In a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the transformation of Cuba from the second wealthiest nation in the Western Hemisphere, to the Castro brothers’ private plantation, famous second-banana revolutionary Raul Castro promised Cubans another fifty years of crappy living conditions, in return for Fidel “I am going to outlive Beelzebub” Castro’s continued ascension in Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest “Kings, Queens & Dictators.”

Forbes included the Cuban despot in their 2005 list, and predicted that in 2006, Castro’s personal wealth would eclipse Queen Elizabeth’s. The Cuban despot threatened to sue the magazine for libel, while an enraged Raul Castro also threatened legal action, blaming “Yankee Imperialism” for blockading his inclusion in the listing of the world’s wealthiest queens.

”The next 50 years … will also be of permanent struggle,” – said “La China” in his 40-minute speech, a break from Fidel’s marathon speeches being the silver lining in the storm clouds predicted for the Island’s future – “resisting has been the pledge and the key of each of our victories during this half-century of tough fighting.”

“Resisting” exactly what is a question most Cubans have been asking themselves, after decades of warnings from the Castro government of an impending “Yankee” invasion that’s never materialized. The most obvious answer being that under the Castro brothers, Cuba has successfully resisted prosperity and the possibility of a decent standard of living for the people of the island nation.

”Life is tough for most of Cuba’s 11.2 million people, who earn an average of 20 dollars per month and lean on a parallel economy.

“The Revolution has given us a lot. I’m communist but I wish there were changes in the economy, that’s where the problem is,” said Pedro, 65, at Thursday’s celebrations.

“The situation is really bad. Salaries are not enough to live off. They’ve made a lot of mistakes,” said 41-year-old Joel Romero, who gave up his job as a health worker to rear pigs.

Castro blamed all of Cuba’s “ills” before his “revolution” on the evils of doing business with the United States, and the ills since, on the fact that the US refuses to do business with Cuba. This contradiction is so glaring that it should not escape even liberals, but it doesn’t. “Pedro” needs to understand that his being a communist, IS the problem with the economy, and that being a communist and wanting positive changes are incompatible stances, as Communism has been amply proven to be an economic and social failure everywhere it has been tried.

Meanwhile “Joel” paints the most accurate picture of the true impact of fifty years of “change” in Cuba…a career move from health care worker to pig rearing being considered a positive move in a country sliding from prosperity and a position in the First World, into feudalism for the last half a century.

Beware change, wherever it rears its ugly head.