Cuba gets internet!

serveimageOH, SURE, internet has been available in Cuba for a spell for certain hotshots, but now regular Cubans will be eligible to surf the web.

Of course, the cost will be high and the connection speed will be dicey but, hey, that’s better than nothing, right?

I learned about this development from a story on the PanAm Post. Some readers will recall that we went to Cuba in 2012 for our 10th anniversary. I wrote a two-parter here that I later combined on its own website, redhellhole.

Inch by inch, Cuba is coming out of its cave, the grim time that began with the success of the Castroite Revolution that guaranteed a low standard of living for everyone. Well, except for the Castro boys and their cronies. They’re filthy rich.

To this day you run into plenty of clueless individuals who hold Cuban communism in high regard. Few, if any, of them choose to live in Cuba, of course.

Church work

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Scaffolds abut the church as guys do the much-needed renovation.

ABOUT A DECADE back, folks knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to construct a short bridge over a ravine a few blocks down our street.  It would have solved a serious traffic glitch, so we kicked in 200 pesos.

The work on the bridge began, but it never finished, and remains undone to this day. The traffic glitch lives on.

A couple of months ago, folks again knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to renovate the church. They asked for lots more, 2,000 pesos, about $115 U.S.

My wife mentioned what happened to the last money we contributed for neighborhood projects. Oh, no, this time it will happen, the folks declared.

Being community-minded and knowing the 500-year-old church on the plaza was on the point of collapse, we handed over the cash, mentally kissing it vaya con diós.

But religious projects trump street work any day hereabouts, so the church renovation is under way, and I have no doubt it will be completed. I am glad even though I am neither Catholic nor Christian. Architecture matters.

In the almost 15 years we’ve lived in our hardscrabble barrio, and the thousands of times we’ve walked the plaza, I imagine we have not stepped through the church doors more than five or six times. The same cannot be said of our neighbors. The church is the focal point of the community.

The weddings and funerals we witness there are numerous. There is no priest in residence, so masses are sporadic.

One cannot help but wonder why the Pope, who is likely richer than Bill Gates, Raul Castro and Carlos Slim combined, does not finance the renovation of his churches, leaving it sometimes to unbelievers like myself.

While walking the plaza this morning, I also shot the photo below. An old, beat-up VW Beetle and an old Chevy Pop like the one we owned from 2000 to 2014. I wonder how often one sees these old Beetles above the Rio Bravo now.

They’re quite common down here even though Mexico halted production in 2003.

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History survives in many forms.

Havana revisited

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View from the top of Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel.

WEEPY BARRY recently visited Cuba, posing in front of the murderer Ché Guevara, glad-handing with Raúl Castro, and getting dissed by the dictatorship after he’d gone home.

He’s ever the embarrassment.

This foolishness inspired me to flip through our Havana photo album from our anniversary trip in 2012. And I’m going to share a few photos from the visit, some of which some of you have seen already. But some of you have not.

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Felipe poses in front of the tank Fidel manned at the Bay of Pigs.
View over the tail fins of a 1059 Buick Invicta.
View over the tail fins of a 1959 Buick Invicta cruising Havana’s Malecón.
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From our bedroom in the Mansion la Orquidea, a B&B in Vedado.
Felipe in "Old Havana."
Felipe in “Old Havana.”

It was a memorable trip, my second visit to a dictatorship, the first being Baby Doc Duvalier’s Haiti in the 1970s. Baby Doc’s despotism was far preferable to the Castros’.

As ever, a full report of that trip can be found here, and more photos can be found here.

Bill’s Cuban vacation

BILL O’REILLY spent some time in Cuba shortly after Weepy Barry and the Rolling Stones visited the socialist* isle.

Ole Bill makes some digs at Bernie Sanders, implying there is some link between Bernie’s air-headed, socialist campaign and the Castro regime, but there is little comparison, of course. Bernie does not advocate a police state.

He just wants a far more intrusive government, higher taxes, enforced equality, and so on, which is silly enough since it lessens liberty and economic opportunity.

Oh, yeah, and there’s all that “free” stuff!

Your never-humble correspondent and his child bride vacationed in Cuba too, back in 2012 for our tenth anniversary, and you can read about the trip right here.

My report is titled Cuba: A Socialist Hellhole.

O’Reilly complains that his high-priced tourist hotel lacked basic amenities. He should have stayed where we did, the Mansion la Orquidea. Reasonable price, nice amenities.

A welcome hint of Capitalism!

* * * *

* The official line is that Cuba is socialist, not communist, and who am I to argue with the official line? Let them call themselves what Bernie Sanders calls himself.