Cuba part 2………….
The Soviet connection resulted in the primacy of the Cuban Communist Party with Castro at its head.
A few years after the revolution with subsidies from Russia Cuba became the best educated society in the Caribbean and South America, with an enviable health system, low-level of unemployment and a reasonable standard of living.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost its subsidies and trade with its major partners brought the economy to a shambles and turning a highly mechanized agrarian society into an ox and horse drawn plows.
Cuba is at a point where the current political system run by the Junta with it members being in their 70’s with fear of change and the extreme radical right-wingers in the US and other part of the world that could trigger a civil war.
The current system is certainly not working currently with an embargo by the US that is immoral, hypocritical and counterproductive.
It’s immoral in so far as it is designated to punish the Cuban people for the perceived sins of the Castro regime.
It’s hypocritical when the US has actively supported many regimes with worse records than Cuba such as the Pinochet in Chile, the military in Guatemala, Salvador and the present government of China.
Counterproductive as it provides the government of Cuba with the excuse for the state of their economy and to cover for the inefficiencies of this regime blaming the embargo and US hostility.
Today Cuba has a double economy with a two currency system, CUP (Cuban Pesos) and CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) with the re-emergence of the have and have not. Due to the shortage of housing up to four generations live under one roof.
Cuba’s gastronomy is the worst in the Caribbean with very limited supply of meat, vegetables and greens. Standard meals are fried pork; fried chicken with rice mixed with red or black beans and fried plantains.
Traditional Cuban music is mainly played for tourists but the young are listening to Reggaeton, a combination of hip-hop and reggae that deals with youth frustration with the current problems.
The coast and extensive cays are not spoilt due to the lack of tourism and the law that forbids Cubans nationals to be on boats unless you are a fisherman employed by the Government.
Old Havana is full of beautiful buildings that slowly are being restored to its former glory after decades of neglect.
After 2 months in Cuba I am ready to leave, although I have barely touched the surface. My addiction to democracy, freedom of speech and access to uncensored communications is pulling me to new grounds.
From Cuba I take memories of friendly and happy people that have endured hard living conditions prior to the Revolution and lately over the past 30 years.
I have learned about the making and smoking cigars, discovered new music, made good friends, drunken lots of Piña Coladas, Mojitos or just plain rum and ate lots of lobster and shrimps.