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fencesitter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:13 PM
Original message
So, tell me about Cuba.
When I was growing up, I was taught Cuba was this communist ally of the Soviet Union where all people were denied everything America holds sacred and was part of the socialist plot of world domination. The place has always been a mystery to me, I only know of boat people, cigars, sugar and the Bay of Pigs. Cuba has been ignored in American history or geography lessons. I think I learned most of what I know from the movie "Havana" with Redford(?).
Now, with my twisted leftist brain, I think revolutions are borne when an oppressed and exploited majority rise up and overthrow the corrupt and usually over-priviledged party in power. I mean, it takes a big force to overthrow an established government, its' military, money and influence. So, obviously, the government is not serving the people.
The refugees in Miami, are they the exploiters chased from Cuba or poor souls escaping a repressive regime? What makes the Gonzales kids hop on rafts and paddle to Key West? What do the citizens of Cuba want? I'm sure American corporations would love another country of poor workers to exploit for low wages, it's a lot closer than Indonesia. But, from what I have been able to gather, Cubans on the whole are not doing too bad. Literacy is 97%, education is free, health care is guaranteed. You can't buy a new SUV in every town, but is that what they want? I never really thought about it till now, but I don't know diddly about this country.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm also looking forward to knowledgeable answers. nt
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Lautremont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:33 PM
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2. I've been there, and though I'm sure there are people oppressed
or jailed for what most would rightly consider outrageous non-reasons, or just generally unhappy with the state of things, I didn't meet any of them. (Maybe because they were in jail? duh.) It seemed a very laid-back place. When Fidel gave speeches, the family I was living with kept the TV dutifully on, but didn't seem to be paying attention at all. It was like Grandpa was talking off in the corner.

They had a revolution for a reason back in 1959, which is what people seem to forget. The screaming anti-Castro crowd who hate "The Beard" for all sorts of personal reasons might stop to think about old Fulgencio, who was himself no barrel of laughs.

Another disturbing thing was the lack of toilet seats in Cuba.
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snowbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:38 PM
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3. Castro gets top treatment as Cubans struggle to find basic medicine
=snip= from todays Herald in Florida:

"There are three tiers of hospitals in Cuba. One is for the average Cuban, which is lousy, has very poor facilities, poor medication and so forth," said Suchlicki, who said he is in regular contact with doctors on the island. "The second one is the one for tourists and medical tourism, where there is very good equipment. The third is for high government officials and they are also very good."
Posted on Thu, Aug. 03, 2006
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snowbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
4. Today's Palm Beach Post...
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 10:52 PM by larissa
Jorge gave his parents a computer, and the Cuban government allows them to send e-mail, although they cannot access the Internet, he said. The couple is the exception in Cuba, where most people do not have computers

"My father cannot say even one word about Castro's health," she said. "It's against the law. You know, the government listens to the phones."

The Cuban government severely restricts people's Web access. Only 150,000 people in Cuba, or 1.3 percent, use the Internet, according to Compare that with the United States, where 203 million people or 68.7 percent of the population, are Internet users.

Kinda makes you wonder where Bush got the idea to start listening in on phone calls..

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CK_John Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:42 PM
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5. I worry what Cuban "will be". Go there as soon as you can, before
the Paris Hilton and the Donald types descend to take away everything they have. I feel they may not be ready for world, sort of like children at a county fair. I hope they get at least get some cotton candy. I hope they realize the worth of all those '57 Chevy's, before they end up on eBay.

It will only take 2 or 3 years for the sharpies to pick the place clean and throw it back into chaos and abject poverty. I hope their introduction is gradual and that a core of honest people will be developed to see that the average Cuban get a piece of the pie.

I hope Fidel hangs on until we retake the House and Senate so that we can be a positive influence, than letting the BFEE loose on this beautiful place.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 04:53 AM
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6. If you want to know how it really is there
then why not go and find out ? It's been a favorite holiday spot for UK tourists for years. Never been myself but know loads who have, including my son ,and also musicians you record over there. Without exeception they all wax lyrical about the place - far safer than Mexico for example.

Wouldn't believe too much that's printed in the FL newspapers using input from the terrorists based there.

Hopefully Fidel will live on a for some years to allow a smooth transition, free of interference from the USA, to whoever takes over.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 05:35 AM
Response to Original message
7. See this ref. UK support
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:00 AM
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8. There is a long dkos diary of a person living in Cuba
which will give you a good idea of what the real everyday life is like in Cuba:

I'm writing this to provide a little more context to enlightened folks like yourselves about the current situation in Cuba. I do not have any privileged information, just observations as I live in Havana. My husband is a foreign service officer from a country that shall remain anonymous in this diary, but I am American. Though I paraphrase statements my husband has made here, any opinions expressed here are my own. To be honest, I have been reluctant to write about my experiences here, not so much because of possible monitoring by the Cuban government as by our own government. UPDATED AT BOTTOM

. . .

So, while celebrations continue in Miami, don't think for a second that there's some kind of excitement here. I don't get the sense that there is an undercurrent of unrest bubbling to the surface. Cubans have known for many years that Raul would be put in power in Fidel's place. The question is only how long he will remain there. As long as Fidel is alive, Raul is safe.

It is so difficult to explain in a short space what life under Castro is like here. I'm tempted to say something like, "It's not like those other dictatorships!" which of course is of little solace to anyone who believes in democracy. The political repression is very real, from the neighborhood watch groups that report on any potential anti-revolutionary activity to the long prison sentences for political dissidents, to the sudden disappearance of political figures who fall out of favor or are charged with corruption.

Cultural life, however, is very rich and full of possibilities for expression. Through government organs, there is a strong push for women's equality in all aspects of life (even though the government is dominated by men), as well as racial equality (though a subtle racism exists here too). Linked to the concern for health care, sexuality is openly discussed in newspapers and on TV. The successes here in education and health care should not be undermined because they truly create a sense of well being despite a lack of material goods and, occasionally, undernourishment. In fact, my biggest beef with this regime is food distribution. It doesn't seem to take enough precedence and doesn't proceed in any logical manner, even for us wealthy, dollar-wielding foreign types.

Despite the evident hardships, most people seem content, at least in Havana. I say this in an attempt to understand why people would choose to live under a politically repressive regime. There is a strong sense of family and community sharing. They work really hard, but have plenty of time for recreation, as I can tell from the baseball games constantly taking place in the field in front of my house; from the people power-walking and jogging along the Quinta Avenida; and from the kids who make the short trek from their houses to the ocean, dressed in their bathing suits.

much more at link. . .
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fencesitter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. That's great!
thakns for the link. This morning on NPR there was a history of American Poilcy on Cuba. That enlightened me also.
10 Presidents, One Dictator: U.S.-Cuba Policy
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
10. More news for you from today
Calls by US President George W Bush for Cubans to work for democratic change have been dismissed as "the epitome of delirium" by Cuban state-run TV.

Guess the ""the epitome of delirium" applies to * as well. :)
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