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.
Bella Thomas spent some time in Cuba in April, and reports on the visit in Prospect Magazine.
Thomas feels that the US embargo has been a major factor in keeping Castro in power. A quote:
Most also know that liberalisation is vitally needed, but they are cautious about speaking openly, partly because they have too much else to think about (such as how to get food), partly because living under a dictatorship generates extraordinary levels of patience, and partly because questioning the regime can lose you your job or even land you in prison. Also, whatever the iniquities of the current system, there is still a certain sort of fear about what may be in store once the regime passes and, in some cases, there is even an affection for a tyrannical parent figure.
There are plenty of visitors to Cuba from rich countries (including a disproportionate number from Britain) who believe they have encountered a true alternative to capitalist democracy. Why? Perhaps it is a way of keeping alive the idea of some ideal society, without having to experience the disadvantages oneself. It may also be a facet of a general dislike of the US, or a way of expressing unease with capitalist excesses. But it is also, in all probability, related to a nostalgia for the political certainties and the handsome design of the 1950s and before: the cars, the bars and the glamour. It is not for nothing that Cuba sells itself with the music of the pre-revolutionary period. If North Korea had charm and salsa and innuendo and beaches, perhaps a lot of politically naive people would be advocating its merits too.
I know several people who emigrated from Cuba. Their explanation is simple naivete - people from rich countries beguiled by some academic utopian vision who never have experienced anything remotely like totalitarianism or deprivation firsthand. My friends don't even really get mad at them. They just shake their heads.
Lots of Canucks go to Cuba for a cheap winter holiday.
I heard a report on CBC that Sevard signed a labor contract with Castro to provide workers for his El Senador resort. The contract called for the workers to be paid $500 a month of which they got to keep ten bucks plus tips, which is pretty good money in Cuba I guess. The rest went to Castro. Personally, I do not want to be waited on by people who make $10 a month. I do not care how nice the beach is.