From Richard Blanco:
“(according to the Cuban exile community) Castro…destroyed the paradise that was Cuba. Yet my high school history teacher portrayed pre-revolutionary Cuba as a destitute country full of corruption, and praised Castro for his social reforms, quoting statistic in support of dramatic improvements in health care, literary, and education; and many intellectuals I met in college glorified post-revolutionary Cuba as a model society. Who was telling the truth? Which was the “real” Cuba? Who got the story “right?”
Blanco remains ambivalent.
In fact most of us probably hear this kinda stuff often from our non-Cuban acquaintances, where it belongs, where it often annoys but seems understandable. But how can somebody with Richard Blanco’s background NOT know the answer? The guy (or guy-ette or whatever…) is an engineer for heaven’s sake. This isn’t a matter of opinions or “feelings.” Just as he learned the hard and fast rules of engineering. The hard and fast facts and figures on pre-Castro Cuba are out there in abundance. And these facts and figures on 1950’s non-totalitarian Cuba were reported to the World Bank, UN, etc. by independent professionals who were overwhelmingly anti-Batista, as explained by economist Julio Alvarado of Cuba’s National Bank.
The figures which Blanco’s High-School and College professors recited were concocted and issued by apparatchiks of a Stalinist regime and published by the regime’s propaganda bureau. Shouldn’t an engineer plumb the difference? And shouldn’t any normal person start by giving more credence to the version given by his (non-estranged) family with their first-hand experience on the issue–over that of the Castro-smitten flakes and goofballs who tried teaching him (and most of us) in high school and College?
Absolutely Un-‘Freakin Real.