Will Castro’s Death Lead To Globalization?

December 6, 2016

By Rich Bodee

Fidel Castro, the long-time Cuban dictator and revolutionary, passed away last week at the age of 90.

Castro was instrumental in Cuban politics since the early 1960s. He eventually became the 17th president of Cuba and assumed office in December of 1976. Castro’s administration supported socialism and has been the subject of numerous human rights abuses. For that reason, the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961.

After a 29-year presidential tenure, Fidel passed his presidential duties to his brother Raul in 2006. In July of 2015, the U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations.

With Castro gone, diplomatic relations restored and Raul controlling the government at the age of 85, one has to wonder what the future will bring for Cuba.

I remember sitting in one of my classes last year when one of my professors said, “Someday, Cuba could become the Las Vegas of the Caribbean.”

I thought about this for a long time, mainly because I was thinking of what Las Vegas would be like if it had a beach. But the larger point here is the question of how a globalized Cuba could contribute to the global economy.

Here is an interesting fact you may not know about Cuba, according to a Brookings.edu (a research and data institute based in Washington D.C.) article.

“Less than 5 percent of Cubans have access to the internet. In early February, Netflix announced that they would begin streaming on the island (Brookings).”

Think about that for a minute. Aside from the fact that I find it difficult to go a day without watching a show or two on Netflix, only 5 percent of Cubans have access to the internet.

The internet is arguably the most influential and important technological achievement in modern history. The capabilities we possess using the internet are multifold and the power of having so much information at our fingertips can be overwhelming, but can you imagine a world without it?

The benefits and possibilities that come with globalizing a nation are innumerable. Look at what happened to China before and after globalization.

According to the Chinese Business Review, since “China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China’s GDP has increased at an average of more than 10 percent per year, and has become one of the largest trading nations.”

Some economists speculate that China’s GDP will surpass the U.S. in 2019 while other analysts argue it could take another 15 years. The point is globalization is good for a country’s economy.

The role that the U.S. will play in Cuba’s eventual globalization could rely on the actions of president-elect Donald Trump. Trump released a statement saying, “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty, and denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”

Cuba is setting the groundwork for a globalization effort. It is clear that Cuba has a promising future on the horizon.

boderich@my.dom.edu