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Posted February 22, 2005 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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By TRACEY EATON | The Dallas Morning News
Just 90 miles from American shores yet impossibly out of reach is a cash-starved nation awash in billions of dollars in real estate.

The largely untapped Cuban market, with exquisite mansions, majestic colonial homes and virgin beaches, is a potential gold mine for U.S.

developers and builders. And it could be a powerful economic engine in the rebuilding of Cuba in the post-Castro era.

But for Americans to get a piece of the action, Cuba and the United States would have to untangle one of the nastiest property disputes in modern history.

Fidel Castro’s government nationalized most private property after the 1959 revolution. Cubans lost land, homes and businesses. Foreigners – and especially Americans – suffered, too, in the largest uncompensated taking of U.S.-owned properties ever.

“Any future government in Cuba is going to have to recognize private property and do something about the property that was confiscated,” said Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. “This issue can’t be left hanging.”

Cuban officials say they’re willing to negotiate but won’t be bullied, especially by a U.S. government that’s trying to topple the socialist regime.

Politics aside, no one doubts that Cuba’s real estate market holds promise.

One prime spot is the Malecon, a waterfront highway lined by a row of colonial buildings, a patchwork of faded paint pale greens, pinks, purples and yellows.

“Every time I drive along the Malecon with American businessmen, they say, ‘Boy, would I like to invest in that,’ ” said Ismael Sene, a former Cuban government official who often meets with visiting Americans. “If there’s a common theme that comes up when I’m with business people, it’s real estate.”

American investors show more interest in real estate than any other sector of the Cuban economy, said Kirby Jones, president of Alamar & Associates, a Washington, D.C., firm that promotes trade between the two countries.

“Investors are struck by both the opportunities and the needs. They talk about apartment houses, resorts, condos, restoration projects. If the embargo were lifted, you’d see substantial investment in real estate,” said Mr. Jones, who has led dozens of fact-finding trips to the island.

But cracking the market won’t be easy, experts say.

Developers and builders should be prepared to run a gantlet of challenges, said Joseph Scarpaci, a Virginia Tech urban affairs and planning professor who has visited the island more than 30 times.

For starters, he said, the water and sewer systems need a major overhaul. More than half the water flowing into Havana leaks from water mains, pumping stations and line connectors before it reaches its final destination.

Plugging the holes won’t be cheap. Russian consultants in the late 1980s said it would take $15 billion to upgrade water and sewage services in Havana, Mr. Scarpaci said.

“Today, it’s probably closer to $50 billion,” he said.

And he doesn’t think Cuba will be able to find the money.

“I see no possible way that the current political economy of socialist Cuba with so many competing demands like just keeping the lights on will ever be able to address the needs of residential and commercial properties without a massive infusion of foreign aid,” Mr. Scarpaci said.

It’s not just the infrastructure that needs work. Vast numbers of buildings are crumbling. Several hundred collapse at least partially every year, the United Nations says.

Walls tumble down, roofs crumple, stairways cave in, owing to gravity and neglect.

“Cubans worry and complain, and some die in collapsed buildings, but the government does not listen,” James Cason, the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, told a Miami crowd in November.

Castro loyalists resent the accusations and say U.S. economic sanctions prevent them from making many needed repairs. Housing has been a priority since the revolution’s beginning, they say, and workers have built hundreds of thousands of low-rent apartments.

Still, government funds for redevelopment are limited.

“Social needs take priority over business needs,” said a Havana official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “So if you’re a foreign developer and you want to renovate a hotel, you’ll probably have to improve the surrounding neighborhood, too.”

At least two delegations of American business people visit Havana every month to explore the possibilities in the real estate market, he said.

For now, most foreign investment is limited to hotels and other properties in Cuba’s $2-billion-per-year tourism industry.

In 1994, the Havana condominium market appeared to open a crack when a state-run company began selling new condos to foreigners.

By 1998, buyers had snapped up 300 properties. But in 1999, the government abruptly halted sales and bought out the foreigners’ interests in the condos. Now only rentals and leases are allowed.

Changing rules won’t be the only challenge in the future. Another will be figuring out what properties are worth.

“How do you assess a market value in a non-market economy?” Mr. Scarpaci asked. “This is a real quagmire.”

Of course, before Americans start scouting locations for the first McDonald’s along the Malecon, the two nations are going to have to learn to get along.

No one quite agrees on how that will happen. But for some, property is the key.

“It is the issue holding back the lifting of the embargo,” said Mara de Lourdes Duke, a Cuban-American who founded the Friendship Foundation, a New York-based group that opposes the decades-long economic blockade against Cuba.

Bush administration officials say it’s more complicated than that.

They say they won’t restore trade and diplomatic ties while Mr. Castro and his brother, Raul, are in power. It’s not just a policy statement; it’s written into the law.

They also insist that the next Cuban government must move toward democracy and free markets.

A May 2004 Bush administration report lays out some of the details:

It calls for a U.S.-Cuba Free Trade Agreement in the future. It urges a free Cuba to safeguard investors’ money and protect property rights. And it asks Cuba to settle property claims quickly, “bearing in mind that a long, complicated process is not in Cuba’s best economic interest.”

Cuban officials say it’s offensive that the Americans are planning for their future. They say the United States shouldn’t meddle in their affairs. And they say that if any nation should be compensated for past wrongs, it’s Cuba, which they say has suffered more than $60 billion in trade-ban-related damage.

Given the hostility between the two governments, about all that could be done now is to negotiate the framework of a property settlement, said Matas Travieso-Diaz, a Cuban-American lawyer and expert on the issue. But neither side is interested. And so, “claims negotiation at this point in time is an economic and political nonstarter,” he said.

Once the Castro brothers are no longer on the scene, however, the United States and Cuba should work hard to settle the property issue “or it could be a bottleneck during the reconstruction of Cuba,” said Mr. Suchlicki, the University of Miami expert.

“American companies and Cuban companies are going to be filing lawsuits. The courts here and in Cuba are going to be clogged with litigation. It’s going to be a mess. Lawyers are going to make a fortune.”

Fast facts
In 1959, Cuban rebels began taking control of private property in Cuba. American citizens and companies lost $1.8 billion in property, which, with interest alone, would be worth more than $6 billion today Cuban exiles lost much more, upwards of $100 billion in properties, by some estimates.

More than 5,000 U.S. citizens and 898 companies have pending claims with the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Whether they’ll get compensation is unclear.

Eighty-five percent of the 5,911 certified claims were filed by individuals. The rest were filed by companies. The corporate claims represent most of the value $1.6 billion of the initial $1.8 billion in nationalized properties.

Sources: Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, The Dallas Morning News


Cuban Electric Company , $267.6 million (1960 dollars)

International Telephone & Telegraph , $130.7 million

North America Sugar Industries, Cuban-American Mercantile Corp., West India Company , $109 million

Moa Bay Mining Company , $88.3 million

United Fruit Sugar Company , $85.1 million

West Indies Sugar Company , $84.9 million

American Sugar Company , $85.1 million

Standard Oil Company , $71.6 million

Other notable claimants:

Texaco, Inc. , $50.1 million

Coca-Cola Company , $27.5 million

Lone Star Cement Company , $24.9 million

  1. Follow up post #1 added on February 22, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    God help Cuba if its falls on the hands of US Corporate Capitalism. It will destroy its culture, natural resources and beauty, and will bring back the rich selfish elites with their favoritism, discrimination and priviledges to controll most of the wealth and resources. There would be good private schools for the rich, and shabby public schools for the others. Good private hospitals for the priviledged and shabby hospitals for the others. Wonderful opulent clubs for the elite and no clubs for the others. Farmers would be working like slaves on the land of and for the landlords who would lend them money at 20% interest. Gambling, casinos, street gangs, grafitti, school shootings, drugs, high rents, taxes, taxes and more taxes, ect., ect., ect.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 22, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    police brutality, babysitters, parking meters, pornogrphy, street guns ...

  3. Follow up post #3 added on February 22, 2005 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Shortly after the revolution CUBA settle repartition
      claims with all other countries except the usa.  The
      usa REFUSED any kind of repartition.  England, France,
      Spain all these countries settle.  To bad israel doesn’t
      settle up with the ARABS.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on February 22, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Right on Bernie. Could there be a similarity in the foreign treatment of those that do not obey USA and/or Israel? Is there any real difference between the leaders and foreign policies of these two governments?

  5. Follow up post #5 added on February 23, 2005 by objectividad with 2 total posts


  6. Follow up post #6 added on February 18, 2006 by Bill Overton

    I am a US citizen looking for a job in Cuba recruiting and or working as a lead or foreman in the oil and gas industry.  I can get workers to fill all the slots and would love the opportunity working in Cuba. Can anyone tell me where I can get a job in Cuba?

                                                                      .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  7. Follow up post #7 added on July 11, 2006 by MJPD

    Waldo, Your a dope.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on February 28, 2007 by KAA

    Right on MJPD.
    Waldo,  Marxism/Socialism has been a looser everywhere it has been implemented. Capitalism/Free market economies (while not perfect) are the best hope for all impoverished peoples, Cubans included. History proves this repeatedly. 

    Would love to see you make those comments to a Cuban in little Havanah.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on February 02, 2008 by E.

    I wonder how it would have looked without US embargo?  That would be a fair look at history.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on February 23, 2008 by kiris

    I am wondering:  Wouldn’t there be another alternative to selling Cuban land to foreigners?  I hope someone is looking into the model that Mexico used previously along its coastline, and Hawaii still uses—Land can only be owned by natives—especially prime waterfront land.  It can be leased long term if that benefits the economy, but the permanent land rights are not give up.  Once a country gives up ownership of its land, it becomes irreplaceable.  It also, as mentioned earlier, divides the haves (which in this case would be foreigners) from the have nots (Cubans) forever.

    Simply look at all other Caribbean nations.  It would be a tragedy to see this happen to Cuba.

  11. Follow up post #11 added on February 23, 2008 by Mario

    Land is a unique commodity, it can be sold and resold by numerous owners, never leave it’s location and rarely is it used up. Once sold it can provide tax revenue from the owners, and sales tax revenue from resale’s. If a sovereign entity keeps ownership of all of it’s land, it is like owning all of the gold in a land and never spending it. One of the beauties of allowing land ownership by private citizens for a sovereignty is the ability to collect tax revenue while still maintaining the ultimate control over the commodity. Cuba’s infrastructure needs 50 billion in repairs, without selling something tangible, the government will only be able to initiate repairs through sales of oil leases to China or some other country. It would be foolish for the Cuban government to ignore the potential cash cow of private land ownership. It could save their system of government and their people.

  12. Follow up post #12 added on February 24, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    still think Cuba will be very cautious about selling land to Americans en masse.  The element of trust just isn’t there.  History will be in the way and Cuba just has to look at what has happened elsewhere in the Caribbean and Central America.

  13. Follow up post #13 added on March 07, 2008 by Lucas

    Cubans should absolutely not do business with the U.S.. A lot of U.S firms practise greedy, raw and destructive capitalism. I would hate to see Large Corporate US firms take control over Cuba.
    I think that it would be better for Cuba to do business with Europe. I believe that Europe will take care of their culture and help the Cuban economy rise. Of course there will be interest for the Europeans as well, but they will not destroy the culture. Cuba will loose it`s charm and grace if the US gets it`s hands on it..

    One of the major reasons I would invest in Cuba right now is because the country dose not have that large amount of the modern U.S influence. And that is exactly what makes it so cool!

  14. Follow up post #14 added on March 07, 2008 by Mako

    Lucas, what the hell are you smoking ?? You are delusional !

  15. Follow up post #15 added on May 27, 2008 by Water

    Lucas, you could not be more correct….but do not forget about other countries that embrace cultural like Canada.  Mako….you must be a US citizen….and are obviously suffering from being locked in the USA closet.  I am a Canadian, that travels to Cuba many times year.  I live with Cuban’s when I stay, and have stayed on many parts of the island. 

    If you have not really experienced the family values, culture and the pride found in the Cuban people….than you can not understand what Cuba will loose if the US is allowed to invent there.

  16. Follow up post #16 added on May 28, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    if Germany could settle its world war 2 claims with its neighbours, surely teh US and Cuba can work things out if they both really tried.
    I too am somwhat worried about what american influence/control would change in Cuba - hopefully the Cubans will work things out with the USA in a way that will preserve that which makes Cuba unique.

  17. Follow up post #17 added on May 28, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    I’m with Water. I can’t imagine Cuba being developed by American corporations. I don’t think it’s going to happen but that’s just my opinion. And, part of the real estate along the Malecón is already being renovated/redeveloped by the Cuban government. It’s going slowly but it’s going. I would have liked to see it all kept in its original style but one of the establishments is a bar/restaurant with all the glass and sleek design that could be anywhere in the developed world. It sticks out like a sore thumb. (Again, IMHO.)  As we were discussing on another thread, Cuba has the possibility/potential of being a great little country without any “help” from the US. I agree with Lucas, too.

  18. Follow up post #18 added on July 18, 2008 by kdduck

    Give them the freedom just like the US. Rob steal and murder all in the name of capitalism.
    If Cuba opens up to the cruise lines they will make millions.
    I hope they never sell the land to any US company.

  19. Follow up post #19 added on July 20, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Like it or not,Cuba will be developed.  With the Cuban government.. it will be developed by a host of individuals and multi- national corporations. Some of those plans are already on the drawing board and have been published . (Water, those Canadian winters must have caused a brain freeze or you are unread about Cuba. Have you really been to Cuba ???  Based upon what you write, it does not sound like you really have)
    The government has already talked about,and started planning these initiatives. Everything from basic infrastucture, massive restoration and golf and tennis resorts are being planned. It will be slow and well planned; but it is all inevitable

  20. Follow up post #20 added on July 20, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Did I miss something? Wasn’t Water talking about American corporations?

  21. Follow up post #21 added on July 20, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    This is from the Pope during his Australian visit:

    “In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair,” the pontiff said. He urged followers to throw off indifference and embrace a new age free from “shallowness, apathy and self-absorption,” which he said “deadens our souls and poisons our relationships.”

    Sounds a little familiar? grin

  22. Follow up post #22 added on July 20, 2008 by Water

    What you said has some truth to it, but I believe that you have missed the intention of my statement.

    I am unsure of your second paragraphs reference to “The government”.  Are you referring to the US government or the Cuban government.  Either way, your statement enlightens us to your lack of insight into global views. 

    I travel to Cuba every 3 months to visit family in Cuba, and believe that my opinions are based on actual experience.  I do not stay in resorts or hotels, I live with Cubans. 

    I will give you a detailed response when I figure out exactly what you are referring too.

  23. Follow up post #23 added on July 20, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Arteest, indeed you did miss something. You missed a lot .Corporations no longer are limited by borders. Multi national corporations can be made up of individuals and companies in all countries with subsidaries being,owned, bought and sold on many international stock markets. Perhaps you have heard the words “global economy’? There is more intermingling of corporate investment and development across national borders then any time in the history of the planet,.
    Water,  your your comments about my “lack of insight on global views” only enshrines your ability to write with out any credibility. I have lived in Euorpe, China, Japan, USA, Panama,Mexico and Africa . I have visited Cuba for extended perioids of time since the “Special Period”. I don’t know what a cuban resort looks like .
    If the quality of life of the average Cuban does not improve, and do so quickly, there will be another revolution . This will require economic development. The Revolution has lost the hearts, minds and souls of the young people in Cuba. They don’t care about Batista cavorting with Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano; they care about food on the table, REAL health care for their family, and a chance to live a better life. And they are very smart; they know they can’t do it on $15 / month in income and stipends they can get from their relatives in Miami. They are tired of buildings falling down around them in Centro Habana. They are tired of broken water lines .They are tired of some of the most fertile fam land in the world sitting dormant.  They are tired of rolling brown outs. They want development and they want a freer economy. Have you ever read Generation Y ??

  24. Follow up post #24 added on July 21, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Thanks for the lecture, Mako. I was going to say something snide about your arrogance but I’ll just say I’m pretty familiar with the points you bring up. You seem to be a pretty angry guy judging from many of your posts. For that, I’m sorry.

  25. Follow up post #25 added on July 21, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    No reason to be harsh. Let’s not make this personal. Mako is making points for his argument and you are attacking him personally.

    The Havana Journal is for discussion of the issues. Cuba is very personal to most people but I won’t tolerate personal attacks.

    We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast grin

    Cuba consulting services

  26. Follow up post #26 added on July 21, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    from my talking to Cubans, mind you, mostly in the cities, most definitely seem quite unhappy for the various reasons mentioned above (didnt hear much about unhappiness witht the political system though) but they’re quite a ways away from starting another revolution. Not ruling that out in the future if Raol doesnt deliver improvement, but it’d probably be quite a while yet.

  27. Follow up post #27 added on July 21, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Not angry Arteest. I just have little patience with people who make comments w/o researching the facts

  28. Follow up post #28 added on July 21, 2008 by Water

    I am unsure who’s question you are answering.  All that you have wrote is wonderful and you are correct.  You hit the nail on the head when you said, “The Revolution has lost the hearts, minds and souls of the young people in Cuba.”  However, writing three paragraphs in response to a question that I did not ask is weaseling.  I believe that you do not want to answer the question, because you realize the fault with your statement. 

    This discussion is about understanding “Cuba if its falls on the hands of US Corporate Capitalism”.  One of the negative effects of US Corporate Capitalism in Cuba is the American way of thinking.  I do not want to walk in Havana and raise a question in the Cuban people minds, “Is that tourist an American”?  How many American flag patches do you see on the backpacks of American travelers?  The global view of American’s is not a positive one.

    Another important fact is that I see a lot more smiling faces in Cuba than the US or Canada.  Cuban’s shower out of a bucket, carry their own water, eat rice and beans and have bigger smiles than you and me.  US Corporate Capitalism will do more harm than good, living like us will not achieve a greater Cuban happiness.

  29. Follow up post #29 added on July 21, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water , sorry to say ... you just “don’t get it”.  Capitalism is capitalism ! Some how you have conjured up in your own mind that US capitalism is different and more sinister than any other capitalism in the world.
    PLEASE read Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” then perhaps you can start to comment on basic economics and the fundamental philosophy of ALL corporations. Today ,corporations know no borders.
    Regarding the “global view if Americans’. I believe that is YOUR view. More people try to emigrate to the United States than any other country on the planet. Cubans are great people, but if the “workers paradise” is such as a happy place, why is there an 8 year waiting list to get chosen for the visa lottery to emigrate to the United States? Why do thousands risk their lives trying to cross the Florida straits to get to the USA?  (and it has NOTHING to do with the embargo)
    This is why I doubt your knowledge of the Cuban people. Perhaps you have been there a few times on vacation; to work on your tan and enjoy a beatiful island. But clearly you demonstrate no understanding of the plight, or the challenges of every day Cuban life.

  30. Follow up post #30 added on July 21, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    both of you water and mako have valid points in your posts but , in my opinion, both also miss element.
    The old line, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence comes to mind.  Cubans do seek a better life and many feel that it will be in the US, hence the long waiting list and risks taken to get there.
    But many also feel that this type of system as practiced in teh US is not what they want exported to their island bcause it will lose elements that are important to them.

    I again draw from my knowledge and experience of teh collapse of East Germany and the German reunification - many folks too late realized that they lost elements that were important to them.

    Yes Cuba will change adn teh Cuban people want big change - some want it to be quite like the US; some don’t.  Time will tell.

    Just my two centavos worth.  And yes mako most of my knowledge comes from a few visits to teh island, but not to work on my tan.  Agreed through my travels I just got to know a bit of teh plight of teh Cuban people, but I think I also got a bit of exposure to teh Cuban soul.

  31. Follow up post #31 added on July 21, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Forget about Cuba real estate and capitalism. Invest in sea and air transportation services.

    Tens of thousands of people will want to get out of Cuba as soon as possible and tens of thousands will want to get into Cuba as soon as possible grin

    Boats and planes will be full going both ways.

    Cuba consulting services

  32. Follow up post #32 added on July 21, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    will be interesting.  in apr last year when i landed in Varadero was about an hour wait for immigration because a couple large planes landed just before ours (another Canadian and a German).  Then it was almost another hour wait for our bags (gotta give customs time to xray everything).

  33. Follow up post #33 added on July 21, 2008 by Water

    Ok Mako, very valid points; “Capitalism is capitalism”.  But I did not miss the point, integrating Capitalism and the US morals in to Cuban culture will be disastrous.  I am worried about both issues, not just Capitalism.  Thank you for the book reference, I will have to read that.  American’s do not fully understand how others perceive them. 

    The media of the US has great strength.  One of my good friends is a Cuban and works in the Havana University.  One of the first questions he asked of his students is, “What is the percentage of black and white people in the US?”  The most common answer is “50% white and 50% black”.  Why do you think that is?  The media projects the US as a paradise.  Everyone is equal, happy, lives in big houses and happy.  As manfredz said, “grass is always greener on the other side”.

    You seem to be attacking my experience in Cuba.  I think I am in a unique position, in that I have family in Cuba and the US.  I actually never get a tan when I go to Cuba, but I do Tan in the US.  I spend my time in Cuba inside the house, visiting with family and friends.  I hope you can understand why US value integration into Cuba is an issue?

  34. Follow up post #34 added on July 21, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water, I do not “attack” you… your own words indict you. You make these blanket stereotypical statements of anti US bigotry that have no basis in fact. You talk about “US morals”. Well I have known Americans(some are close friends) with great morals and I have known some that are dirt.  I have known great Canadians(also friends), and I have known some that are scum. And I can say this about people of any nation. You insist on painting all people with a wide brush of your own personal bigotry.
    If your friend at Havana university does not understand the racial make up of the USA, I submit to you , that is not some ploy on the part of the US media but rather censorship on the part of the Cuban media. The US media HARDLY projects the US as “paradise, where everyone is equal and living in big houses and happy” The US is going through some terrrible economic times, and they are on the precipice of electing Barack Obama President of the United States, and at the present time African Americans make up less than 15% of their population . I have been bringing medical supplies to Cuba since the “Special Period” so I know the pain and misery Cubans live through. I know the cubans are a great and proud people. But the last thing they need is people espousing serendipty about their society ,when they could use a more open and freer political and economic system to meet their goals and dreams. Cubans are amongst the most resourcesful people on the planet and they don’t want to be looked down upon as a third world country that has frozen them in time in 1959 because of the “revolution” . They want to move forward and demonstrate their creativity initiative and intelligence that an antiquated system has refused to just give them the opportunity. Adam Smith had it wrong, and so did Karl Marx, and Mao Tse Tung

  35. Follow up post #35 added on July 22, 2008 by Water

    Your method of debating is like playing chess with a twelve year old knows he is loosing and wants two switch to checkers before the inevitable.  You are responding to a statement that I did not make again, just to make a valid point about something.  I thought it was painfully obvious that the US racial split between Caucasian and African American was not 50/50.  It is 12% as he tells his students after receiving their answers. It seems that you are so interested in stating facts, that you do not have time to reflect on them and have a real conversation.

    It seems that we are playing Scrable now; I had to pull my dictionary out a few times for your last post…….jajajajaja.

    You wrote some great facts about the US and Cuban relations and then follow with “They want to move forward and demonstrate their creativity initiative and intelligence that an antiquated system has refused to just give them the opportunity.”.  Your tactics on making a point are humerous.  This statement you made is true for all foreign investment.  This does not give merit specifically to US investment or integration of the two cultures.

    You refer to my blanket statements; of course they are general statements….this is a forum.  I am not here to give you all the details.  You say something, then you get a response.  It is pretty simple.  I am unsure what your opinion is of the global view of the US, because you have not stated it.  You have only attacked mine.  I also have friends in the US that are great people.  But this does not change the global opinion of the US, good or bad.

    So as you have said the father of economics, Mao Tse-Tung and Karl Marx were wrong and I agree.  These historic figures shaped society in many positive ways.  Mao’s actions caused massive damage to the Chinese people, but many positive things emerged in society at a great cost.  I believe that this parallels the actions of the US; if they were to integrate into Cuban society.  I do not believe that Mao’s actions were worth the outcome.  If you are going to continue to “weasel”, we will have to refer to it as a Makoism.

  36. Follow up post #36 added on July 22, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Mao and Marx, the “father of economics” ? Ok ...What do we call writing in a state of perpetual confusion and obtuseness ? Waterism ?
    Water if you think Mao and Marx are the “fathers of economics” then do you believe Mugabe is the father of civil liberites ??
    If reason, logic and knowledge of history,economics and current events in your eyes is a “weasel” I wear that label like a badge of honor.

  37. Follow up post #37 added on July 22, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    To everyone above,

    Facts are hard to come by in this great Cuba debate.

    Most of us only have personal experiences or information that we have read in the past that we can refer to.

    So, let’s not call each other out for facts.

    Facts are hard to come by.

    Cuba consulting services

  38. Follow up post #38 added on July 22, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    A good point publisher.
    SOME facts are very hard to find, but I think you will agree, SOME…. are irrefutable

  39. Follow up post #39 added on July 22, 2008 by Water

    Mako, you have to argue with everyone; even yourself. 

    As you said “Mao and Marx, the “father of economics” ? Ok ...What do we call writing in a state of perpetual confusion and obtuseness ? Waterism ?”

    And you said in an earlier post: “Adam Smith had it wrong, and so did Karl Marx, and Mao Tse Tung”  If you are going to reference historic figures, you should probably understand who they are.  Adam Smith is the “father of economics” and you should know that, it is your reference.  So why don’t we chalk this one up to be a Makoism! 

    In an even earlier post when Arteest pointed out your lecturing tactics and arrogance:  “Not angry Arteest. I just have little patience with people who make comments w/o researching the facts”  Understand that it is you that has not “researched the facts”.

    So, as “Publisher” said lets our “personal experiences or information that we have read in the past that we can refer to”.  They do not have to be facts that are referenced in one of your books or journals.  Please let everyone share their experiences without your reticule.

    We need more posts from manfredz, arteest, kdduck and others who have made this discussion great!

  40. Follow up post #40 added on July 23, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    actually i’ve benefitted from many post from folks who are much more knowledgeable on Cuba than I am (four visits, the earliest only 18 months ago) still make me a novice on a subject as complicated as Cuba is.  Maybe thats why the emotions sometimes fly - its a very complex subject full of emotion.  It encompasses history, economics, politics family and more.
    And yes, keep the discussion going and try to leave the emotion at the door - that way everybody will benefit even more

  41. Follow up post #41 added on July 24, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water, you are hopeless and obtuse, I won’t debate with some one any longer who is mostly uninformed and unwilling to learn . It is a waste of my time.
    I welcome a debate with some one who is knowledgeable, inciteful and educated.
    Go read some books,do some BASIC research, get an education, and then write some posts when you know what you are talking about .
    But please ,stop embarassing yourself.

  42. Follow up post #42 added on July 24, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    i guess in some ways reading water’s and mako’s posts attacking each other is also an education on Cuba…..

  43. Follow up post #43 added on July 24, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Manfredz, if you read the string of posts, the attacks started with Water with his various blanket uniformed and totally incorrect comments; and then attacking(makoism) when history was told to him (not opinion, irrefutable facts on history and economics)
    He has a propensity to make comments that are simply not true and then try to justify them by repeating them and repeating them, and attacking.
    He does not understand the concept that just saying things repeatedly does not make them true.  But , you are right about education on Cuba… or any subject. It is a waste of time to try to have a discussion with some one who is so entrenched and closed minded.
    I have given up on him.  His philosophy is ....“Don’t confuse me with the facts…my mind is made up”.
    Time to move on

  44. Follow up post #44 added on July 24, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    Sometimes when i find two parties attacking each other over positions, I get curious and do my own research, and thats how I meant my lines above.  Cuba is a very deep subject (I guess most countries are too) and i find when i visit it and see the historical buildings etc, its kind of 2 dimensional.  Opposing views when researched kind of give it a 3 dimensional view.  I guess in a way I’m lucky I dont have a historical attachment to Cuba so I can view things objectively (I can’t do that with East Germany for example)

  45. Follow up post #45 added on July 24, 2008 by Water

    Mako, if you do not realize your errors even when I explicitly point them out, it is ok.  I am unsure who you think you are fooling?  Maybe it is easy for you to forget, so I will forget too.  This is only a discussion about our experiences of the Cuban culture and how it relates to USA integration into Cuba.  No books necessary. No problem. 

    I am a consultant employed by two of the big three North American automotive companies.  Tonight, I had the pleasure of going out to diner with 3 Americans, a German and a Canadian and I posed the question “What do you think the global view of the US is?  If is funny, because everyone came to the same general consensus, “not good”.  I also asked “What do you think would happen if the US and Cuba lifted the blockade?”  One of the American’s answered “Party Time!” and this was also the general consensus.  Yes drinks were involved!  But when the question was asked “What would be different this time if the blockade was lifted from the original state, before Casto’s revolution?”  I received mixed opinions, and would like to pose this question to the members of this forum.  I will post the responses of the 3 Americans, the German and the Canadian in a future post.

  46. Follow up post #46 added on July 25, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water you still don’t get it.  And I am giving up trying to explain. 
    Multi- National Corporate economics to you. This is my final shot.
    If you think Microsoft is a US corporation and Toyota is a Japanese corporation   you totally do not understand that where these companies were born , is virtually meaningless in todays global economy. Borders are practically arbitrary lines in the sand to these corporations; whether they originated in Canada , US, or Japan.
    I can’t make it any simpler for you . At this point ,I think my dog would understand the concept, but I am not sure you ever will .  But I wish you the best

  47. Follow up post #47 added on July 25, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Just stop. I wrote to Rob that I’m probably done posting. It just isn’t fun anymore knowing that I could be setting myself up for these kinds of “attacks”/“abuse,” for lack of better words.

  48. Follow up post #48 added on July 25, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    But I guess it is OK for Water to agree with and spew anti American venom?
    I am done too !

  49. Follow up post #49 added on July 25, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    hey guys, dont take it so seriously - its only a discussion forum…..

  50. Follow up post #50 added on July 25, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    But it’s my Cuban home away from Cuba! I couldn’t stand it when my parents used to fight either. grin  Thanks for the reality check.

  51. Follow up post #51 added on July 25, 2008 by Water

    Ok Mako, I understand that Microsoft and Toyota are multinational corporations.  I have worked for both of these companies as a consultant, and even if I had not even a “dog would understand the concept”.  Please understand that is not the point I was making.  If Microsoft owns a consulting firm in Peru and send consultant to Cuba, then Microsoft an American owned company receives the profit…..simple to understand.  I think you are missing the point of Americans visiting, vacationing, and inflecting the culture directly that I have an issue with.  If American’s want to invest in Cuba through a third party, fine….but at least they can buffer the American values before they greatly influence Cuba.

    I have a special treat for everyone in this weekend; I will have a Cuban at my house this weekend.  She has lived in Canada for one year, and worked for the Cuban government while she lived in Cuba.  I will show her the forum and ask her to comment.  If you have any questions for her, please post them.

  52. Follow up post #52 added on July 25, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water, you still insist on “painting every one with the same brush.” You talk about “American values”. I was born in the U.S and lived a good part of my life there. I have friends that are from the US. I know many people from the US. Some are good , some are not. Americans who live in Kansas have different values than those who live in San Francisco; and possiblly different than their next door neighbor. To talk about “American values” in the condescending way you do is as demeaning as some one talking about “Canadian values” or “Jewish values” or “Muslim values” Are all Muslims terrorists because a group of fanatics decided it was a good idea to fly planes into buildings and kill 3000 innocent people ? Of course not. The Muslims I know are very good people . What group is going to be stereotyped next ?
    Water I am certain you are a very smart individual, but to cast aspersions on an entire group of people because of your own prejudices, is something most people find offensive.
    In my fervor I went over the top by placing you and my dog Pablo in the same category and that was wrong!! I should have never written that.  I truly regret it .  It was unacceptable, innappropriate and just plain wrong; and I want to apologize for that. I hope Pablo accepts my apology
    JUST KIDDING WATER !!!  : - )

  53. Follow up post #53 added on July 26, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Mako, since you’ve apparently lived part of your life in the States and part of your life elsewhere, surely you have experienced that different cultures have different ways of thinking and doing things. We, here in Canada, think differently than do Americans. I used to be an American so I’m pretty certain in my judgement. Americans are pretty unique in the world in the way they think of themselves and the rest of the world, as well as what is important in their lives, etc. If I understand Water correctly, this is the point he is trying to make. American values can be very different from those of people in other parts of the world and American values/business practices, etc. are not appealing in other parts of the world, to put it mildly. When I was raised in the States, I was raised to believe that everybody else in the world should think, and DID think like we did but in a sort of inferior way.  From the time I grew up I was taught to believe the US to be the best place in the world, better than anywhere else in the world. “Bigger, better, faster, more,” to swipe an album title from 4 Non Blondes,  is the ethic I grew up with. Well, citizens of other countries don’t necessarily feel that way. People in different cultures think differently—they’re minds work differently and, as such, they tend to have different values than do Americans. Sometimes I think Americans don’t get this at all. I find that even in this forum Americans seem to use their own timetable as a way to gauge the rate of change in Cuba. It doesn’t work, IMHO. There I go posting again. grin

  54. Follow up post #54 added on July 26, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    By the way, there is a very nice (and a little more civilised) discussion about capitalism and Cuba in an HJ article from Decemeber—“Fidel Castro will not be elected President of Cuba on January 20 - prediction.” Right around 31 Dec and 1 Jan, GregoryfromHavana and a few others engage in some insightful, informed and thought provoking dialogue.

  55. Follow up post #55 added on July 26, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    And, Water, you’re very sweet to include your friend in our discussions here. I’d be interested to hear her take on this topic here.

  56. Follow up post #56 added on July 26, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Sorry ... I just thought of an example to give you. On the heels of 911, GWB exhorted Americans to go out and shop. Consumerism is a value that is as American as apple pie and is in stark contrast to the reality of many other countries.

  57. Follow up post #57 added on July 26, 2008 by MJPD

    I made a comment on this article 2-3 years ago and I’m amazed it’s still going on. My wife is Cuban living with me here in Miami and she has fully aclimated into American culture. Although she will never leave her Cuban roots she fully understands the stark contrast between living in the USA and living in Cuba. In a word Cuba is a 1100 mile long ” Prison” The people are not free. They can only choose what the Cuban Government allows them which is very little. The Only thing the Government there survives on is the 20% ” take ” off remittances and the triple mark-up on the goods imported to sell to back to the people trying to get by on the remaining 80% of those remittances. The Cuban people are being held hostage by the regime -not- the US Embargo.One day it will all collapse and the only chance Cuba has to survive is to embrace a new future adopting Capitalism. This time around it will be free enterprise controlled by the people not by the Government.

  58. Follow up post #58 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    There is a story at Miami Herald.com about an IMF paper about the possible results of American tourism in Cuba entitled “US-Cuba Tourism Could Shake Up Region.” A very small excerpt:

    “According to the IMF study, ‘an opening of Cuba to U.S. tourism would represent a seismic shift in the Caribbean’s tourism industry,’’ and would `increase overall arrivals to the Caribbean.’‘’

    This is because there would be a massive surge in U.S. tourism to Cuba, which would overwhelm Cuba’s hotel room capacity and drive Canadian and European tourism currently vacationing in Cuba to be redirected to neighboring countries.”

    I think this goes to part of the point Water was trying to make about American values. This may sound unkind and probably won’t endear me to American readers but one of the reasons Canadians and Europeans like to go to Cuba is because there are no Americans.

  59. Follow up post #59 added on July 27, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    in my opinion this is only partially true.  True many Cuba tourists enjoy the lack of American tourists, but for many others its more the lack of things Americans love so dear and will “insist”  Cuba has - McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, just to name a few.

    I find this statement kind of arrogant: This is because there would be a massive surge in U.S. tourism to Cuba, which would overwhelm Cuba’s hotel room capacity and drive Canadian and European tourism currently vacationing in Cuba to be redirected to neighboring countries
    So if I read this correctly, because Americans want to come to Cuba, and overwhelm its hotel capacity, we have to go elsewhere. Or am I misinterpreting the statement.

  60. Follow up post #60 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    I don’t know if it’s a case of having to or wanting to go somewhere else. I took the quote from the Miami Herald article. And, I agree with your point about American “things.” Here is another reference to the IMF paper from today’s Jamaica Observer:

    “Romeu’s model posits that a lifting of the embargo will sharply increase the number of tourists visiting Cuba to 3.5 million, with a huge increase in richer American tourists (up to three million from the current roughly 50,000 a year), ‘outbidding” other countries’ tourists, some of whom will no longer go to Cuba.
    Conversely, the model projects that Cayman, Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands and most importantly Jamaica currently have “way too many Americans’, and are therefore highly vulnerable to this potential change.

    Whilst Cuba’s current hotel inventory of 50,000 rooms is insufficient to meet this projected demand, which as Mr. Romeu says ‘if there are no hotel rooms that buys you time’, nevertheless neighbouring countries should get prepared for what is to come.”

  61. Follow up post #61 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    The Miami Herald article:

    The Jamaican article

  62. Follow up post #62 added on July 27, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    It is a shame that a few people insist on placing posts from such a narrow frame of reference,misguided information or based upon there own prejudices and bigotry
    I regret to hear your parents raised you with such shallow and egocentric values; Thank God my parents,community and school raised me with deeper and broader values. When I grew up in the USA, we were raised to be proud of our nation but with out the arrogance your folks tried to instill in you. My school and community was a melting pot of various races,cultures,countries and religion. Tolerance and respect were core values.
    Just an FYI Arteest,“no americans"in Cuba?? Where have you been ??? the Sierra Maestra mountains?? The the number one country of origin of travellers to Cuba is Canada ,The best estimate of the United States?  number three . The reason that this is an estimate is because of the ridiculous embargo that forces most americans to travel illegally to Cuba and exact numbers are sketchy.
    I am also very relieved to find out there is no consumerism in western Europe Japan, China etc etc. It must be those evil Americans driving all those Mercedes and BMWs in Germany .
    WOW did they have me fooled !!

  63. Follow up post #63 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Mako, you know nothing about my parents. And, yes, there are a few Americans in Cuba. I’ve met a few in Cuba and they were a pleasure to be around. I don’t know where you get your US figures—that the US is #3 in tourism to Cuba. As water said it, you don’t get it and I’m not going to get into it with you.

  64. Follow up post #64 added on July 27, 2008 by Water

    This is the response from my Cuban friend to this forum:

    As a Cuban who now lives abroad I can say that I have seen both sides of the story. Like one of you said, the grass is always greener on the other side. Most Cubans dream of many of the things you can obtain here, nobody likes to live in poverty and underdevelopment. They dream of at least having the chance to see the other side and chose which side they want to be in. Still, when the talk becomes serious, they come back to earth. Though they live in an island and their knowledge of the world is limited, they know better. They know what capitalism applied to third world countries translates into neoliberalism, a new way for rich countries to suck up the resources of the poor. That is exactly what would happen in Cuba if we opened up completely. I do agree we need to be more open to private business and investment, no matter where it comes from, because we are economically crippled, and we need development, but this needs to be done with careful control by the Cuban government. By no means should they let go of the most important natural resources. The land should not be sold, there are other ways to profit from it. Nothing would really change if this happens, we would continue to be poor and underdeveloped, just like we were in the 50’s and we would once again become the “beach” of North America.

    I have never been to the States, so I’m not the best person to judge their values. But I’m here in Canada, and although this is a much more fair society, it is nonetheless ruled by capitalistic laws. And I can definitely say that here we are nothing but slaves. We have all kinds of liberties, yet we lack the time to profit from them. We have free health care, yet we have no time to go to the doctor, etc, etc. Here we have no other choice than to work our buts off every day, so that one day after we are 65 years old we can relax and enjoy some of the things that people in Cuba enjoy every single day.

  65. Follow up post #65 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Thank you, Water. Interesting perspective on life here in Canada from a Cuban. I’m glad to hear it. Thank you to your friend. grin

  66. Follow up post #66 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    This is a quote from an excellent Christian Science Monitor (NOT a religious based/biased newsaper) article on Cuban youth yesterday. This quote struck me:

    “This generation is growing up where people express love through material things,” says a young reggaeton musician clad in a designer Lycra shirt and denim baseball cap cocked to the side. “You need to take girls out to expensive places and be well-dressed. You need to have access to a car.”

    Your friend seems to substantiate this. Thanks again.

  67. Follow up post #67 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    URL for above article:


  68. Follow up post #68 added on July 27, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    You are right… I know nothing of your parents .....YOU were the one who said you were “raised” with those values; not me
    The source of that data is from a Cuban government official. It was based upon 2006 stats that were given to me last year when 2007 stats were not yet available.
    BUT, I believe   PERHAPS, you don’t “get it”. YOU were the one who said there are “no Ameicans ” in Cuba.  Perhaps YOU should consider being more careful with YOUR words and revealing YOUR own values and prejudices ?

  69. Follow up post #69 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    OK, Mako, I’ll give you that. I should have said “grown up with” instead of “raised. My mistake.

  70. Follow up post #70 added on July 27, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Water , interesting comments by your friend. She sounds pretty miserable and views her self as a “slave” ??
    Fascinating. The many times I have been to Canada it seemed like a pretty friendly and civil place.
    I know if I felt that way about Canada (or any where else) I would not be there.
    Perhaps just “homesick” and a bit of culture shock ?

  71. Follow up post #71 added on July 27, 2008 by Water

    Mako, you misinterpreted what she was saying.  She was explaining what she lost by working and living in a capitalist society in contrast to Cuba.  Not specifically, Canada.

  72. Follow up post #72 added on July 27, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    OK , that makes a whole lot more sense.
    MY Bad Water !  I stand corrected

  73. Follow up post #73 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Some quick tourism figures:

    2008, from CNN: “Canada, Britain, Spain and Italy rank as top sources of visitors to Caribbean island.”

    2006, HJ April (Cuban gov’t figures): “Despite US hostility, Cuba received over 2 million tourists from 44 nations -mainly from Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Mexico-in 2004 and a similar number of visitors in 2005.”

    2005, CubaXP: Travelers to Varadero mainly come from Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, who account for 72 percent of foreign vacationers visiting the resort.

    2004, MSNBC: “At the moment, Canada supplies most of the visitors, around 500,000, while the rest are from Europe and other Latin American countries.
    Until the Bush administration toughened sanctions on Castro in June, some Americans visited the island, on legitimate educational or cultural exchanges, or surreptitiously on yachts or via flights from Mexico or Canada.
    The result is that Americans are as rare as Bacardi rum in Havana and even Cuban Americans — who were permitted once-a-year visits home — are only permitted to travel every three years.

  74. Follow up post #74 added on July 27, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Good research but American’s don’t declare they’ve been to Cuba and Cuba stamps the visas not the passports. The Cuban government probably doesn’t report accurate figures on American travelers (or any accurate figures for that matter).

    Cuba consulting services

  75. Follow up post #75 added on July 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    My point was to show they don’t rank in the top 3.

  76. Follow up post #76 added on July 27, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Publisher , I don’t think he understands the situation..
    Arteest,the US does not make travel to Cuba easy, so most trips do not show in the stats. But even if only the “legal” trips counted the US would still be near the top(not #3, but not much further behind)
    But here are the facts. Since 1959 well over 1,000,000 people have emigrated from Cuba with the VAST majority settling in the US. Most of those American citizens have had children and even grand children. Up until a few years ago these American citizens were allowed to travel to Cuba once a year.(now it is once every three years but that law is poorly enforced or generally ingnored; so the flow of these Americans has been reduced ,but not by much)
    Additionally, the US government issues thousands of licenses for humanitarian, religious,medical and educational groups.
    The last group , which the estimates widely vary, because as Publisher pointed out they don’t exist in the stats. There are large numbers of Americans who ignore the obstacles put in place by the US government ,and simply go there because the government does not want them to or just choose to vacation there.
    Many travel through the Bahamas,Mexico, Jamaica and a handful of other countries. All I know is there seems to be a large number of Yumas returning from Toronto in February with very intense sun burns. :- )
    The last figure the Cuban government provided for 2006, had the US as number 3 on this list

  77. Follow up post #77 added on October 26, 2008 by no

    us capitalism is different ,because they think they can put there own government in any country they want,and then control the business climate….....i have some news from Cuba…........the us will never own Cuba….other countries are already there!!LOL

  78. Follow up post #78 added on January 15, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    We have recently launched our Cuba real estate site to cover the real estate and rental business in Cuba.

    Cuba consulting services

  79. Follow up post #79 added on April 04, 2009 by Dennis

    I hear alot of uninformed comments about developements in Cuba.  The bottom line is the “great satan” isn’t going to be the main force behind the redevelopement of the island, it’s going to be the Cuban ex-pats in south florida that will poor in all the money.  And yes they have been visiting the island in droves (via Dom. Rep. and Bahamas historically). I suggest maybe consulting a university professor (economics-not one of those brain washed poly sci professors) in that area. Then you will get your facts right.

  80. Follow up post #80 added on April 13, 2009 by Mr. T

    These threads are pretty interesting.  They certainly mirror the dichotomy faced in the USA today - on the left those that believe that everything made in the US is “the great satan”, and on the right those that extoll the benefits (albeit with spelling issues!) of all things Capitalism.  Not hard to see why we are circling the drain.  Just a reminder that we are all supposed to learn from History.  If you have been to Mexico and other states that restrict their land sales to foreigners (which is not difficult to get around, BTW), you can see that the results are consistent with RE Development anywhere—- except that they don’t have the controls that we insist on. Basically you have the worst of both worlds due to the corruption of those governments—which has nothing to do with the US, per se (i.e., any development $ would generate the same result due to government corruption).  There are ways to keep the best of both worlds - some restriction on development is necessary— so funds from purchases go (at least in part) to improve infrastructure and ecology.  However, without development you don’t do either.  How about we do what we can to help Cuba’s move forward with intelligent coastal development, for the good for all?  Isn’t that the basis for what Waldo and his leftist friends say they believe in?

  81. Follow up post #81 added on April 14, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Sorry for my late response to post # 64

    I wonder, if your friend is suffering so much and miss the enjoyment of the free time in Cuba why she came to Canada in the first place and why she stayed to long?

    She said ….” I’m here in Canada, and although this is a much more fair society, it is nonetheless ruled by capitalistic laws. And I can definitely say that here we are nothing but slaves. We have all kinds of liberties, yet we lack the time to profit from them. We have free health care, yet we have no time to go to the doctor, etc, etc. Here we have no other choice than to work our buts off every day, so that one day after we are 65 years old we can relax and enjoy some of the things that people in Cuba enjoy every single day.

    “ruled by capitalistic laws” ? Of course, and that’s what she loved when she came, or not?

    No time to go to the doctor? She should look to the medical clinics around, they are full and people only complain because there are no sufficient doctors.

    “Here we have no other choice than to work our buts off every day”: that can be actually a real problem for her. Many people in Cuba get used to receive a miserable salary for little or no work. Here my friend you have to work hard but them you can enjoy an exceptionally good life style.

    ...” the things that people in Cuba enjoy every single day”....that is really to much.

    I would love her to explain a little more what are the things that people in Cuba enjoy every day, and which you can not enjoy here.

    To talk about retirement in this context is simply absurd and shows either lack of understanding and knowledge of the reality or somebody trying to push the Cuban government agenda, or all together. There is nobody suffering more in Cuba than the seniors, retirements in Cuba are simply a joke, some as low as 10.00 USD (200.00 pesos) per month.

  82. Follow up post #82 added on May 25, 2009 by el baly

    A todos los que opinan hacerca de cuba. Como cubano que soy les digo que vivir en la isla es como de locos. Estudias de gratis y tienes que pagar el tiempo para donde ellos te mandes. Vas al medico y lo primero que te dicen es- Tienes familiar en el extranjero?. No puedes disfrutar de unas vacaciones, pues lo que ganas son menos de 20 dollares al mes, y tienes que trabajar de todas formas. La delincuencia es bien alta, lo que las noticias no te las dan, ellos controlan los medios de comunicacion. La cupula, la que llamo yo, los mandatarios, son los que gosan y tienen el privileguio que ir a los mejores lugares, los extranjeros son los que pueden conocer la isla, no el cubano. Es muy triste pensar en todas estas cosas. Es triste ver a un nino llorar por un caramelo delante de una tienda y el padre no poderselo comprar porque es en dollares, y el dinero es para la comida. Libertad, ni hablar, cuando a un individuo lo atan y no puede expresar lo que siente es como si lo mataran. Cuando un pueblo emigra es porque el governante sobre. Jose Marti lo dijo. A todos los que defienden a Cuba, por que no van y viven como Cubanos, de una cuota el mes, de un trabajo que no ganas nada y siempre anelando salir de la isla, porque aunque no lo creas estas preso dentro de ella. Por que no ven como viven los privilegiados, en que andan y que comen, todo esto por defender una ideologia absurda, que atraves de los anos se a provado que no funciona. Cuantas personas no a matado el regimen y cuantos estan presos solamente por opinar. Esto es solo un poco de lo que pasa. No se dejen enganar por lo que ven, sobre todo a las personas que van de visita, es muy bonito, y les ensenan lo que ellos quieren que veas. La realidad es otra. Que dios allude a mi cubita linda que cada dia la extrano y anelo. Que dios allude a Fidel por todo el dano que a hecho y la destrucion que a causado. Separacion de familias,  assecinatos, etc, ect.. . Esto es todo y si hay comentarios les podria hablar mas.

  83. Follow up post #83 added on May 25, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Excelent post, would be very nice to translate it to spanish so some of our pro-Castro (non-Cuban) friends can read and understand it.

  84. Follow up post #84 added on July 26, 2009 by aldo

    YOU GUYS! that talk so much about capitalism yet live in it are nothing by hypocrites!!! I"M CUBAN! and I can tell you that we hate the Castros and this stupid system that has destroyed our country! “Capitalism would destroy cuban culture” let me explain something and I can say it cuz I’m Cuban! The culture that most go see in Cuba, is whats left of the Cuba before Castro! the only culture created in these 50 years is that of MISERY! and suffering! of course when you are a CANADIAN! or SPANIARD! or whatever! its great to go to this anti capitalist country. wearing your nike shoes and prada sunglasses! while you tour in your air conditioned bus the ruins of what was a great country! oh yeah and your rum and coke! Cuba will be free! and will be for us Cubans to decide how to move forward!!! if you don’t like capitalist go live in a cave in Afghanistan!!!

  85. Follow up post #85 added on July 27, 2009 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    while i straongly disagree with a lot of whats going on in Cuba today, I equally disagree with what you’re saying aldo.
    1   That there is nothing good in the current Cuban system
    2. That tourists are not capable of seeing beneath their rum and coke surface.
    3. That Cuba was the land of milk and honey before Castro came along and upset the applecart.

  86. Follow up post #86 added on July 27, 2009 by aldo

    Cuba had problems before 59! but the fact that we didn’t leave in rafts risking being eaten by sharks before Castro! means it wasn’t as bad as its been under their regime! I remember the brutal force they showed when they showed up at my door I was 7! and just because my mom had signed a letter that asked for free election she was beaten down like an animal! left on the floor unresponsive and we couldn’t even take her to a hospital because no one would take care of her! that’s the revolution! We finally left that inferno, and years later my aunt had to go to a hospital for surgery, there weren’t even clean towels, forget about a single aspirin so the MYTH that the health care in Cuba is great, leave it for people who love to misinform like Michael Moore… Tourist don’t give a flying ****, my country is nothing but an amusement park, ” the communist paradise ” while they don’t experience nothing of the system, and most of this tourist are old men that go to Cuba for sex!!! how can they not LOVE the revolution…

  87. Follow up post #87 added on July 27, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    Thanks for sharing your personal history and insight with us. My thinking is that since the failed Plan A Embargo hasn’t worked for 50 years, it might be time to try a Plan B.

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  88. Follow up post #88 added on July 27, 2009 by aldo

    I agree! but lets be honest, in Cuba you can go to the store and buy Coca Cola, Oreo s, and other capitalist goods as long as you have the money… yet Americans ALL of them, should be allowed to go, that includes Cuban Americans. I wish all Americans could go and see what I’m talking about! so that they don’t have to believe Michael Moore or Barbara Walters

  89. Follow up post #89 added on July 27, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Great answer. Thanks.

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  90. Follow up post #90 added on July 27, 2009 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    I agree too that all Americans should ahve the right to go to Cuba so they can see for themselves Cuba is not as great as some people paint it to be, nor as bad as others portray it either.

  91. Follow up post #91 added on February 26, 2011 by MikeR

    For me I hope and wish that Americans don’t get a foothold in Cuba,just one looks arround in the US,all the metro areas have KFC,MC Donalds,Burger King,Pizza Hut on and on. This would not be good for Cuba or its citizens and more disastrous would be if American Real Estate sharks get their hands in there. If one wants to buy a house in Belize or Costa Rica for examples,those American Realtors have ruined the prices and this is not what cuba needs. Look at the Bahamas,what it has become, or other countries in the caribean sea. America brings nothing but destruction. I’ve seen America in action,lived there for 30 years and today I want even want to see it on vacation.

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