The late 1980s and
early 1990s were a pretty exciting time provided that you weren’t a
commie pinko or Lenin statue. It all started when the Berlin Wall
fell in November 1989, leading to the reunification of Germany less
than one calendar year later. Other countries behind the Iron
Curtain, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania also
did away with their communist rulers as did Yugoslavia and, of
course, the Soviet Union. But those who assumed that communism was
completely dead forget to tell a small handful of countries that
continue to plough ahead with their hammers and sickles. Which
countries are still communist? How did it happen? And most
importantly, what would Uncle Lenin think of these if he were still
alive today? Of course, do keep in mind that he’d be nearly 150
years old, confirming my suspicious that he’s secretly a vampire.
Without further ado, let’s answer these questions.

China

How long have they
been communist: The world’s second largest economy recently
celebrated its 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s
Republic of China. There were parades. There were tanks. There were
lots of delicious steamed dumplings to go around.

How did it
happen:
In the aftermath of World War II, China that had been
devastated by war with Japan plunged into civil war between Chiang
Kai-shek’s Nationalists – the government in power – and the
Communist revolutionaries led by Mao Zedong. The war ended in 1949,
with the Nationalists fleeing to Taiwan (where they remain today) and
Chairman Mao declaring victory. Economic reforms in the 1990s lead to
a sizable middle class (which is going to happen when you’ve got
1.4 billion citizens) and while there has been an economic slowdown
of late, President Xi Jinping and the rest of the commie crew are
firmly in control and aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable
future.

What would Uncle
Lenin think:
He’d frown upon all of the Starbucks and KFCs that
have laid claim to most of Beijing, but otherwise he’d give Chinese
communism a huge thumbs up and a wink for good measure.

North Korea

The Democratic
Republic of Korea is neither democratic nor a republic. But when
you’re lead by Dear Marshall Kim Jong-Un, an autocrat who has
convinced his people – and Donald Trump – that he’s every bit
as majestic as unicorn, making shit up is the key to political
survival.

How did it
happen:
In the aftermath of World War II (noticing a common
theme, aren’t ya!), Korea was freed from the shackles of Imperial
Japanese rule. The US and Soviet Union jointly administered Korea,
with the Americans expecting that after holding democratic elections,
Korea would be able to rule itself. Stalin, however, had different
plans. He installed a puppet communist government lead by Kim Il-sung
(the current leader guy’s grandpapa) in the north, while the US
saw to it that Syngman Rhee, an American-educated politician who was
hardly a saint himself, was elected president of the south. In any
event, in 1950, Stalin gave Kim Il-sung the green light to invade the
south and take control of the entire country, figuring the US could
care less about Korea. Oh, was he ever wrong. After nearly three
years of war – which included more than 320,000 American soldiers
at its peak – the two rival Koreas called the whole thing off,
created the longest demilitarized border in the world, and almost 70
years later are technically still in a state of war since no treaty
has ever been signed.

What would Uncle
Lenin think:
He would thoughtfully scratch his goatee and
conclude, “Hmm. Weird place.”

Vietnam

In the past few
years, Vietnam has let bygones be bygones and is starting to open up
to the world. Once one of the poorest countries with a per capita
income of less than $100, today it’s grown to around $2,500 which
doesn’t sound like much, but the country is hella cheap.

How did it
happen:
The situation was somewhat similar to what happened in
Korea. Following World War II, Vietnam gained independence from its
snooty French colonial rulers, leaving a power vacuum. The
Communists, led by Hồ Chí
Minh and backed by the USSR and China wanted to rule, while
the Americans absolutely did not want the Communists, backed by the
USSR and China, to rule. Thus began the Vietnam conflict that lasted
for nearly 20 years, ending when those victorious Vietcong bastards
marched into Saigon in 1975. They’ve remained commie ever since.

What would Uncle
Lenin think:
It’s hard to tell, but he certainly would have had
the deepest respect for Hồ
Chí Minh’s beard.

Laos

If you knew that the
obscure Southeast Asian country of Laos was communist before you read
this article, I’m impressed by what a huge dork you are. That’s
not even meant to be an insult either.

How did it
happen:
Just like nearby Vietnam, Laos was a French colony and
then *poof* it wasn’t. The country was ruled by a monarchy that the
communists spent 30 years trying to overthrow, finally succeeding in
1975. Lately, Laos has had a pretty decent record in regards to
freedom of speech, certainly compared to its other communist-led
counterparts.

What would Uncle
Lenin think:
I doubt he could find Laos on a map, no matter how
hard he tried.

Cuba

Cuba’s communism
has outlasted 10 US Presidential administrations and even the Soviet
Union, even though the island is a mere 70 miles off the coast of
Florida. Whether you adhere to Marxist principles or have a portrait
of Ronald Reagan tattooed on your forehead, you certainly can’t
argue that it takes a huge pair of hairy balls to remain as resilient
as Cuba’s communist leaders have.

How did it happen: A couple of months after being sworn in as
Prime Minister of Cuba in 1959, Fidel Castro visited America in hopes
of meeting up with President Eisenhower and perhaps charming the
pants off him and getting some of that sweet US aid for Cuba.
Eisenhower dumped Vice President Nixon on him instead. Not
surprisingly, Casto instantly despised the guy. I suppose you could
say the rest is history.

What would Uncle Lenin think: If a country were judged by the quality of its cigars, we would all hail the Cubans as our overlords.

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