As I pointed out in my post yesterday, there seems to be parallel universes where Cuba is concerned. There is the universe controlled by the regime and preferred by too many politicians, corporations, and the media; this is the Cuban universe where you find the luxurious resorts and hotels, plentiful food, and those quaint natives that are always quick with a smile and will break into dance at the first sound of music. And then there is the other universe for Cuba’s non-elite 11-million plus population that is the complete opposite and where there are no luxurious resorts, food is scarce, and the only way to keep from crying your entire life is to laugh and dance. But a visit to this less than desirable universe does wonders to the perspective that those who are only familiar with the false reality propagated by the monarchical dictatorship know.
A perfect example of such an epiphany is this letter to the Wall Street Journal in response to an editorial on the meaning of the cosmetic changes in Cuba brought about by the munificent prince raul:
Having visited Cuba in 2004 as part of a group bringing medical supplies, I have to agree with José Azel in regards to “leaving the generals and their heirs as the nouveau riche devoid of a democratic culture.”
The basic name of the game in Cuba is who has the dollars — certainly not the people on the street. While I personally never felt threatened or sensed I was being watched, those who were our guides played by the rules and sang the song.
As your article mentions, locals were not allowed in our hotels. Our medical supplies, which I thought would actually be distributed directly to clinics in need, were instead dropped off at a medical supply depot in Havana and doled out to those who had the dollars to pay. One of the clinics we visited, out in the countryside, was in such a state that personally I’d prefer to avoid any medical care. The lab had extremely antiquated and dirty equipment, and the so-called ER was nothing more than a cot and a cart with some everyday medical supplies.
I was told that the major health issues facing many consisted of depression and severe alcoholism — which certainly wasn’t surprising based on what I saw.
An interesting aside was our flight back home, which by the way had to be through Canada. Once the flight was in the air the crew announced a raffle. Each passenger was asked to put a $1 (U.S. or Canadian) plus their boarding pass in a hat passed around by the stewardess. After all was collected, a few names were called and they were the winners of bottles of Cuban rum. The dollars were then shared by all the Cubana Air crew.
I certainly would like to see Cuba become a free country, but I fear that’s not going to happen for a very long time. When you remove an individual’s dreams and take away any hope for the future, you’ve literally performed a social lobotomy.
I would also add that when you ignore the realities of the misery being inflicted on the Cuban people for nearly five decades by the tyrannical castro monarchy, you have literally performed a social lobotomy on yourself.