Leadership: What's A Commie Dictator To Do?


December 22, 2007: There are only five communist states left (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba), and all are suffering from the same, long-standing, problem. That is, many of their best trained and most talented people want to go somewhere else. These police states tolerate that, to a certain extent. China encouraged its young and talented students to go abroad for training and experience. While a police state, China has chucked the state control of the economy, and let a booming free market develop. This has, as expected, brought a lot of its overseas students back. North Korea is the other extreme, and is one big prison camp. Getting out is difficult, and very dangerous if you don't know who to bribe. In the middle is Cuba, which has loosened up its economy somewhat since Russia cut off its subsidies in the early 1990s. But despite 11 percent GDP growth last year, it's still a police state with the government owning, and running, most of the economy. So an increasing number of young and educated Cubans are getting out. In the last two years, some 77,000 Cubans have entered the United States. Compare that to 1994, when Cuba briefly allowed anyone to leave (some 38,000 Cubans took the opportunity and fled). But those were Cubans of all classes. Now it's the doctors, engineers and college educated in general who are using their talents, and often bribes, to take a "vacation" to Mexico, and then cross the border into the U.S. Because of Cold War era laws, once a Cuban sets foot on U.S. soil, they are allowed to stay and claim political asylum (because they come from a communist police state.)

The North Korean leaders note the Cuban experience, and pat themselves on the back for correctly understanding the situation. If North Korea made it easy for their citizens to travel abroad, hundreds of thousands would promptly flee, with the most talented and best educated in the lead. The Cuban leadership hopes to stem the flow by promising more economic reforms and opportunities for the young. But, so far, those promises are not being kept, and the number of people leaving keeps increasing. At the current rate, Cuba will have lost nearly 300,000 people in the first decade of the 21st century.




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