Covering politics lends many journalists to espouse pretty strong opinions. "If only the government would only strike that perfect balance, everyone could live in a Utopia."
My recent visit to Cuba made me realize that this very thinking could quickly turn Utopia upside down.
"Socialismo o muerte!"
This was only one of hundreds of signs and graffiti tags lining the walls and billboards of Havana.
People often describe Cubans as well dressed, passionate and generous - despite living off almost nothing. After spending last week "living" in Cuba, not at a resort but with my friend Maria and her Cuban fiancée Manuel, I would have to agree the consensus is true - but Cubans wish it wasn't.
So many offhanded comments overheard throughout my stay merely scratched the surface of frustration with what Cubans refer to as The System - the communist regime that some worship and others despise.
One such comment from Yasma when asked if he'd like to hit the beach for some tan time hinted at this frustration.
"No, I don't need any more sun - it's the only thing we have and I've had my fill."
Prisoners in their own country, most Cubans have never travelled the length of the island, let alone gone abroad.
Doctors, diplomats and students are sometimes allowed to leave, but upon their arrival to another country, passports are taken away.
On an island of sun, music and a culture, tourists might ask why Cubans would ever want to leave this island paradise.
But imagine a lifetime of working and studying to achieve a great aspiration, say a legal practice, only to earn $40 a month and live in a house with multiple generations, trying to decide whether to have a child because there is literally no more room.
And if the government decided the building was better suited for another purpose, move out day would be the next - no questions asked.
In fact, Manuel was convinced this was how most countries work.
Not surprising, considering that until a few years ago Internet didn't exist in Cuba for anyone outside the government. Everything Cubans learn about their country, the enemy (the U.S) and the outside world is taught in schools monitored by the government.
Being cut off from the World Wide Web limits the knowledge we as Canadians so vehemently demand.
And trapped within the "dream world" of 1959, The System hasn't progressed into modern times. Stringent laws put in place to curb the spread of capitalism are the same now as they were 52 years ago.
The government owns every national business and owns 51 per cent of every foreign business. A Cuban doctor working abroad makes $1,000 - the doctor receives $50 and the rest goes to the government - where no internal, external or audit whatsoever is done to see where the money is being spent.
Cuban socialism does provide food, water and a roof over the head of almost every Cuban citizen, a feat many capitalist countries only dream of.
But at least we can dream.