Fergus Hodgson profiles our good friend Dr. Jose Azel and his new book, which explains why America is great and Cuba, under the totalitarian rule of the communist Castro dictatorship, is not.
Why America Is Great and Cuba Is Not
When Cubans flee their homeland, they say adiós to an island of lies. One such exile, with meticulous attention to academic rigor, has devoted his life to raising awareness regarding the plight of his fellow countrymen under the totalitarian communist regime.
Not only has José Azel informed the general public through his columns, books, interviews, and speeches, he has changed the course of my life. After taking his class at the University of Miami in 2013 — in which I read his academic overview, Mañana in Cuba (2010) — I traveled to Cuba and met many dissidents, including the Ladies in White and Nelson Chartrand of the Cuban Anarcho-Capitalist Club. Azel’s influence on my understanding of Cuba and foreign policy continued with his columns that I published with the PanAm Post.
The grave problem he and other exiles face when calling for a more outspoken and confrontational approach to the regime is rife illiteracy, and that includes the academy of the United States and Canada. Outside Miami and the Cuban-American community, few people are aware of the tragedy that Cuba has been since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Even worse, the late Castro, succeeded by his younger brother Raúl, managed to cultivate an international Robin Hood image with progressives and socialists. He played the victim and scapegoated the United States for the crushing poverty suffered by those stuck on the island. The average monthly wage, for example, is around $20, and even medical physicians typically make $50 per month.
Azel has sought to strike the root — the battle of ideas — informed by his many decades in the United States. He came with Operation Pedro Pan in 1961 and received his high-school and university education in Miami, through to his PhD in international affairs, and he developed an affection for classical liberalism in the tradition of John Locke and the Founders.
This contrast of visions, between the individualism of the United States and the collectivism of contemporary Cuba, is the most striking theme of his columns and short policy papers. Going back about a decade, these are now available in book form as Reflections on Freedom (378 pages), which came out in May of this year.
Continue reading HERE.