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Communism has taken a hit in recent years. At one time or another, 31 countries were self-declared communist states, including such sleepers as Ethiopia, Benin, Congo, and Grenada. (France and California are omitted for technical reasons.)

Dust to dust. In fact, it’s getting hard to find the famous hammer and sickle anywhere on the planet. Red China’s house organ, People’s Daily, has zero commie symbols on its home page. You have to click through to “News of the Communist Party of China” section to see that familiar red banner rising behind a yellow hammer and sickle. But, hey, since we’re here, let me pass on some rock ’em sock ’em news. How about this for a lead sentence: “‘A brilliant Opening Ceremony is very important for the success of the Beijing Olympic Games,’ said Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, on Saturday.” (You didn’t read that sentence all the way to the end, did you? That’s why communism never found a place in the United States: The Reds couldn’t conceal their hatred of the English language.)

Nowadays, prototypical one-party commie states have been reduced to five: China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba.

I don’t count China and Vietnam as purebred commie states because they’re getting rich and worship money as much as we do. Laos is a client state of Vietnam and belongs in the “prisoner” category of nations. So, that leaves Cuba and North Korea, numbers 156 and 157, respectively, of 157 listed nations found on the Heritage Foundation’s “Index of Economic Freedom.” The two are dead last, bottom of the fish tank, and that’s genuine old-time commie street cred, pilgrim.

So, what do they think about the Olympics? Follows are two breaking stories from the Korean Central News Agency:

KIM JONG IL ENJOYS PERFORMANCE GIVEN BY ART SQUAD OF KPA UNIT 757
Pyongyang, August 2 (KCNA) — General Secretary Kim Jong Il enjoyed a performance given by the art squad of KPA Unit 757.
The performers put on the stage colorful numbers of various genres including agitating story “General Inspects Drill Ground,” female trio “Soldiers Sing of Our Supreme Commander,” drama agitation “Sharp Eyes,” male quartet “Whole Country Knows,” male vocal solo “The Country I Am Defending” and choral recitation of poem “Let’s Sharpen Our Bayonets to Annihilate Enemy.”
He highly appreciated their successful performance, expressing great satisfaction over the fact that the art squad members of the unit not only created excellent works vividly reflecting the inexhaustible mental power of the servicepersons of the KPA but staged a truthful and militant performance.

DPRK PLAYERS’ GROUP LEAVES FOR BEIJING
Pyongyang, August 2 (KCNA) — A DPRK players’ group led by Pak Hak Son, chairman of the Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, left here today to participate in the 29th Olympic Games to be held in Beijing.
It was seen off at the airport by Kim Jung Rin, secretary of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kwak Pom Gi, vice-premier of the Cabinet, and athletes.
The excitement never ends in Pyongyang. The population is near hysteria due to Olympic madness. As the old hymn says, “Let’s sharpen our bayonets to annihilate enemy.”

Cuba, on the other hand, is a player. Count up the last four Summer Olympics, and Cuba has won 43 gold medals, 32 silver, and 37 bronze. They were fifth in total medals in ’92 (169 nations competed), eighth in ’96 (197 nations competed), ninth in 2000 (199 nations), eleventh in 2004 (201 nations). Cuba is a power in international sports, especially baseball. And they take it seriously.

Now comes tragedy entering stage right. On July 13, the U.S. National (baseball) Team defeated Cuba (4 to 1) in the championship game of an Olympic warm-up tournament in the Netherlands. This is the same Cuban team that won an Olympic gold medal in 2004, a silver medal in the 2006 World Baseball classic, and will compete in Beijing.

Which brings us to the cubadebate.org website and:

REFLECTIONS BY COMRADE FIDEL: THE OLYMPIC BASEBALL TEAM
They forget that our team is now in South Korea, a country where we do not even have an embassy. There, our athletes continue to train. Anyway, they are not the ones who deserve the strongest criticisms. They will be taking part in the Olympic Games that will be held on the other side of the world, where sleeping hours and life pace are different. They have an intense program of physical training with a view to the last presentation of this sport at the Olympics, as determined by the rich and powerful masters of such games. They have not been defeated. Let’s not discourage them. Let’s send them a message of encouragement.
Why don’t we wait until the conclusion of the Olympiads to engage in a full and truly democratic discussion on the responsibility of everyone involved in Cuban sports?

Everyone can hardly wait.

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