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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Cuba The Future? by tucsonmike on 25 January 2006 1:28am
George posted something in the troubles along the border thread about the United States and it's "outdated" Cuba policy. I will put something else up later on this.
Re: Cuba The Future? by sighthound on 25 January 2006 2:18am
I really want to go to Cuba. Have any other Americans here done it?

American policy in re. Cuba is so incredibly knee-jerk stupid. One isn't even allowed to discuss it sensibly. They say the AARP has the most effective lobby in the country but I think it is the Cubans who live in Florida who do. I could not believe the hysteria they drummed up to keep Elian Gonzalez from being reunited with his father after his mother died. Fortunately, common sense and basic human values won out but, if he had just been allowed to return, it would have been the end of the story but the war the Florida Cubans waged to keep him in the US let Castro turn Elian into a well-used media "victim of American imperialism". Just plain stupid.

Anyway, as far as visiting Cuba goes, there are always, of course, the few cultural/educational tours "officially sanctioned" by the US govt. but they are hard to get into, very restricted and take a tremendous amount politicking to get them going. I've heard that it is also possible to leave from Mexico and SA without your passport being stamped. How does one determine if the carriers are reliable? (And I suppose it would have been a lot easier before 9/11; I imagine the US survelience has been stepped up considerably.)

Some good news, last week the US govt. decided that it is ok for US citizens to help preserve Hemmingway's house. At least there are some small victories....
Re: Cuba The Future? by George on 25 January 2006 8:07pm
I haven't been to Cuba, but lots of people go. It's a beautiful country, and the hotels, while not spectular, are comfortable. If you happen to get into trouble there, don't expect help from the American government, though I'm sure the locals take bribes in American money. Unfortunately for travelers, you can't fly directly from America to Havana.

Our policy with Cuba is outdated, but it relects the power of the Cuban exile population in South Florida. I doubt it will change much in the next 20 years, even if or when Castro dies. You see, after WW2 our government allowed the Mafia and the worst elements of American capitalism to turn Havana into a bordello. The tin-horn dictator, Fulgencio Bautista, ran roughshod over the peasant class while allowing the bourgeoisie, the land owners, to reap whatever benefits they could off the backs of the underclass.

Into this human rights nightmare rode Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. After forcing Bautista into exile, Castro made overtures to America to accept and aid his reforms. Meanwhile, Guevara died in another revoltution in Central America. When America stalled, the USSR rushed in with unlimited aid and Cuba became, more or less, a Soviet state. One of the first things Castro did was void all the land titles and put all businesses under government control. Anybody not liking this policy was encouraged to leave. They did and set up in Miami, penniless. Within a couple generations, they are became the wealthiest group in Florida. They believe Cuba is "theirs" and have an old dream of returning to Cuba one day to reclaim their old property.

When the Soviets left, a lot of people assumed Castro would disappear. The fact that he hasn't, proves, like it or not, he does run a popular government and his successor will probably continues the same policies.
Re: Cuba The Future? by tucsonmike on 26 January 2006 1:59am
Back in 1998, I met a Cuban-American woman at a birthday party for a friend. Her name is Yoly. She left Cuba as a 14 year old in 1960. She was allowed to go with a group of Cuban-Americans to Cuba when the Pope went there in 1997.

Time did a story about the visit when it happened, Yoly filled some stuff in.
The amount of negotiating this visit was unbelievable. Both Castro and the Pope wanted the visit before they were too old and sick to go etc.

I am reading a book at the moment called The World Was Going Our Way. It is about a KGB archivist, who left Russia in 1991 and settled in England. One chapter in the book is about Cuba. Castro, of course, despises Gorbachev, blaming him for the collapse of the Soviet economy and thus the "support" for Cuba. Also, Castro saw it as "why should I liberalize, look what happened?" Cuba has had a rough time since.
The U.S. embargo is outdated and it may even help to keep Castro in power. Others have already said it here. Florida Cubans are a major part of the Republican Party. I asked Yoly if she would go back. She thought I was out of my mind. Her kids were New York born and bred. They saw themselves as Americans. She got to see the house she grew up in. Six families were living in it.
Many farmers had to go back to using animals to pull plows. No money for gasoline for tractors. The Cubans are expert mechanics who fix up vintage 1950's American cars. A University of Havana professor has his real job at the University and his hard currency job driving a cab.
What happens when Castro dies? One problem is something the Pope, God rest him may have unwittingly created.
Many of the people who still follow religion in Cuba follow Santeria (Voodoo). The Pope refused to meet with their representatives. Some even think Santeria may be the "predominate" religion (of course the country is officially atheist). On top of that there is now a racial clevage. Most who left were well to do and white. Most who stayed poorer and black.
Many Cuban-Americans only know the United States. Would they go back to fight for a place they don't know? How many Cuban Americans will pull another Bay of Pigs and land? Time will tell.
Re: Cuba The Future? by sighthound on 26 January 2006 11:19pm
One thing that the US media rarely reports is that, despite the awful repressiveness and the sorry state of the Cuban economy, everyone is guaranteed a place to live, subsistence food, medical care and free education (up to the doctorate level if they are talented and persistent enough.) Amenities are few but the basics are provided for.

I would never opt to live under a system such as Cuba's but, being one of the 45 million in the US with no health insurance, I wish that our government would be more committed to making sure that all its citizens have food, shelter, good education and health care rather than being intent on this insane commitment to establishing a new version of the Roman Empire (while taking away our civil liberties which will make us much more like Cuba in all its unsavory aspects.)
Re: Cuba The Future? by Ahren on 30 January 2006 10:44pm
Plus the Cuban hurricane warning system is MUCH more organised than you Americans'!

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