There is an interesting footnote to the recent heartwarming story about the CIA's efforts in 1958 and 1959 to smuggle Russian language copies of Boris Pasternak's 1958 Nobel Literature Prize novel "Dr. Zhivago" into the Soviet Union. There it was banned and its author shunned in a typical Soviet effort at mind control over the Russian public. The author was prevented from accepting the Nobel Prize and died in 1960.
The footnote says the CIA spent millions trying to smuggle other works into the Soviet Union as well, among them novels by Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell. Mr. Orwell's "Animal Farm" and "1984" are novels that exposed the poisonous roots of totalitarianism.
The U.S. government should be trying to do the same today in Cuba. Despite a great easing of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba, the island nation today remains a totalitarian state on the Soviet model.
The Cuban government does not trust its citizens to read books that might be subversive and broadly censors what is available to the public.
A broader example of the gross inequities of the Cuban system is provided by the two parallel economies in Cuba. The Cuban government elite has ready access to foreign currencies and stores that carry high-end consumer goods.
But ordinary Cubans must make do with the Cuban peso. Its purchasing power is a small fraction of the dollar, it can't be traded for foreign currency, and it can only be spent in poorly stocked government stores.
The existence of two Cuban economies creates the perfect audience for "Animal Farm," where the pigs take over the farm and exploit the other animals, explaining that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Like a ripening compost heap, Cuba should be fertile ground for George Orwell's political fable, as well as his other works.
And ship in "Dr. Zhivago," too.
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