If the current government in Cuba were to be replaced, it would most likely be replaced by one friendly towards the United States and headed by Miami exile groups. This would cause tremendous changes for the Cuban people.
Members of these anti-Castro groups who have the most political power in the United States (and would therefore be the most likely to take power) are often wealthy Batista-sympathizers. Under the influence of such groups, Cuba would likely revert to conditions as in pre-Revolutionary days, without any of the social gains of the Revolution.
The Revolution brought all Cubans health care, education, and a job. Before, the small sums of money that U.S. companies paid to the Cuban Government usually wound up in the pockets of corrupt officials.
A return of the wealthy elite to Cuba would certainly mean better relations with the United States. There are some benefits to this.
First, huge numbers of tourists would come to Cuba. Before the Revolution, Americans made up 85% of all tourists to Cuba. Also, American investment may help the Cuban economy to grow. These new sources of money could provide great help to Cuba.
However, they would come with negative effects as well. The Cuban people would surely have their health care, food rations, and probably education taken away from them. Certainly the availability of a free college education for everyone would end.
While the new money may help those in big cities, it would be of little use to those in rural areas. Those in the country would not receive dollars from tourists and do not have the potential to develop their communities with foreign captial.
The new source of income for Cuba could also be problematic. Even as Cuba's modest tourist industry grows, there are increasing signs of prostitution, materialism, self-interest, crime, and other social problems.
There is also the question of what would happen to the money the Cuban economy was now generating. Before the Revolution, it ended up in the hands of a corrupt government, U.S. companies, and a small Cuban elite.
Certainly tourism would increase the amount of money earned by the Havana taxi driver or ice cream vendor. But this change would also cause increased expenses. Housing, food, transportation and basic services would become far more expensive. Cubans would have to pay for health care and at least advanced education.
As a result, an increase in dollars in Cuba does not necessarily mean an increased standard of living. Many would not have more money, and even those who did would see their expenses skyrocket. The view that economic revenue and development will benefit all are essentially endorsing trickle-down economics, which has failed in the U.S.
Political change would also occur. Some would say that Cuba would become more democratic and more free. However, corruption in Cuba's socialist government in minimal, and is essentially zero when compared with the corruption of U.S.-supported governments in Cuba. This shows that our idea of democracy is far from perfect.
Also, for example, the odds that the CANF would approve of maintaining historic sites like the Museum of the Revolution are low. Fidel Castro may not allow the propaganda of his enemies; likewise, they probably also would not allow his. However, a new government would be obliged to allow some democracy after the U.S. has made such a point of it.
As for foreign control, the United States would reemerge as the dominant force in Cuba it once was. The proximity of Cuba and the U.S. make them natural trading partners. American companies would return to Cuba, investing and profiting heavily from the country.
American factories and sugar plants would probably also be built. Certainly those in other Third World countries who work in U.S. factories do not enjoy the same social benefits as Cubans do.
To look at the overall effects of change, it is necessary to look at the effect on the mass population. About three quarters of Cuba's eleven million residents live in rural areas, making it the largest group of Cubans. Those in the rural areas will probably see their standard of living decline.
This urban population falls into the category of those who would probably benefit, in the amount of money received, from tourism. The question is, will there be enough money from the new system to pay for all the social progress achieved so far; more importantly, if so, would it be put to use for social progress, or rather to benefit the upper classes?