed, they find creative ways to do things, I suppose. Bribery and corruption become the real currency.
Anyway, it makes me think of the conversation I was having with my dad earlier this week. He is optimistic about the possibilites in Cuba with a post-Castro government. I am not so optimistic. The people have been used to corruption and bribery and fear for almost 5 decades. Suddenly, they are going to understand a free economy?
I'm betting on seeing the ugly underbelly of capitalism distorted into a different, but equally oppressive gang mentality, instead of the opportunity to work hard and make a good living.
Maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe the effects of a welfare state are profoundly devastating. After looking to Russia and seeing the problems there, it's not a big leap to imagine that Cuba will be the same, as it was a mere puppet and satellite, first of the Communist lies, and then, specifically, of Castro's distorted perception and totalitarianism.
I hope I am wrong, and the Cuban spirit is stronger than the physical destruction imposed upon it.