Lesson 3: Topic 13 of 14
At writing, there are a handful of countries in the world that claim communist governments:
1. China: The Chinese Communist Party has been in power since 1949 and controls the country’s political system. While the government retains control over key industries and implements social programs, it has also implemented market-oriented reforms and attracted foreign investment.
2. Vietnam: The Communist Party of Vietnam has been the ruling party since the country’s reunification in 1975. The government has allowed significant private sector growth in recent years.
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3. Cuba: Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution installed the Communist Party of Cuba as the governing entity. It has been in power since and controls the country’s political system. The government controls most key industries and has devalued currency, greatly increasing poverty and inequality.
4. Laos: The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has been in power since 1975 and completely controls the government, press, and citizens’ daily lives.
5. North Korea: As a secretive and isolationist state, the Workers’ Party of Korea has supported a powerful dictatorship since 1948. Their socialist economic system is characterized by state ownership of the means of production and a planned economy. The Kim family has ruled the country with what is often called a “cult of personality.”
6. Venezuela and Nicaragua have arguably produced governments in line with Communism. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was, in his own words, “a convinced follower of Marxist-Leninist ideology.” His successor Maduro eradicated free markets in 2017. Nicaragua’s Communist party president Daniel Ortega has seized most private assets, consolidated power, and leveled charges of treason against hundreds of political opponents and social activists. In the first few years of the 2020s, for the first time citizens of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba accounted for more individual crossings at the U.S. southern border than those from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
These examples highlight the challenges for communism to deliver on its promises of equality, prosperity, and freedom for all citizens. But for our purposes, on the individual level, a Communist-style government heavily impacts responses to authority, perspectives on freedom, and caution with personal information.
A person who has moved to the United States after living many years subject to such heavy authoritarianism may have difficulty trusting a boss. They could also be unwilling to disclose relevant medical or other personal relevant information to HR. This is totally understandable, and will require patience and willingness to give grace where it is needed.