Glimpse into Cuba

A Canadian amigo who comments here occasionally and goes by Bob told me of a blog written by a woman in Cuba.

Her name is Yoani Sanchez. She’s in her late 30s. Yoani is very sharp, and she writes of Cuba where, you may recall, my child bride and I spent our 10th anniversary last year.

We did not like Cuba because we do not like dictatorships, and Cuba is a communist tyranny of the worst sort. We went out of curiosity. We won’t return. Havana is dreary.

Red starMany people of the collectivist mindset who live in the Free World speak highly of Castro and the Cuban dictatorship. These people often mean well, but they are uninformed, dreamy eyed utopians. Some have actually been to Cuba and returned with unaltered minds.

They went as tourists, of course, and tourism is the island’s main source of foreign cash now. Cuba also gets help from Venezuela in the form of money and oil. That was Hugo Chavez’s doing, and one wonders how much longer it will continue since he’s dead.

The economically desperate Cuba treats tourists exceptionally well, and does everything possible to cloud reality. If you don’t speak Spanish, all the better. Few Cubans outside the tourist industry can talk to you, and vice versa.

For tourists who prefer seeing nice things instead of the nasty, that is what they see, especially when they vacation at Cuba’s copy of Cancún, the resort called Varadero.

Of if they travel in orchestrated tour groups.

Yoani’s blog is called Generation Y. It is written in Spanish and someone translates it into English. It is revealing, and there are ways you can lend a hand.

Yoani confirms much of what I wrote last year, things that Castro lovers disputed, the extreme difficulty of getting onto the internet, for example.

Communist China gives its citizens easier internet access than does Cuba.

And if anyone wishes to revisit my two-installment Cuba epic, start here. They remain The Unseen Moon’s most-read posts ever.

Look! There’s ole Felipe standing in front of Fidel’s Bay of Pigs tank.

12 thoughts on “Glimpse into Cuba

  1. Thanks for the blog tip. Generation Y is now in my blog roll. Yoani’s posts remind me of why I would like to return to Cuba to work with the Salvation Army.

    By the way, I like your new blog duds. Snazzy format. It is about time for me to update mine.


  2. Wow, Yoani’s blog is quite interesting. And really, how could life in Cuba be any other way? The economy is one of the least productive in the world. Of course people have nothing; they aren’t allowed to produce anything beyond the absolute bare minimum.

    It’s sad that people have to live like that, a mere ninety miles from one of the richest countries on earth.


    Kim G
    Boston, Ma
    Where we wonder how much longer the Cuban people will have to wait for a government that serves their needs.


    1. Kim: What is also sad, pathetic even, is that it is so easy to find people in the Free World who think Castro is just great! All that equality and “free healthcare.”

      But things are changing there. Slowly but certainly.


  3. Cuba has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world. There are several reasons why they are so far behind. No one expected the Castro brothers would still be in charge for over half a century. No one expected the U.S. to still have an economic embargo against Cuba for over half a century either.


    1. Andres: Plenty of guilt to go around, I grant, but most sits atop the head of Fidel. The whole situation stinks to high heaven and has for decades.

      But thinking kindly of what the Castro boys have done to the island is ridiculous.


  4. Thanks very much for the link — really fascinating view of ”life” in a place most know little about.


  5. The tour my husband took a half-dozen, or so, years ago, arranged through a Canadian tourist agency, revealed very much that the service people in the foreign tourist accommodations are ever-so-grateful for USD tips and clothing left behind to be donated and distributed to Cubans. The tour group he was with was warned sternly not to speak Castro’s name at all under any circumstances. Joe broke away on some of the organized events just to go walkabout and visit with people, buy folk art for me and generally get input about how life is lived by regular Cubans. Lots of wasted talent there earning $15 USD a month in their free cement block houses with nuttin’ to do. Agriculture in the countryside is alive and well and those paisanos probably live better than the city folk in Havana.


  6. Carole: Regarding agriculture, one day we hired a pirate cabbie to drive us about 100 miles west of Havana to an area called Valley of Viñales. The tourist mecca of Varadero is exactly in the other direction, east of Havana, and I imagine that drive is quite different. We never went to Varadero. On our drive west I was taken by the visible lack along the “freeway” of large-scale farming. I saw no tractors, no orderly fields, nothing of that sort. Just aimless countryside with the occasional house. The freeway was also noticeably lacking in traffic. There was almost none along the entire 100-mile stretch.

    But, hey, they have their “free” healthcare, which is far less extensive than the myth would have one believe.

    In the Havana airport, we had a couple of officials (women) ask us quietly if we had some shampoo, toothpaste, etc., we could spare.

    Some communist paradise.

    Gets my blood pressure up just thinking of how easy it is to find people who praise Castro in 2013.


  7. What a wonderful writer, she is. And so many interesting stories. The one of her grandma Ana, heartfelt…


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