We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One of my grandpas used to love to visit Cuba for vacation getaways. Cigars, cocktails, lovely women, and great sport fishing. Here's an idea of what Havana was like, before the Commies destroyed it. Prosperous, clean, lively, and free. Now it's a dump.
This footage ought to be enough to persuade even the most loony Lefty, especially since even the Castro brother thugs are walking back Socialism this week...but it won't.
In the 51 years that Castro has been in power, there has been very little construction, so this 1930s film of Havana resembles current Havana in a way that would not be possible for 1930s films about New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
While Renaissance and Decay is over a decade old, it is still a valid comparison between Cuba of today and Cuba before Castro.
In 1954-1957, Cuba ranked 3rd out of 11 Latin American Countries in per capita food consumption, behind only Argentina and Uruguay. In 1996, it ranked 11th out of 11. [page 4]
Since you are so knowledgeable on the subject please inform us how much money the Cuban mafiosos took in, compared to what the Castro mafiosos take in from foreign tourists receipts these says. Please inform us how many foreign tourists went to the casinos et al back in the day, enriching mafiosos, compared to how many foreign tourists enrich the Castro mafiosos these days.
And if you don't think the Castros cannot be compared to mafiosos, just try to operate independently of them in Cuba.
There was a special on PBS a few months ago about the history of Cuban popular and nightclub music and dance. For some strange reason, the documentary stopped in 1959. . . .
What was most shocking, again, was how different Havana was before it was destroyed by the Communists. Having grown up after Castro had taken over, it never really dawned on me before how prosperous Havana had been--it was described in the documentary as the economic and cultural capital of not just Cuba, but of all Latin America.
I can really see why the people who escaped Cuba to America feel so strongly about the damage Castro and his fellow Marxist-Socialists have done.
There is only one good thing that has come out of the fact that Cuba has had no money to speak of since 1960 - they haven't been able to turn the island into something that looks like Key West.
The unfortunate part of American capitalism is that tendency to turn every place that is desirable, like South Florida, into a junk yard of concrete. There has to be a "happy medium" of some sort. I shudder to think what Socialism and Communism do to the quality of life - and what is happening here in the USA, but does capitalism have to build a Walgreens and a CVS on every spare corner?
While Cuba still has the same buildings and cars it did in 1960 - so it hasn't been trashed with tons of McDonalds, etc. - there has been no money to keep what existed beautiful, so it is all falling apart.
I just wish there was some place in the middle of this - Cuba stays beautiful, AND is free and propsperous. Heck, I wish that would happen in South Florida.
I went to Cuba about 12 years ago.
Many of those pictures of Havana were eerily similiar. The skyline is much the same.
There were street corners that literally had piles of rubble where the corners of the buildings had fallen down. There was some urban renewal but it was a street at a time so i cannot tell what the progress was. Very little had been renewed though at that point.
The whole country was a big shakedown. For example on the bus trip from the tourist resort to Havana, the driver was given a ticket for speeding. The ticket was the equivalent of more than a months salary for the driver and he had to pay immediately. The tourists on the bus took up an immediate collection for him. Got the feeling it was a regular occurrence.
The guides all lived off the tips that they received on the sly. We were encouraged previous to the trip to bring soap and shampoo for tipping the staff. They actually did appreciate that. Must be some caustic soap for average Cubans.
It is poverty there. They had food but no belongings. Belongings are clothes, toys, books. Food at a 5 star hotel was horrible. I had the impression cooking was a lost art to them as they have so little to work with.
I would never go back until Cubans are free. They felt like slaves to the system. They worked for the govt. and did the absolute minimum. It was cold emotionally and spiritually. They were drudges, going through the motions.