You will not like Cuba: Media hype sells product that does not exist

Luis Ball in PanAm Post:

You Will Not Like Cuba

Media Hype Sells Product That Does Not Exist

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Behind the intense propaganda, Cuba is nothing more than a country in ruins.

During the early days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, several national media outlets in the United States published articles referring to East Germany as “the most advanced of the Eastern European economies,” vaunting its bright future after communism as the country, we were told, possessed “advanced industries” in optics and a highly productive workforce. Soon afterwards it became clear that the authors of these articles had foolishly believed the lies spread by Communist East Germany’s vaunted propaganda machine.

The reality was starkly different. East German factories were only good to be used as scrap metal for the modern smelters of West German industrial giants such as Krupp or Thyssen. There was zero advanced technology in East Germany; the country’s infrastructure was comparable to that of a poor Third-World nation; the pollution of the cities was terrifying; and most of the countryside had turned into a giant hazardous waste dump.

Twenty five years later, East Germany remains poorer than the western side of the country, which never lived under communism. It will probably take another 25 years before the damage caused by decades of rule by a thuggish, murderous, totalitarian communist clique can be fully reversed.

[…]

Reading Time and Newsweek magazines a few weeks ago, I was surprised to see the East German case magnified by a factor of 10. These reporters would have us believe that Cuba is a paradise waiting to be discovered. Their articles are full of quotes from Cubans who praise their country and speak wonders of the changes to come.

Unfortunately, these same articles forget to mention that Cuba’s version of the Stasi, the feared G2, has not been dismantled and that, unlike Germany in 1989, the Communist Party regime is still in power. Can one truly believe these stories from people quoted by name by US journalists visiting the island?

The truth is that Cuba today is the poorest country in the Americas, poorer than Haiti. Its per-capita income is less than that of Honduras, the small Central American country that has the world’s highest murder rate. Cubans today would be suffering from mass starvation if the country were not receiving upwards of US$7 billion per year from their allies in the Venezuelan government.

Cuba manufactures nothing and produces nothing, except cigars and small quantities of rum. Its once vaunted sugar industry, the world’s largest before the communist takeover, has been completely destroyed, to the extent that Cuba has become a net importer of sugar. There is not even enough sugar produced in Cuba for its own meager, and rationed, domestic consumption.

The happy tourist that arrives in this paradise being promoted by all the main media outlets in the United States will find the world’s highest concentration of prostitutes, as women are forced to sell their bodies to live a better life and obtain precious hard currency. They will find no toy stores, no supermarkets, no hardware stores and, of course, no jewelry stores.

It is not because Cuba was such a backward country before the revolution that none of this exists. On the contrary, Cuba had more modern supermarkets relative to its population than the United States in 1958, as it had great department stores and world famous jewelers. None of this will be evident to the tourist however.

Read the entire article HERE.