Cuba’s New Freedoms by Circles Robinson from Havana
Posted: 16 April 2008 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The arrival of some previously unavailable electronic items on Cuba’s store shelves, together with the new access to cell phones and tourist hotels is hot news these days in the foreign press. In a constant barrage of news articles most reporters sadly bemoan the fact that Cubans lack the money to take advantage of their new “freedoms.”

Cubans make around US $20 a month, but consider free health care for all a right. Most can’t afford DVD players or PCs but with free education at all levels their sons or daughters can become doctors, scientists or engineers if they have the vocation.

“Cubans can now book a room in 5-star tourist hotels but who can afford it?” chorus the foreign press in articles with titles such as: “Some Cubans can’t afford new reforms” and “Changes in Cuba spark frustration and hope.”

One article focuses on a man named Ernesto who “makes just over $12 dollars a month” but owns a car and his home. He laments that he would have to save up a year’s salary to stay a night in a fancy hotel or purchase a cell phone and line.

Cuba is recognized internationally for having exemplary social programs for a developing country but across the board low salaries keep most people’s purchases to the basics.

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