Rantings and tirades of a frustrated economist.
I spent a week in Havana last year (I'm Canadian, so we have direct flights). Cuba was one of the most awful places I have ever visited. Everyone is miserable, mostly because there isn't enough work to do, but also because they subsist off of such small wages, as well as living under the constant threat of police interrogation and arbitrary jail sentences--I met one guy who was put in jail for a year because he had associations with Rastafarians and wore dreadlocks. They are very frightened of the police, and for this reason often do not want to even be seen associating with a foreigner.Prostitution is rampant and young girls will literally have sex with you for a meal or even just a can of beer. The family unit is in complete disarray. Most people I met came from broken homes and "mixed" families.They have free education, but what is the point is attaining any education if you cannot utilize it in Cuba and the government will not let you emigrate to use it else where? From what I could gather, only Doctors were able to leave the country, where they often work in places such as Argentina but have to send the majority of their wages back Cuba.All of the infrastructure is crumbling and deteriorating, which is a shame because there are many beautiful old buildings, especially in the old part of the city. I believe that is known as "tragedy of the commons".Cubans are not a trustworthy people and are very conniving. Everywhere you travel you are being hustled and pressured for something.The one feature about the place that makes it so peculiar is the ubiquitousness of the propaganda. Revolutionary slogans and murals of Che and Fidel are all over. What is most odd about this is that the Revolution occurred over 50 years ago, yet the establishment has to continue to convince the people they are still in the midst of it. You see, in order for Fidel (and Raul) to maintain their power the impression that there is still work to be done must constantly be implied. If not, the Cuban citizens may wake up, or things fall back into place...this is no different than the way the mainstream-media/government/academia/complex props up our cultural-marxist "revolution" (as opposed to Cuba's political/economic Marxism). Everyday we read articles, academic publishings, etc, on our "inequality" of gender, class, race, etc. in which they all imply that there is yet work to be done. We constantly feel in the midst of these revolutions yet many occurred over 40 years ago. Oh, and even in a nation where everyone has been flattened down and clamped to the same status in life, those pesky divisions of race still exist, funny eh?...I tried to ask every Cuban I chatted with what they thought of Socialism--as far as my memory serves, not a single one viewed Socialism favourably...GRW
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