http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/brutally-honest-assement-of-current-life-in-cuba/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Brutally honest assement of current life in Cuba

Posted January 27, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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By KENNETH A. CHANDLER | New York Post

Much has been written about Haiti being a failed state in the wake of its devastating earthquake. But just to its west lies another human catastrophe in the making—Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

Havana is a city of sorrow—a once elegant and prosperous capital brought to despair by 51 years of deliberate neglect and isolation. A country that has been plundered by a succession of foreign powers, homegrown dictators and mobsters imported from America now languishes in a bizarre time warp where little has changed in more than half a century.

Its people go about their daily routines bereft of consumer goods, nutritious foods, meaningful jobs or adequate housing—most of them born after the revolution that swept Castro to power in 1959 and now, thanks to rigid censorship, largely conditioned to accept their impoverished lot.

Prosperity is the last thing that comes to mind as you watch the Cuban people wearing clothing that went out of style years ago. Even shoes are washed and hung on the laundry line along with shirts and pants.

To listen to Castro’s cronies—those among the political and business elite whose loyalty is secured with perks unavailable to ordinary Cubans—the economic situation is solely the fault of the US embargo imposed after the revolution.

More thoughtful Cubans discreetly offer a different explanation: They blame Fidel’s feckless experiments with communism—his initial seizure of $25 billion worth of private property from Cubans and the nationalization of all businesses, forcing the middle class to flee to Miami; his bizarre decision to send 300,000 Cubans out of a population of only 11 million to fight wars in Africa in the 1980s; his Cold War alliance with the Russians that left his country bankrupt and saddled with antiquated technology when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Everyone in Cuba knows the status quo can’t last. But no one knows how or when it will end. The political structure, like Havana’s crumbling buildings, seems to be held up by force of habit and little else.

Fidel’s failing health has cast him into the shadow of public life. His brother Raul is now the man—struggling to maintain the family’s grip on power by taking two steps forward and one step back, permitting cellphones and Internet access to those few who can afford them. (But don’t try logging on to that den of imperialists, Facebook—it and many other sites are off-limits.)

“The Revolution,” is invoked endlessly on TV channels that are so dull they make C-Span look frivolous. A recent segment on a morning news show devoted six minutes to the just-completed harvest of limes, praising it as “a triumph of socialist workers’ cooperation.”

There’s no advertising in Cuba—unless you count the pervasive propaganda on TV and painted on walls rallying the masses with Stalinist-style slogans that would make a North Korean cringe. Roadside billboards proclaim the 51st anniversary of “La Revolucion” with glamorous portraits of Che Guevara and assorted other “freedom fighters”—all responsible in varying degrees for bringing Cuba to its knees.

Meanwhile, the average citizen of Havana goes about his mundane life, lining up at stores whose shelves are often empty, waiting in long lines for Chinese-made buses that never seem to come or trying to hitch rides in 1950s-era American cars that belch black fumes and contribute to the choking air quality that leaves the city covered in grime.

In Havana’s densely populated, older sections, less than half the homes are connected to city sewers. A majority of the buildings are decayed beyond repair.

The government claims that 96 percent of Cubans own their own homes—referring to the crowded apartments where generations of families are forced to live together. Even if that figure were true, no one seems to know who owns the outsides of their once-majestic buildings—so no one takes responsibility for maintaining them. Many fear that, when this regime eventually collapses, a wave of exiles will return from Miami and lay claim to the properties that Castro stole from them.

Cuba is in limbo, its creaky, centralized economy sustained for now by Latin America’s other delusional dictator Hugo Chavez—who sends oil in return for Cuban doctors dispatched to Caracas.

The day of reckoning for Cuba’s calamity is approaching. It will take an international effort to put this country back on its feet.

Kenneth A. Chandler is president of Chandler Regan Strategies and a former editor and publisher of The Post.

Member Comments

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On January 27, 2010, publisher wrote:

I’m sure this article will bring out all the left wing nuts but I found the article to be an accurate assessment of Cuban life.

So let’s start with

1. It’s the Embargo’s fault.

2. If the Soviet Union hadn’t fallen apart, Cuba would be a great country.

3. If the hurricanes didn’t hit, Cuba would have a strong economy.

What did I miss?

Now let’s not put ANY blame on Fidel. He’s just an old man living quietly in retirement. Right?

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On January 28, 2010, paul wrote:

What a grim assessment; maybe we need a Canadian or a British “journalist” to get a better one. I’m sure that they can go through their Cuban government sources for honest and non biased information.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Was this tragedy an open ticket for the invasion of Cuba? The military build up in Haiti could be usefull.

Well who else than Obama can delivered without a chain reaction worldwide.

The old George Bush dream, Cuba at last.

Kennedy will roll in his grave, Now lets hope the media will play this right and bring some Pepsi for the freed crowd!

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On January 28, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

This is the part I found hilarious:  “Prosperity is the last thing that comes to mind as you watch the Cuban people wearing clothing that went out of style years ago.”

That’s a sign of prosperity?    What you don’t find in Cuba is herds of people rushing to the stores every six months ready to max out their credit cards because someone (obviously in their own best interest) decided that bell bottoms are out and straight legs are in.  So while Americans live in perpetual debt because they don’t want to fall behind the fashion trend, Cubans reuse and recycle what they have.  Seems to me like they’re setting an excellent example of what the rest of the world should be doing in terms of sustainable living.

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On January 28, 2010, DavidDeming Rodriguez wrote:

MiamiCuban why are you here? I bet your closet is full of new clothes. Shut your face. Paul, if the conditions are what was reported, then there doesn’t need to be a second assesment; it is what it is. People don’t need a Brit, or Canadian to tell us what the whole world can see for itself. Why are all the supporters of Cubas current status not living in cuba? You people are soft, and could never live under Cubas current conditions, yet you say everything is just fine in Cuba. Eat one.

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On January 28, 2010, Miguel wrote:

The old question, if the glass is half-empty or half-full. I remember Havana of the early nineties, and although you still notice many crumbling buildings, you may also notice the pleasant streets in Old Havana with their recently carefully restored buildings. Travelling in the interior you notice many houses without maintenance, but you might also be surprised and impressed by the many houses in a state of maintenance not to be imagined in the Soviet period. I am not an expert on clothing fashion, but Cubans in general appear to me fairly well dressed, and in my European homeland we also use to wash tennis shoes – I did not know it was a sign of powerty. There is much propaganda in Cuban TV (although less than in the xenophobic eighties), but I do not think they are more dull than most TV canals of my own country – quite on the contrary. “The average citizen ... lining up at stores whose shelves are often empty” – that was before, now they contemplate well-furnished stores, where they have not the money to buy. “... waiting in long lines for buses that never seem to come” – that was before, Havana’s bus-service has improved very markedly in the latest years. Etc. etc.

Is mr. Chandler’s article “brutally honest”. It may be his ambition, but if you will be honest you should not be negligent. Brutal, maybe, but in the original latin meaning of that word.

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On January 28, 2010, manfredz wrote:

While I agree that Cuba has some serious serious problems, many of them touched on in the article, to me things didn’t appear as grim as the article portrays. Miguel brings many of these disparities out.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

The Cubans are richer than the average American, why? Because they are debt free. Cuba cant get any World bank loans for more 50 years now

So imagine the debt slavery machine of America drooling to get its hands on 12 millions debt free people, ready to mortgage their life all together at the same time and go in Castro lines to get their newly issue Mickey Mouse Credit Card…

The boost USA needs for its Banker masters its 12 millions more debt slaves.

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On January 28, 2010, John wrote:

Exiles will most likely all remain exiles. Some will attempt to reclaim property, but where do they live whilst waiting for results? In comfort in Miami of course with lawyers taking their time and collecting fat fees in the process. 
Re-claimed properties will require massive refurbishment, who will lend funds on foreign property? A quick sale is more likely, no different than receiving a run down house left by in the will of an aged relative.
The Cuban people may be poor, without modern conveniences and surviving on meagre food supplies, but they are an educated, healthy and amazingly resilient people, willing to work and build a future for themselves.
There is only one direction for the future of Cuba after Castro, and it is an upward direction. How fast this will happen is anyone’s guess; but when it begins it’s going to be great!

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On January 28, 2010, John wrote:

P.S. Haiti was a failed state before the earthquake.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

The future of Cuba without the genocidal embargo, will allow Cuba to borrow loans to the World Bank to develop its economic infrastructures.

Economic prosperity fueled by massive input of capital will offer to Cubans enormous opportunity.

It was done all over the world for 50 years but not in Cuba.

Its time to put an end to the Embargo and bury the hatchet so Cuba could have the tools to develop.

Maybe the Cuban Exiles should give back the money they stole from the Bank of Cuba when they left with Batista, That should help to go in the upward direction…

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On January 28, 2010, publisher wrote:

The only thing Cuba needs for an “upward direction” is the absence of Fidel Castro.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Its not Castro the problem, its the Debt free nationalistic educated Cubans that you try to starve.

Maybe they will beg for slavery again if they are starved enough…

Batista! Batista! Barabas!

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On January 28, 2010, publisher wrote:

Oh please. Here we go again.

Batista? This is all Batista’s fault.

I know. Cuba would be a great country and Fidel would be the best dictator… oops sorry, I mean President in history if it weren’t for the evil US.

I got it.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Batista was the dictator that Castro removed…How strange of you to forget.

Since the pro USA dictator was remove will starved the whole country until they’ll beg us to gave them another one? Is that the plan?

Castro freed the Cubans from misery, the US embargo made sure that he wont go to far with it.

Blame the victims, how noble of you, goes well with kidnapping a boy from his father…

Escaping justice does not qualify as “exiled”

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On January 28, 2010, paul wrote:

Victims? the Castro monarchy? if their piggybank USSR was still around, they wouldn’t give three shi*s about a relationship with the USA, nor the credit blockade. They had an amazing amount of wealth for decades, which they blew in militarism and warfare in Africa.

Castro took Batista’s crown and recreated the dictatorship for himself.

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On January 28, 2010, Manuel.V wrote:

“...is bizarre decision to send 300,000 Cubans out of a population of only 11 million to fight wars in Africa in the 1980s…”

I don’t think that Africans think that Castro’s decision sent troops (and civilians) to Africa was bizarre. In many places in Africa people see Castro as a liberator and a man who fight against South-African apartheid.

The western media has always neglect Castros mission in Africa.

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On January 28, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

So “Castro freed the Cubans from misery…” come on!!
Cuba has never been worst than now.

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Funny how those Cubans “exiles/fugitives” seem to portrait Castro as a dictator, and forgot that he is elected by the democratically elected parliament.

In Cuba they dont have Diebolt voting/frauding machines and they dont “fudge” the electoral list like we do. They post their electoral list on the street access before the elections.

If half the state of Israel is on the list people will start asking questions…

Those damn anti-democratic commies!

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On January 28, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Yeyo…Try to follow the discussion by reading the comments…


The revolution of Castro got rid of Misery, nobody dies of starvation in Cuba, nobody dies of 3rd world diseases, the kids dont have to beg in the streets to survive. They got rid of massive infant premature death.

Mexico, our trading partner and soon our equal, still have middle ages diseases and people die of starvation.

The majority of the Mexican in Cuba are amazed by the Cubans quality of life.
Low working hours, good social coverage, comprehensive laws…

Yes Cubans are deprived of the cheap Chinese commercial garbage that we all enjoy here. The US Embargo is to blame for the poverty(lack of luxury).

Been poor with dignity is a lot better than dying of starvation in the middle of opulent indifference.
 
Do yourself a favor and visit Cuba, it will open your eyes about the 50 years of genocidal propaganda of the ousted pedophiles…

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On January 28, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

Goldbuster
Let’s start for “the revolution” what revolution, look for the concept and come back, something that do not change for 50 years is NOT a revolution.
For starters, you obviously have no idea of what you are saying, in today’s Cuba kids do beg on the streets, whether for food or dollars to buy a toy I do not know but they do beg on the streets.

I don’t know what majority of Mexicans in Cuba you are referring to; the fact is that there are not so many Mexicans in Cuba and lots and lots of Cubans do emigrate to Mexico and to several other countries every year looking for opportunities that they cannot find in Cuba.

You obviously had been brainwashed by the Cuban propaganda. You probably can find cheaper Chinese garbage in Cuba that in the US and Canada the only difference is that the Cuban government sell them twice more expensive to the poor Cubans.

You say ....”Do yourself a favor and visit Cuba, it will open your eyes about the 50 years of genocidal propaganda of the ousted pedophiles…”

Let me tell you something…I’m born and raised in Cuba, I’m very proud of it, and just two weeks ago returned from Cuba, probably you are the one that has to go back and look nicely around instead of looking somewhere else.

The US embargo is not the cause of the problems in Cuba, all the problems in Cuba are caused by the dictator Fidel Castro that has been, as you say: “elected democratically” during the last 50 years. Once again come on!! Wake up!! 50 years being elected democratically, I thought that nobody believed that anymore but looks like I was wrong.

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On January 28, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Publisher (comment # 12): You seem to have forgotten what happened to Rome after the elimination of the dictator Julius Caesar. Wish it was so easy ...

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On January 29, 2010, paul wrote:

Goldbuster is trolling with Tesco quality posts. Another Castro cult worshipper here to defend authoritarianism with Castro approved sycophancy. It’s folks like you that defended and portrayed the DDR as heaven on earth…that needed a wall.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Cuba is under 50 years of cruel and genocidal embargo.
You prefer to blame the victim…

Cuba is under terrorist attack form you for 50 years, it is public knowledge that the CIA was replacing kids powder milk with cement.
But you prefer to blame the kids…

Cuba had to develop its medical infrastructure to counteract your agrochemical attacks aim at its food stock.
You prefer to blame the medics…

Cuba had to come out of the worst economical crisis in the 90’s without any help from you “Cubans fugitives” gloating safely in Miami with the Cuban people stollen gold.
But you prefer to blame Castro…

Castro is first and foremost an intellectual who HAD TO DO SOMETHING about the likes of you, who only cares about yourself and prefer to let the children died.
But you prefer to blame the children…

Cubans knows to well about the likes of you, thats why they re-elect Castro years after years. They think he is the best man to defend Cubans interest in this 50 years of economical and punishing war.
But you prefer to blame peace…

Cuba is no Irak. We all know your evil tactics now. Cubans are resilient and educated, they will prevail.

End this genocidal embargo and we will have another discussion about who his the best man for the job. Under war scenario, Castro prooved himself.

Who you gonna blame now?

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

“Who you gonna blame now?”

Fidel Castro.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

People who receive an education in Cuba have to come to an agreement to serve the People for an agreed amount of years. Ex: A medic will have to give back to the community the same amount of years that the community gave him for his education about 10 years. Sounds fair?

Well it sound fair to me also, sadly we dont have this type of agreement in Canada and lost all of our nurses to you, mind you we subsidize their education.

So I always laughs when some Cuban medic pop up somewhere in south America and demand “exile” from his education contract.

By the way, In Cuba people beg in the street, like they beg in other country when they see a dumb tourist walking around with his “impossible to get locally” stuff on him…Poor me I dont have shit…Well Cubans wear more brand names in Havana than the Americans. They dont have to pay rent, they dont have to pay for food, they dont pay for they public transport, the only thing the money is good for is for Play and Bling!

Twice the price for crappy Chinese goods, try to buy containers from China for the first time and check if it corresponds to your order… everybody gets ripped off by the Chinese. 

Early 2000 the Castro government opens its arms to the Miami “Cubans fugitives”  and invited them to come back, bury the hatchet and help rebuild Cuba. But for some pedophiles the only things they want is stealing the gold and eating the children.

What are you doing for the Cuban people? Blame them for your Embargo?

Hopefully Castro humanism cleaned up the Cubans name, that you trashed long time ago.

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

Poor Fidel, he just can’t catch a break.

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On January 29, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

No matter how bad things may appear in Cuba, the truth is that the average Cuban is far better off than the average Latin-American citizen in the so-called democratic countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, etc… and that’s WITH an embargo in place (not that the embargo accounts for all of Cuba’s problems).  Look at Haiti—a democratic country where 90% of the population barely makes it on less than $2 a day.  That’s what happens when corporations are given free reign.

The embargo ensures that Cuba has to continue struggling more than it should so they don’t set an example.  With just a little more food on the table (not that Cubans are starving), and only slightly better economic conditions, ALL of Latin America would soon be following Cuba’s example.  The embargo is the door-stop to any progress Cuba could make….even if it’s only slight.

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On January 29, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

Goldbuster…
I normally try to participate in intelligent and civilized discussions about the country I love.

However is difficult to be civilized with you because you post such a bulls….. posts that we would have to commence by educating you about the Cuban History, pre and post Castro.

The top of the bulls…. is your comment .... “They (Cubans) don’t have to pay rent, they don’t have to pay for food, they don’t pay for the public transport, the only thing the money is good for is for Play and Bling!”

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

“That’s what happens when corporations are given free reign.”

So US corporations are to blame for Haiti being a failed state?

That’s a new one on me. Maybe if they had a leader like Fidel, everything would be just fine.

Wow, the Fidel brigade is out in force on this article.

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On January 29, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

One thing is apparent…..even with the embargo, Cuba is still standing, despite countless predictions that the economy would have fallen by now.

Ever stopped to think what would happen in the U.S. if the plug were pulled?  If all credit…for individuals and corporations alike…..were canceled?  I think that quite possibly we’d see a total collapse of the economy.  I could already see the Miami exiles rushing to Cuba in rafts.

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On January 29, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

Pub,

Are you denying that Haiti is worse off than Cuba by far? 
Aristide was driven out of office when he began to push the corporations for raising the hourly wage to $2.00.  Tell me, who is running the country exactly?

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On January 29, 2010, publisher wrote:

Haiti is a hell hole because of the government, not because of corporations.

I know you think corporations run the media, exploit poor people etc etc.

We can’t all be sharecroppers selling our produce to the government living happily ever after.

Easy for you to sit and blast corporations from your ivory tower.

Enough of the one sided BS please.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

LOL @ MiamiCuban

That’s exactly what i told to the Cubans, they will soon send Western Union to help the Miami Cubans in a fake US economy based on debt.

Cubans are debt free, that makes them rich!

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Answer to Haiti

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2004/01/04/reparation_day/

Aristide accused the crippling 20 years French Embargo and the subsequent restitution of 21Billions in return of “official recognitions” by the French in 1825 as the main reason for Haiti poverty. He was ready to sue France when he was victim of a Coup by the US and France.

He is now suing France and the US for this.

History repeats itself…How much Cuba will have to pay for restitution?

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On January 29, 2010, John wrote:

So much nonsense, such pointless bickering. Mr Chandler’s article certainly stirred up plenty of opinion with his unrealistic views.
I wait for the day we hear Castro is dead; the opinions will end and the new beginning will start.

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On January 30, 2010, paul wrote:

Goldbuster is another oh so typical leftist troll from Canada that cult worships Castro and the robolucion. The USSR failed miserably, and Cuba is the last strand of socialist hope for these useful idiots to worship fanatically.

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On January 30, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

I’ve carefully read and followed the history of Cuba for years, and Castro from the first sightings of that strange bird in the mountains of Cuba so long ago.
In this long list of letters I have read claims that he was democratically elected as President year after year, yet never once did I read of a single election in the press, not once.  Yes, he did promise free elections when he first entered Havana, as well as many other promises, not one of which he has kept in the past 50 years.
Cuba was a thriving enterprising nation, even under the dictator Batista’s regime, but it ceased to thrive under the dictator Castro’s regime.  The Cuban people were educated and energetic, businesses up and down the center of every city, cars, buses, a transportation system, all of which have failed under Castro, and this is a fact reported by Cubans themselves.
Freedom?  When you imprison Journalists for writing the truth, when you have repression, all the garbage of blaming the U.S. is merely an excuse for the failures of Fidel and his crew of whackos.
Why don’t you see any Cubans pictures in the hotels and resorts?  Why should they live in poverty while a mile or two away people live in splendor that is not accessible to them no matter how hard they work?
Once the Cubans are free of Fidell and Raul, once they cast off the yoke of slavery, once they have democracy and not socialism, they themselves will produce a miracle and bring Cuba out of its’ dark ages, out of this sad and mad period in its’ history.  Cuba will rise to its former greatness when Castro and Raul fall, for the Cuban spirit may be repressed, but it is not dead.
That’s evident by the successes that Cubans have had in the U.S. and these emigres will not faill Cuba when they are called upon to help, that I am sure of.  And Cuba will have to follow the Castro family wherever they flee to regain the money stolen, the same type of thieves as all dictators are.

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

“Cuba is the last strand of socialist hope for these useful idiots to worship fanatically.”

No. There’s still the benefits Kim Jung Il’s communism in North Vietnam for them to admire.

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

In any War, like the War of attrition that the Cubans Fugitives have fought here to maintain the crippling Embargo against the People of Cuba for 50 years, the science of rationing his the key to survival.

They manage to provide free food, clean water, education, medical, protection from terrorists, transportation, sports facilities, road infrastructure, community services and international disaster help abroad.

No the building are not freshly painted, because under constant attack, paint that you need to renew every year because of salt and hurricanes is NOT a priority.

So you tell me that Evil “Bougabouga” Castro is responsible of all this madness? As to be to explain the script you been feeding the American people for 50 years…Poor little exiles….

Because if Castro wasnt the evil Boogieman, we will start to think that maybe you are just a bunch of thieves, rapists, pedophiles, murderers, traitors and the like that simply feared and fled JUSTICE.

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On January 30, 2010, John wrote:

I believe it’s North Korea…....

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

:-0

Right. I was thinking after North Korea there is Vietnam and China for them to worship.

Workers’ paradises, right?

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On January 30, 2010, John wrote:

Somebody call the lunatic asylum, Mr Goldbuster is foaming at the mouth.
He should be arrested as ‘a danger and menace to society’ given 25 years in jail without trial in a squalid toilet with the greatest chances of contracting a fatal disease, and with no chance of appeal or a short sentance for good behaviour.
That’s what the Castro Utopia does to the Cuban people for speaking out.

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On January 30, 2010, jmw1 wrote:

howarde 12,
Good to hear a positive comment.
The upside potential of Cuba is massive.
The writing is on the wall;
kiss the Bahamas, Cancun, Cozumel, and greater Caribbean goodbye.
I believe all the above will also be tourists in Cuba. Who can resist?
Long live Free Cuba!

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Who was jailed 25 years without a trial for speaking out?

Funny how you built your myth, pedophiles run freely but people thats speaks the truth are all in Cuban jails.

Wonders why Cuba was elected on the Human right panel.

Your lies will died off as soon as the travel embargo is lifted, people cant be kept in the dark for too long, you played the American people because they dont speak Spanish and they can verify your lies.

Im telling you the International Court will have no mercy on the crime against humanity that you have plunge a nation under for 50 years.
Read your Geneva convention under Genocide and you qualify.

Better remove Castro, because he’ll make sure your crimes dont go unpunished, you can take a boat and flee justice and talk nonsense for 50 years, life has a way to sneak up on you.

Justice will prevail

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

Okay. Enough of the BS propaganda.

You win. Castro is a great leader and nothing is his fault. The US is evil and Cuba would be a great Communist society if it weren’t for the US Embargo.

Goldbuster, we get it. You are a good Communist.

Admit nothing and blame everyone else.

We get it.

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Thats why I think Obama will never deal with Cuba revolutionist government, because fugitives like you cannot permit the world, and mostly the American people to visit Cuba and realized what they have done for 50 years because of your lies.

Obama will invade Cuba from Haiti mark my words

A crime can always be forgotten by a bigger crime.

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On January 30, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

In the 50 years before Fidel, was there ever a shortage of beef or pork or chicken, or a necessity to ration it?
In the 50 years before Socialism, was there ever a need to ration fruits and vegetables, in a country with a fertile soil, sun, and water?
In the 50 years before the communist thugs and thieves took over, were the buildings in Havana crumbling from neglect, the infrastructure falling apart, the transportation system in a shambles, and almost the whole population living on an inadequate diet?
The answer, of course, is NO.
Give farmers in rural areas half a dozen pigs and and the freedom to raise and sell them, and earn a profit, then within a few years they’d have surpluses and there would be no long lines at the markets waiting for a small ration of meat. Le them all have chickens, and you’ll have enough eggs.  Let them raise cattle and the shortages of milk will soon disappear.
Give the Cuban people the freedom to open small businesses and within a couple of years the towns would be bustling with goods and better equipment for the homes, a better standard of living for all.
Fidel has not contributed any great writings nor any unique thoughts for the world community; he may talk and appeal to Hollywood’s eliteists, but he seems more like a mental pygmy.  Not one great thought, one quotable sentence, appears in the books and magazines, in the encyclopedias, nothing.  Ten thousand hours of speeches over fifty years are but a dought to the intellectual community.
But, he gives all Cubans a free education, right?  Well, if you study to become a good writer, but cannot freely express your thoughts, what good is that education to you?
If you benefit from a free education and become an architect, can you work with men of vision and build a soaring edifice that is admired around the world?  Unless you kow-tow to the mental pygmies around Castro, you may never be able to design a building in your lifetime.  Think of the structural engineers who would work with architects of vision; what good is a free education to them if the architects are repressed and there is nothing to work on?
Think of the builders who would lay out parts of a city, but again, they cannot use their individual initiative to make a single move without the approval of the sloths who control the government?  What good is a free education to them?
What if you study to be an auto engineer, can you travel to Detroit and sell your ideas for new designs?  What good is all your years of study to you or anyone else?
What if it is the theatre, and you wish to do some satire about La Cucarache Grande, you’ll find yourself ostracized at the very least, or in prison, or at the Wall, so what good is your free education?
If you wish to become a scientist, but you find that the local socialist scientitsts are not goign to welcome your ideas because they don’t fit in with theirs, what is your future?  Can you go elsewhere and do your experiments, and perhaps prove that your theories work?  So, what good is a free education to you?
What good is a free education if YOU’RE not free?
What good is a free education if your brain is fettered by La Cucaracha Grande?
What good is a free education if everything you want to do has a blockade there?
The mental blockades to Cuban men and women of vision are a hundred times greater than the imaginary blockade alluded to by La Cucaracha Grande, as the reason for his failures.

Socialism breeds a “lard-ass” mentality, that you’ve got to slow down to keep pace with the slowest of the slow, for your twenty dollars a month.
The repression of the human spirit that is part and parcel of communism is
what has held Cuba back, not any so-called embargo.  Cuba could virtually feed itself if it were not for the bearded mental pygmy who has held it back for fifty years.

And, as to free medical care, the Cuban government would never allow the international community to send a committee to the Island in order to make an inspection of these free clinics and a report. 

Name one great project that has been accomplished by La Cucaracha, other than ten hour marathons of speeches, droning on and on and on, sort of a mental diarrhea that could only be enjoyed by Hollywoodians and the world’s Liberals.

The people we all should respect in Cuba are the ones they call The Worms. At least they have heart and soul and spirit.

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On January 30, 2010, paul wrote:

Pub, please give Goldbuster the Cuban treatment and censor him.

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On January 30, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Some Castro opponents sound like president George W. Bush when he promised great future for Iraq, if they could only get rid of Saddam Hussein. You might as well expect something like pre-communist Cuba, which in the words of mr. Chandler was “plundered by a succession of foreign powers, homegrown dictators and mobsters imported from America”.
Mr. Chandler’s meaning may here be good enough, though he is as inaccurate as in the rest of the article: The only pre-communist dictator was Batista (1952-59). For the rest Cuba was plundered by corrupt elected presidents – even Machado (1925-33) was elected. “Brutally honest”? Yes, in expressing his emotions no doubt, but not when it comes to precise facts (see my comment # 6 above).
And to the controversy between goldbuster (comment # 20) and yeyo (# 21): You are both right: Kids “don’t have to beg in the streets to survive” (goldbuster), but “they do beg in the streets” (yeyo). They do – I have observed the phenomenon closely in a Cuban provincial town – but mostly because many tourists give them sweets. In the early nineties they asked for dollars too. To me it is the same phenomenon as e. g. in Kingston, Jamaica, where tourists are incessantly approached by children: “Ten cent! Ten cent!” It is rarely out of misery.

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On January 30, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

Why censor him?  He exposes his own ignorance with each entry, but also, the it shows the futility of trying to reason with Castro-ites and their illogical mutterings.

Remember, Castro lied time and again right from the beginning, denying his communist ideology, his intentions of installing a system of socialism in Cuba.

Suddenly, shortly after, he was now a communist, forced to be one by the attitude of the U.S., right?  It is a system that encourages lying and deviousness, that cannot stand up to critics because it cannot allow the truth to be told and withstand the challenges to its lies.

I’ve spoken with survivors of Russia’s Gulag, with men and women who fled Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and yes, intolernace in other nations.  The most intolerant of all are the Socialists, the ones who decry the U.S. death penalty, but think nothing of executing thousands, even millions, again are the Socialists.  The ones who demand a voice, but deny it to others, are the Socialists.  The ones who overlook the murders of those with opposing viewpoints are always the Socialists, while a cop killer in Pennsylvania is lauded and defended. Ed Asner, another Judas goat from the Hollywood elitists is a perfect example of what we face. 

Let the “Goldbrick” speak.  The more he writes, the less sense he makes.

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

“Pub, please give Goldbuster the Cuban treatment and censor him.”

As much as I would like to, we don’t do that here. We only delete comments that are off topic, comment spam or a vicious personal attack.

Otherwise, all are free to post what they like here… unlike in Cuba.

Just for the record, the Havana Journal is banned in Cuba. Too much open dialog I guess.

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

“Let the “Goldbrick” speak.  The more he writes, the less sense he makes.”

That’s why this site is all about open dialog and freedom of speech. People can make fools of themselves if they want to. They are free to argue their point.

For me, no Communist argument can ever win because I’ll take freedom over the best Cuba has to offer any day of the week.

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Wow not yet 24 hours on this site and they are talking about censuring me!

Hopefully we are not in the time of Batista where you probably would gladly torture me.

howarde12 you have no knowledge of the reasons for the Revolution in Cuba.

Half the city of Havana had broken waterline and people had to wait in line with colored plastic buckets to get water from a main road like tribes in Africa.

Electricity and phone was extremely expensive and under monopoly, only the elites had access to a Doctor. Education was only reserve to the same Freemason clowns.

Food was all imported from the US and extremely expensive.

People disappeared and stories of tortures by the Batista police was daily occurrence.

The conditions where so infect that Castro had only to walk in Havana under tremendous acclaims without a shot been fired

Dont you think that if life was so beautiful, people would have somewhat reacted?

When the corrupt Batista and his military dictatorship were popping Champagne with the Americans in all 5 starts Casino and Hotels. Giving away the country for pennies to the US

Castro reinstated the rule of Law and the constitution that the Batista regime had revoke under their Military Coup.

You probably know all of this thats why you decide to escape to Miami and avoid been tried properly.

Cuba had Jose Marti who wrote intensively about the importance of been free from colonialism, and US colonialism was more ferocious under Batista and his pedophiles than under the Spaniards.

Regardless of the colour of the dictator Spanish-USA-Russian the Cubans will always be free and independent its in their blood and culture.

So keep your bullshit for yourself, Americans are waking up to real agenda and they are not gonna be please to have been lied to and used for 50 years.

Free Cuba, lift the Embargo

Justice will prevail

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Since the 90’s Farmers in Cuba can sell their products in free markets outside the basic food distribution centers. That is also the case for meat vendors.

They have a dual system, and dual money. Basic for the basic needs and deluxe for the tourists and those who want to spend.

Good restaurants are always packed with Cubans, Hotels in Varadero are packed with Cubans who can afford it.

Cubans work 2 days for the state and have 2 days off for their sideline.

Trust me I spend some time there and they have a lot more freedom than Canada.

Why they dont leave Cuba if they are free? Nobody wants to give them a Visa
As soon as they find a country who will issue them a Visa they pay $300 and they are free.

Castro dont hold them, the world does!

You got to go and see it, Cuba is not like the “BougaBouga” fugitives try to portrait it. Flight from Cancun or Nassau, got to go before they invade it!

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On January 30, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Now they have a great public transportation system, colour coded where you can explore all of Havana in modern Korean bus, a paradise for backpackers, their is always a cultural event, like classical recital in century churches or sports finals. The local music talents and poesy are amazing.

Havana is a Gem if you can look past the discolored walls, and the people where the victim of draconian US Embargo pushed by the Miami fugitives for too long now, they deserve a break.

Hurry up, and visit before its too late!

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On January 30, 2010, publisher wrote:

Goldbuster,

I deleted one of your posts for being off topic. That’s one warning.

This is your second warning to stop being an idiot. Seriously, cut the crap.

Now you are being intentionally disruptive and you will be banned if you don’t respect other readers.

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On January 30, 2010, Leida wrote:

Goldbuster is right…....just travel to Cuba and you will see that it is not even close to what is portrayed in the U.S. media.  But I suppose that as long as the embargo is in place, the media will continue to get away with exagerations and outright lies.  No, I’m not saying that Cuba is a complete paradise and that there are no problems…...naturally there are economic problems, but you find these everywhere in the world, including the U.S…...but there is a vast different between Cuba’s realities and what we hear on the news in the U.S. (especially in Miami).  We can argue all we want on this blog about what is and isn’t true about Cuba…but in the end, only if you go and see for yourself will you be able to draw your own conclusions based on your own observations, without the “truth” being filtered through the experiences of others.  On my first trip to Cuba I went there expecting the worst, and all because of everything I had heard on the radio and television in Miami.  I was shocked to see how much I’d been lied to over the years.

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On January 31, 2010, John wrote:

Ignore the main stream news media with their own political agenda and government censorship; for more accurate information/news from Cuba got to;

http://www.therealcuba.com (also with news on ‘mini me’ Hugo Castro-Chavez)

http://www.cubanet.org/news_eglish_january.html

By the way, keep it up Goldblinger, er, sorry Goldbuster, I think you are now starting to contradict yourself….

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On January 31, 2010, Miguel wrote:

howarde12:
I understand that you are interested in Cuba’s history, and that you accept the view that Fidel Castro “right from the beginning” intended to introduce a leninist political system in Cuba and only kept it secret for tactical reasons. Can you allege any substantial evidence in support of this view, or is it based on speculation only? What we do know is that Castro did read Marx (among much other literature) in prison 1953-55, according to himself even before and that it influenced his view of society. What we know does not imply your view – which is widespread, especially among Castro’s most hostile opponents. As long as I have not seen any substantial evidence I must reject your view, simply because it is improbable. I think it would be our first example of a major political development following the hidden agenda of a minor group of leaders – a major political development depending on situations and forces impossible to anticipate. Not even Napoleon did such a thing.
As long as I have not seen any substantial evidence to the contrary I must prefer that Castro was first of all a nationalist, and as the rebellion gained momentum decided not to abandon power – a Bolívar more than a Lenin. His affiliation with the Soviet bloc was a response, not an anticipated goal.

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On January 31, 2010, John wrote:

Miguel,
Pre-determined or last minute affiliation notwithstanding, Fidel castro certainly did a top class job of reducing a fine country to a shambles and intimidating its people and removing all liberties with brutal efficiency, not to mention crippling agriculture and industry to the point of complete dependance on imported goods.
Gee, he must have really got carried away with that ‘spur-of -the-moment’ idea after a successful ‘revolution’. Wonder what would have transpired if he had grasped some other concept at the last moment?

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On January 31, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Leida said: ‘‘Goldbuster is right…....just travel to Cuba and you will see that it is not even close to what is portrayed in the U.S. media…On my first trip to Cuba I went there expecting the worst, and all because of everything I had heard on the radio and television in Miami.  I was shocked to see how much I’d been lied to over the years.’‘


Are you gonna censure her too?

You time is up pals, Cuba dont deserves a bunch a lying criminals

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On February 01, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

Goldbuster: Accusing those who comment to a Blogsite of lying, is a calumny, but calling them criminals because they view things differently is slander. I suppose you have a Che banner draped across your wall as well.

There are those who crossed the Straits on rafts and made it, and those who died in the attempt.  Certainly, dear fellow, something was radically wrong in Cuba to cause such desperation to leave.  The million and more who left Cuba had some sort of idea of the failures in the regime, which should make you stop and think.

Kenneth Chandler has written a good article, and he apparently knows a bit more about it than either you or I do.  You’ve had your say due to the graciousness of our host at Havana Journal, and so have i, and I will no longer take advantage of his hospitality and patience.

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On February 01, 2010, paul wrote:

We are feeding the trolls on this topic. Goldbuster and Pipefitter are having a blast being able to argue their little hearts away for the love of the cult idol Castro.

This is what they consider fighting the good fight. Coming on forums and e-battling with the non-converted, hoping that the truths they read in Granma and official Cuban websites will “wake” us up.

Keep trolling at your comfortable apartment located in Canada aka America’s hat. Castro would be proud of your useful idiot obedience and allegiance to authoritarian Cuban socialism.

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On February 01, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

I like sticking to facts only…..it is only a presumption that those who leave Cuba on rafts are leaving because there is something inherently wrong with the system.  Most of them leave because of economic conditions.  Many more leave Mexico and die in tunnels and deserts because of economic conditions far worse than Cuba’s, but this rarely makes the news.  These are the facts…..it’s those who have political agendas who tack on whatever meaning suits them.

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On February 01, 2010, publisher wrote:

#64

Their actions also serve the purpose of educating newbies as to the rhetoric and propaganda that the Cuban people have been force fed for 50 years.

So, these good Communists actually help turn people against Communism with their idiotic reasoning and poor debate skills.

The Goldbusters and pipefitters are always welcome so long as they stay on topic and are not intentionally disruptive.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

The ones on rafts are obviously economic refugees who were denied there Visa by the US embassy, base on good faith.

But the one who where the first on the ferry at the news that Castro defeated Batista goons at Santa Clara, those are highly suspected of been assiciates with the crimes of the Batista regime, murders, rapes, pedophilia, frauds.

When did the Cubans in Miami made their own tribunals to separate the real exiles from the criminal fugitives?

Guilty by associations

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Be careful miamicuban certain facts are disruptive, please restraint from stating them.

Funny how Pub allows all the personal attacks against dissenting voices, Facts are disruptive but personal attacks are healthy for the dialogue….

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On February 01, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

Very simple Goldbuster, you say that everybody that has a different idea of the reality than yours is a criminal, murderer ...etc. Not because you yell loud means that you’re saying the true….

Your childish defense of the Castro government may us wonder whether you are paid or are doing it for free??

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

“you say that everybody that has a different idea of the reality than yours is a criminal, murderer ...etc.”

I have said the I hate lies, deceits and bull. Like the statement you just made.

I say that criminals and murderers evaded Justice by taking a boat to Miami 51 years ago. Dznt mean you are a murderer and a pedophile.

If the hat fits…

Im not the subject of this post, so lets just return to the blatant lies spread by KENNETH A. CHANDLER to justify the no so distant invasion of Cuba

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On February 01, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

Yeyo’s statement above:  “Your childish defense of the Castro government may us wonder whether you are paid or are doing it for free??”

This is the kind of remark that strips this blog from any possibility of serious debate.  Why resort to this pettiness?  Really…..just because someone has a different opinion you automatically conclude it’s because they’re being paid?

As for those who left cuba in the 60’s….many were decent people who simply preferred capitalism over communism.  But undoubtedly, many fled the island because they had killed and tortured during Batista’s regime.  I don’t think anyone can deny that.

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On February 01, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

Batista was romancing with the Mafia in the U.S., the criminal element, and they worked in harmony on the gambiling resorts. 
Replacing one evil dictator (Batista) with another (Fidel) did not resove anything. The evil Fidel executed more than 15,000 men, women and children, far more than the evil Batista, and Fidel’s executions were more for political reasons, such as those who were anti-Marxist, or property owners whose farms and ranches he wished to confiscate, than those who worked for Batista.
Those who fled were those who did not wish to live under a communist dictator, for to them it was Mao and Lenin and Stalin and Hitler (a socialist) all over again, and so they chose freedom, not political and economic slavery, stagnation and possible imprisonment for their ideals under the evil Castro brothers, to whom life means little and freedom means nothing.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

You cannot compare Batista to Castro there is no comparison.
People didnt know that Castro was a communist or plan to set up a communist state when they fled like cockroaches with the Cuba central bank stolen gold to Miami way before he entered Havana.
Castro executions was done like Nuremberg, in front of a military tribunals. Batista executions was done in mass grave hands tied in their back shot in the back of the head.
Private citizen ownership of farm was a small percentage because most of the land was own by US corporation.
Cuba was under constant acts of war and terrorism by the same cockroaches. Do they have The Patriot Act?
And the Embargo is responsible for the ration system, the stagnation and the political rhetoric.

You want change in Cuba? Stop spreading your lies

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On February 01, 2010, publisher wrote:

Another great comment by Goldbuster

Let’s see, who is to blame in this comment?

1. Batista

2. Cuban exiles

3. US corporations

4. The Embargo

5. me, Publisher

Great comment Goldbuster. I think that’s a new record!

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On February 01, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

# 71 to MiamiCuban,
I personally learn that from Fidel Castro during my many years in Cuba, everybody that have a different idea in Cuba is because is paid by the US, a mercenary or a CIA agent, right? By the same token anybody that says the amount of buls….. that Goldbuster is saying in this blog is likely being paid to say so. Nobody in his right mind would say such idiotic things all at once.

Regarding your comment of the people that left Cuba in the 60’s, I feel that you are not completely wrong. In my opinion some murderers and torturers may have left Cuba during those chaotic days.

However the most important thing, which you seem to forget is that the majority of the people that left the island for whatever reason (political or economical) were decent people.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Cubans, who promoted and lobbied for a genocidal population punishing Embargo that killed children for 51 years, do not qualified as decent people

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On February 01, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Goldbuster (comment # 73):
“People didnt know that Castro was a communist or plan to set up a communist state when they fled ... with the Cuba central bank stolen gold to Miami way before he entered Havana.” They did not know, for it was not the case. I doubt that you believe in the same myth as howarde12 (it would be a funny encounter of opposite extremes), so I suppose that you mean “people did not suspect etc.”. See my comment # 60. A good discussion of the topic in Hugh Thomas “Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom” pp. 1051-1057.
I have heard the story about the stolen gold, but doubt that it is reliable.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Yeah its true they would have leave the gold behind

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On February 01, 2010, RKyle wrote:

Can’t believe I spent an hour reading this looking for some progress in the discussion.
Not too many people in the above group that I would want to have a beer with and disuss Cuba.
I just returned from a extended trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Oz and NZ have their areas you don’t go at night and Fiji as beautiful as it is, no money-no nothing!!!!!
Being retired I feel alot safer in Cuba(7 trips) at night then in any city in Canada(home), USA(American parents), Mexico(7 trips), Spain(3), Canary Islands. Morocco,Hawaii, Barbadoes and Antiqua.
My biggest worry for Cuba with open borders is what will happen when the drug trade hits the Cuban streets and there is a lot of expertise in that waiting in Miami and South American. Maybe they will like B. C. Bud too?
We can’t do anything about Cuba’s past but let’s try to learn from mistakes in our own countries and try to help Cuba in the future!
I am preparing for at trip to Cuba in April and joined Havana Journal hoping to learn more about current happenings there. Not happening!!

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On February 02, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

To Howard12 #72:

So the number of deaths in Castro’s hands is now up to 15,000?  I remember when I was young and was told that Castro had sent “hundreds” to be executed.  As the years passed, the numbers changed…then it was “up to a thousand”....later it was “several thousand”....and now you’re saying 15,000.  I’m sure in another decade it will be “up to a hundred thousand.”  Who actually comes up with these numbers?  I don’t mean to show disrespect to those who died….but seriously, these numbers are absurd.  I now even question the “hundreds”, given the natural tendency of Cubans to exaggerate.

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On February 02, 2010, paul wrote:

You are right pub, these guys are digging themselves a rather large hole. Keep going Goldbuster, soon you’ll be in China.

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On February 02, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

The USA is going communist as we speek, we dont hear the hypocrites complaining.

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On February 03, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

It is difficult to verify these figures with any accuracy, it is true, but there are lists with names and ages of those executed.
However, there is a well researched book, The Black Book of Communism, in which you can find the toll that Communist/Marxist ideologies have taken in human lives, not counting the suffering and misery.
And yes, the U.S., like many nations before it, seems to have a conspiracy afoot that is trying to put the communists in power.  What else can you expect from a man/president who has been raised in a communist family, mother, father, step-father, grandmother, grandfather, college instuctors, Hawaiian mentor, and who has always surrounded himself with Communists and extreme Liberals?

However, many simply will not believe that he could say one thing and all the while we have his Cadres of ENCORE followers working behind the scenes to take complete control of our schools and our children, and turn this into a Marxist state.  He says he was a Community Organizer, an euphenism for Communist Organizer.  Just change the last two letters of Community to “st” and you have it; he has been telling us the truth, but like a magician, he deceives us.

Miami-Cuban may be doubting the Cuban atrocities and death toll at this moment, but why not read up on it and do more research?  Did you believe the figures given for executions by the regime of Gen. Pinochet in Chile?  Did you accept that at face value and believe what was written in the newspapers?  The communists always, always execute every member of the opposition that they can identify when they first take over; they don’t make the same mistake that the dictator, Batista, did by allowing even the smallest bit of opposition to survive.  Batista’s mistake?  Not executing Fidel Castro when he had him in prison. But that’s a dichotomy, which one was less dangerous to rule Cuba?  Obviously it was easier to overthrow Fulgencio, whereas Fidel has last 51 years.

I believe, firmly believe, that this Administration has conspirators in every major city in the U.S., and that the schools are their target, that Obama feels he is a shoe-in in 1912, and that by 1916 he will have built his young followers into a great army of adherents and literally, then, take over this country and not need elections anymore than Castro does.  He has over $100 million to do it with over the years and he has the chess pieces all lined up and ready to do his bidding.

The Black Book of Communism?  Check it out of your local library and see for yourself the toll of Socialism.  It is all over Cuba, the truth, on large signs, Socialism or Death.  There, that is the truth, and that is why Castro executed some many without even a whimper out of Europe at the death toll.

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On February 03, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

typo: he had over $100 million (matching funds from the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago).

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On February 03, 2010, MiamiCuban wrote:

I don’t think any of us….whether we rely on what’s in print or simply word-of-mouth….can possibly know the real numbers.  There is one logic, however, which doesn’t fail.  And that is this:  money.  Whenever there is a threat (or perceived threat) to those who hold the money bags, you can be sure the atrocities comitted are unparalleled.

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On February 03, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Regarding howarde12’s comment # 83: The debater commits a decisive error referring to a highly controverted publication as an authoritative source of information. “The Black Book of Communism” is more an 850 pages pamphlet, its views deserve to be taken into consideration, but cannot stand alone without considering the severe critisism advanced against its methodology – its section on Latin America generally considered its weakest. For brief summaries of support and critisism see some of the web-based encyclopedias, e. g. http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/The-Black-Book-of-Communism. Those who read French can further consult a detailed critical review in “Le Monde Diplomatique” (“The Black Book of Communism” was originally published in France), see http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1997/12/PERRAULT/9660.
This is for information of readers of this page. I consider it useless to debate with a person, who talks about the president of the USA as participant in a large communist conspiracy.

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On February 05, 2010, Alberto N Jones wrote:

Blinded by an irrational hatred, Mr. Chandler, Rob and others posting their vile, are unable to put forth an objective analysis blaming the Cuban government for its failure, while never including the cruel, wicked and devastating 50 year old US embargo, never comparing Cuba with other third world country but rather with the US, Canada or Europe.

These individuales from the comfort/air-cooled residences have anointed themselves as Cubanologists, although they are bent on ignoring every positive development in that nation.

Want a taste of the embargo:  Try having to purchase your gas, grocery, household good 500 miles away for 50 years?  Try surviving without medicare, medicine, medical supplies, doctors and nurses and we did to Cuba?  Try living not under one 911, but hundreds of terrorists attacks, 12 bio-terrorism attacks, hundreds of assassinations attempts, blowing up of freighters, airliners in mid air, kidnapping of 14,000 of your children, creating a deadly migratory magnet through many gimmicks: Family Reunification, Wet/Dry Foot, boat lifts and all other means of arrival in the US, granting legal entry immediately to Cubans and no one else. 

Can we do the same for a month with Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean?

Why did Mr. Chandler, Rob and Co., not include the names of companies selling water purification systems, pacemakers, Phillips high tech medical equipment, Purchasing every foreign company doing business in Cuba and shutting off their supplies, tens of pharmaceutical and other companies, fined for selling life saving products to Cuba?

Why are we unable to produce all of our sports, medical, educational and other professionals to satisfy our needs, but choose to lure away from Cuba, every outstanding professionals? 

Do we remember or not, the disgraceful spectacle of that hyena, offering Teofilo Stevenson $1,000,000.00 to defect, after winner his third olympic?

Why could Mr Chandler and his ilks, not mention these human values and compare them with our banking, political, social and religious crooks, selling their souls for much less than what Stevenson turned down?

I am not and will never justify Cuba’s government shortcomings, failure and abuses, but let’s be honest and fair in our reporting.  I encourage these reporters walking the streets in Cuba gathering horror stories, to try to do the same in Cabrina Greens, Overtown, North Jacksonville, Puerto Rico, New Orleans and thousands of other locations without bodyguards, battle wagons and additional life insurance?

Why not compare how Cuba handled Four simultaneous hurricanes, while we made a disaster of Katrina and now in Haiti, with hundreds of unnecessary deaths due to our massive ineptitude in managing natural disasters.

Enough for now!!  The world needs good will, love and hope, not divisiveness, hatred and suffering contained in the vindictive writings of some.  We can and ought to strive for a better world, not victors!

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On February 05, 2010, publisher wrote:

1. When you said “cruel, wicked and devastating 50 year old” I thought you were going to say “rule of Fidel Castro”.

Why don’t you blame Fidel for ANY of Cuba’s problems?

Sure the Embargo has made life difficult for Cubans but let’s say maybe 25% where Fidel Castro is responsible for 75% of Cuba’s problems. No?

What do you say Fidel 5% and the Embargo 95%.

I guess all that free money from Russia, free stuff from China, tourists from Europe and Canada and free oil from Venezuela is just not enough to help Cuba offset any hardships caused by the Embargo?

2. When you say “vindictive writings” I think you mean “the truth that I just cannot accept”.

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On February 05, 2010, Alberto N Jones wrote:

No Rob, this should not become a My View versus Your Views.  The evidence is clear, palpable and undeniable for you to refute them. Do not get angry with the message/messenger.

Maybe, if you had lived in Soweto, Angola, Namibia and tens of similar places around this world, you would be offended as I am, when Mr. Chandler writes disparingly about the 300,000 Cubans who fought a heroic war in Africa against Apartheid, the worst expression of humankind.

Maybe if Mr. Chandler and yourself were “EVER” Blacks, you would be able to understand the difference between a Just Cause fought by Cuba in the southern cone of Africa and wars conquest, impositions, dominations the US have fought in Cuba in 1898, Haiti 1917, Dominican Repulbic 1965 Viet Nam, Iraq and tiny Grenada with less guns than your hometown.

If we could only try to be objective, maybe, we would be able to save the world from more grief, sufferings and injustice.

Leave Fidel and his government to his people, who have fought harder and longer than every country in this hemisphere for their independence and sovereingty.  Few people if any, can teach Cubans how to struggle, sacrifice and die for our fatherland.

In closing, had the Cuban government been half as selfish as we are, they would be swimming today in goods, but rather, they chose to build schools, hospital, roads, educate and provide healthcare across the globe while asking for nothing in exchange. 

Can we not learn Solidarity 101 from Cuba, instead of gobbling up everything of value, wherever we set foot?

Do you understand now, why millions of our citizens are fighting Healthcare Reform in the US, indifferent to the pain and suffering of 50,000,000 without that vital instrument?

These selfish, uncaring values are the ones that makes us weak, not what Chavez, Fidel or anyone else may say about us.

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On February 05, 2010, publisher wrote:

So my views are uneducated opinions while your views are facts where the “evidence is clear, palpable and undeniable for you to refute them”.

Sure. And I’m the biased one?

Funny. Sad, but funny.

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On February 05, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

I was reading Mr. Alberto N Jones posts No. 87 and 89 and I’m kind of surprised.

You said ” These individuals from the comfort/air-cooled residences have anointed themselves as Cubanologists, although they are bent on ignoring every positive development in that nation.”

The moment you are making that comment, you seem to imply that you from your not-air-cooled residence know better than them the Cuban reality.

I wonder if you have ever been in Cuba or simply read Castro sponsored propaganda.

The comment about Teofilo Stevenson called my attention, why is Teofilo Stevenson different than any other athlete in the world.
Athletes are paid what they do best, practice their sport, you probably enjoy seeing a soccer game, an NBA, NFL or NHL game, and very likely have commented with your friends or family what this or that particular athlete is making, or for how much he was signed or transferred to that team. Why are Cuban athletes different??
Why you can see athletes from Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Mexico compete in the US, where obviously their salary is higher but when a Cuban do the same is a traitor?

In my opinion your point is completely wrong, Teofilo Stevenson was offered the opportunity to fight in the US and he decided not to do it, probably because due to a lot of pressure from the Castro government but I really do not know. I bet you that he had think many times about it and wondered what about if??

For your information there are water purification systems, pacemakers and high tech medical equipment pretty much everywhere in Cuba, sold by Philips, Siemens, GE and many other world firms. Many of them purchased by the Cuban government directly and other times using ghost firms in other countries.

Mr. Chandled did not “write despairingly about the 300,000 Cubans who fought a…..........” he simply gave his point of view that Fidel Castro’s decision of sending 300,000 Cubans out of a population of only 11 million to fight wars in Africa in the 1980s was bizarre. Let me tell you that not only Mr. Chandler but many Cubans including myself, and many Cuban families that lost their members in Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia etc, agree that that was a completely bizarre decision. That was a show of the power that Castro have in Cuba more than anything. He sent 300 000 Cubans to fight, but mysteriously none of his sons or close family.

The Cuban government had been very selfish for the last 45 of 51 years. Castro has done, is doing and would do anything in order to stay in power, doing what HE thinks is better for the Cubans, everybody else opinions are not important. He manages Cuba as what it is, his own backyard.

By the way I feel that the embargo is stupid and should be abolished but not for the reasons that you are mentioning, but because it does not work and is just another issue interfering between Cuba and US.

I’m also in favor of universal health care Canadian style, which by the way is extremely good and everybody is protected.

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On February 05, 2010, John wrote:

Some valid points there Yeyo, and thanks for returning to topic.
It seems that some are getting into the habit of ego-arguments over who has the most rightious political perspective and constantly comparing Cuba to other countries.
The basic facts of the ‘robolution’ legacy still remain;
Confiscation/stealing of private property and systematic ruin therafter.
Brutal extinction of all freedoms, rights, liberties, etc.
Allowing industy, agriculture and civil infrastructure to crumble to nothing.
Deluded, stuborn and maniacal dedication to an inept failed system.
Pathetic and habitual propaganda/lies of who is to blame
Blah de blah, we all know how the story goes.

There is only one culprit, and coincidently he has been ‘in office’ for the duration of all the above.
Get rid of the disease and we can begin to treat the patient.

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On February 05, 2010, publisher wrote:

“Get rid of the disease and we can begin to treat the patient.”

I REALLY like that quote.

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On February 07, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Yeyo (comment # 91): Would you term mr. Chandler’s assessment of current life in Cuba balanced or biased?

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On February 08, 2010, Alberto N Jones wrote:

It is not a matter of proving an article is biased or intentianally distorting the facts, it is how and with what intent it is written.  Anyone in the world could write a horror story about the United States, if they focused solely on our massive unemployment, national debt, school academic crisis, city violence, incarceration index, lack of health insurance, drug addition, wars of acquisition etc.

But is that really all and an accurate description of the United States?  What about its science, culture, research, creativity, high tech, freedom of speech/movement and so many other positive contributions to the world?

As cruel as it is to prohibit the sale of life-saving medicine, supplies or products to Cuba, is an unforgiving crime for us to knowingly deny people in the US access to a number of life-saving medicine/treatments that have been developed in Cuba, because it is “Politically Incorrect” to admit its existence.

Please tell the 200-300 parents that loose their children every summer to Bacterial Meningitis, that there is a vaccine that could have saved their child life, but someone decided otherwise.

Tell thousands of Diabetic patients that their lower limbs may have escaped amputation, by treating their wound with an existing product in Cuba, that we have kept out of reach for similar reasons.

Explain to a child, that their vein had to be poked everytime and IV was required, because there were ” Arterial Ports” 90 miles away, they could not access.

To whom these stupidities make sense?

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On February 08, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

I always remember Ramon de Campoamor (Spanish poet) poem, which says: “In this treacherous world nothing is either truth or lie; everything depends on the color of the crystal that one looks through.”

In my opinion Mr. Chandler’s assessment is very close to the reality. Few things had been hyperbolized but still in general the whole assessment is very close to the reality.

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On February 08, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Yeyo (comment # 96):
I might agree with you, if we had debated mr. Chandler’s article 17 years ago, when you could call Havana “a city of sorrow”. But then it would have been even more obvious, how erroneous it is to say that “little has changed in more than half a century”. Political leadership has not changed, but current life has undergone considerable changes – changes can both be negative and positive. Let us believe that mr. Chandler is in good faith, and that he has seen Cuba recently (when he saw shoes on a laundry line). But had he seen Havana in the nineties – or in the Soviet period – he would have noted the differences, especially if he wanted to give an idea of current life. Maybe he is just not a connoisseur of Cuba and has not been there regularly, which may account for what many readers see as his bias.
I agree with you that “few things have been hyperbolized”. Yes, quite a few. “... slogans that would make a North Korean cringe” (I don’t think so) – “... deliberate neglect and isolation (?)” – “... a majority (!) of the buildings are decayed beyond repair” (on the contrary it is impressing how well decayed historical buildings are restored) – “Latin America’s other delusional dictator Chavez” (like him or not, but “dictator” is not quite the word). Find more, if you like.
The article contained one peace of news to me: “... less than half the homes [in Havana’s older sections] are connected to the city sewers” – Yeyo: Is that correct? I have never seen such an unconnected home yet, and I have been in quite a few (between Malecón and Salvador Allende/ Bolívar). Is it correct, then it must have been the same, when Havana was “an elegant and prosperous capital”.
Cubans “go about their daily routines bereft of consumer goods ... largely conditioned to their impoverished lot.” You might also notice that surprisingly many maintain a decent, even comfortable, living through the more or less informal private economy, displaying impressing degrees of initiative and inventiveness. The multiplicity of private economic activity is a feature not to be neglected, when you will characterise current life in Cuba.
Bias or simple shortcoming – the main weakness of mr. Chandler’s article is its static view.

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On February 09, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

Dear Miguel,
Obviously you and I have different points of views or maybe as Campoamor said… everything depends on the color of the crystal that one looks through and looks like we are looking through different crystals to the same thing. 

I do not know whether Mr. Chandler has been recently in Cuba, however I did and in my personal opinion things have not changed a lot in Cuba during the last 17 years, and actually many have turned worst.  I lived the “Soviet period” and I’m of the opinion that in general most things were better then than now. Cuba had a tremendous dependency in the Soviet Union then but so does now with Venezuela.

During my last visit this January, I was positively surprised with many historic buildings being restored or already restored mostly in Old Habana, however, how many had been restored compared to the hundreds of thousands that are in fact decayed and many of them if not most of them beyond repairs.

I do not feel that Mr. Chandler statement : “less than half the homes [in Havana’s older sections] are connected to the city sewers” is accurate, but I do have seen many which connections had been blocked and other that do not have connections at all. If you walk around in some streets on some areas like Centro Habana, Cerro, Luyano etc, you may feel a funny rather strong sewer smell, and if you look further you would see sewers running openly on the streets.

You said “You might also notice that surprisingly many maintain a decent, even comfortable, living through the more or less informal private economy, displaying impressing degrees of initiative and inventiveness. The multiplicity of private economic activity is a feature not to be neglected, when you will characterize current life in Cuba.”
I do not know if you know that most forms of private economic activity are prohibited in Cuba, there are few forms permitted (room rentals, few small food posts or 12 chairs restaurants), but other than that is mostly prohibited and severely prosecuted.
Regarding the amount of Cubans that have a decent/ comfortable living, it depends on what you consider decent or comfortable. I feel that the amount of Cubans enjoying a comfortable living is under 10% and even that comfortable is quite far from what is considered comfortable in other Latin-American countries.

In my opinion static is a good word to be used with Cuba from the point of view of the living conditions of the population. The reach of the Education and Health were indisputably increased during the first 10 – 20 years of the process, but the quality of both had been decreased continuously during the last 10 – 15 years. 

In general during the last 30 years very few things have changed for better and most things are getting worst per day, including democracy and human rights in general.

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On February 11, 2010, Miguel wrote:

Dear Yeyo,
First of all thank you for introducing me to Ramón de Campoamor, whom I did not know. You and he may very well be right: I tend to view Cuba differently from you, to me it is an exotic country that I love for its wonderful people and beautiful sunsets, to you I suppose it is the country you love, but which you had to abandon, because you found no meaningful future there.
But our views need not be so different as you think. It seems to me that you talk about change as progress only, but change can also be for the worse, or simply for something different than before.
You say yourself that in the Soviet period “in general most things were better than now” (I agree as far as concern general material living standard) – is that not change? 
And will you not agree that things are much better today than in the early nineties, with the system of subsidized prizes on basic needs shrinking, the low wages of the old system falling behind, more ox-carts than cars on the “ocho vias” and empty streets after 9 p. m. for fear of muggings?
General living conditions may not have improved if we take the whole period with Castro, but certainly since the crisis following the disintegration of the Soviet bloc. So “static” is not a good characterisation, and the static view of Mr. Chandler’s article is in my opinion bad craftmanship.
I don’t think you can compare Cuba’s present relations with Venezuela with its former dependance on the USSR. The USSR was an extremely closed dictatorial superpower and authoritarian in its international relations. That is not the case with Venezuela.
Thank you for the information on the sewage problems that you can meet in some of Havana’s poorer districts (here we found another of Mr. Chandler’s many inaccuracies). Most probably I have met the things you mention without giving them a thought (my wife’s family live partly in Cerro, partly in Centro Habana, so I have spent much time in both places during the years).
I know that many private economic activities are subject to troublesome regulations or outright prohibited. But according to what I have seen this is most often disregarded – such activities are so widespread that prohibition cannot be enforced. Besides they are simply necessary to keep things going.
You are right that the education system has decayed deplorably in the latest decades, and that Castro’s project to place most preuniversity schools in the countryside has proved a disaster and is officially, but discreetly, recognized as such (I base this on a comment in Cuba’s TV news august last years). I have no reason to complain about the quality of health care in Cuba. When it comes to citizens’ political rights you may use the word “static”, not “worse”. Human rights seem to me to have improved in some fields as the society is far more open now than before. There is more freedom of conscience, and book- and TV-fiction deal rather openly with deplorable social phenomena as prostitution and delinquency.

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On December 23, 2010, Carlos Gonzalez wrote:

To all of you who support the Cuban government.  Go to a public place in Cuba, stand on a soap box and start talking about how much you dislike Fidel and his cohorts.  Lets see how long you last without the cops coming and taking you away.

The Cuban government is a repressive regime, there is no freedom of expression, no liberty. 

To all of my fellow American’s who support the Communist government in Cuba, try finding yourself a Cuban and talk with them about what a hell hole Cuba is. 

And if you want to blame Cuba’s plight on the American embargo, keep in mind that they do billions of dollars in trade with Canada, Spain and the rest of the world.  Making the whole embargo excuse a invalid point.

Please excuse my lack of writing style as I am just a simple car mechanic who was born in Miami, a son of Cuban immigrants.

Everyday that I wake up in the morning I thank god that I was born here in the United States of America. 

Thanks mom and dad

Carlos Gonzalez
Miami, Florida

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On December 23, 2010, Carlos Gonzalez wrote:

P.S. You know you are in a really Fu-ked up country when a being a cabbie is a better job that being a doctor.

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On January 30, 2011, Disappointed in this writing... wrote:

You know what…The truth is some people in Cuba, love Cuba and do love Fidel Castro some don’t.  Some people in America love Pres. Obama and some don’t.(get my point??? everyone is not going to be pleased).

This doesn’t make what Chandler (author of article) stated above wrong or right, IT IS JUST HIS VIEW.  Not the view of the masses not the view of the few.  It’s just HIS assessment, and he chose to take a negative point of view.
There are some people in Cuba who are comfortable with their environment.
But if you are looking at it from the outside in you can NEVER understand their way of life.

Example: If you are already used to making $2,000 usd a month as a secretary in USA and you judge a DOCTOR in Cuba making way less than you, of course it may seem unfortunate for the Cuban doctor.  BUT HE WHO NEVER HAD IT WILL NEVER MISS IT, BECAUSE HE NEVER HAD IT IN THE FIRST PLACE…

I mean does it make sense arguing about it? No.  It is what it is…Get over it, live ya life and die happy.

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On January 30, 2011, publisher wrote:

What you Commie wannabees forget is that US Presidents are ELECTED every four years and at the most can be President for eight years at the most.

NEITHER apply to Fidel Castro.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and there is no argument about that.

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On February 11, 2011, Burris McNeil wrote:

just back from Cuba mission trip - the country is falling apart - not much works except for the tourist - all public services are a wreck, the system is broke, never worked in the first place.

We should lift them embargo - things will change fast - maybe too fast but will change - better yet lift it in parts, a little a year say 10%
We drove around in new Chineese bus - think about that ?  90 miles from the USA and they buy bus’s from China - now that makes a lot of sense !  The two refinery operations I saw are spewing out black smoke, blowing right to Florida - polution A+ there, and toxic junk going into the ocean daily.
Lift the embargo - it will be good for the USA , good for Cuba, good for the environment.

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On February 11, 2011, Carlos Gonzalez wrote:

Like I said before, Cuba is a country with no freedoms.  Whats wrong with wanting a new car, an air conditioner for the house?

I agree that we should lift the embargo, but don’t blame all of Cuba’s problem on it.  They get plenty of business from Canada, Spain, Mexico and Europe.  The bottom line is that the communist system doesn’t work. 

Who cares about free health care if you can’t even get Tylenol.

Yes I agree that Cuba was a very corrupt country before Fidel took over but it’s just as bad now, except one thing.

There is a whole generation of Cuban’s who only understand how to live under a communist system. 
I have met plenty of them here in Miami.  Cuban’s who are shocked at how hard we have to work to make it in a capitalist system.  They are under the impression that the state can provide for all there living needs.

The United States isn’t a perfect country but we are a pretty darn good place to live.  Other wise why do so many people in the world want to immigrate here.?

To all you Americans who support Fidel Castro, talk to a Cuban, ask them what there days where like over there?  Then make an informend decision about Cuba and Fidel!!!!!!

Thanks Mom & Dad for comming to this country and allowing me to be born here.

Carlos Gonzalez
Miami, Florida

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On February 17, 2011, Isabella Hernandez wrote:

I agree with this article, my mother is from Brazil and my father is from Cuba, he is one of the few that was able to get out ” legally”
and he is always tell my siblings and I about the horrors in Cuba.
Carlos Gondzales,you talk about alot of things my father also told me. I still have family in Cuba, and it is very rare that we ever get to talk to them, besides letters.

Isabella
Flordia

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On March 15, 2011, Alex Petrov wrote:

Cuba was meant to be modeled after the USSR, where education, healthcare and social equality were installed after the revolution. However, as many of you are aware, the Soviets did not allow
freedom of expression.The same is taking place in Cuba. But Cuba is being deprived of goods due to the embargo, and lack of funds from the former USSR put the country into an economic crisis.
But Cubans are well educated, healthcare has no money, but still running. Most doctors were educated in Russia. For most part, Cubans are smarter overall than people from the west. New generations, however, are not as smart and not as educated because Castro’s regime is slowly dying due to lack of money.

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On March 23, 2011, Alex Petrov wrote:

I was in Cuba a long time ago. Cuba was building schools and hospitals. Most people lived modestly, but all were provided the soviet style
flats, education and healthcare. That was the best period for Cuban revolution.

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On April 01, 2011, unitethepeople wrote:

I can’t believe I read that whole argument…

There are a lot of angry people posting here, and I think your anger gets in the way of making progress on what to do to make Cuba a better place to live.

Just a few quick important points…

-Cuba is not the USA, they are allowed to have different values - not everyone desires ‘high fashion’ or expensive cars (which, by the way, contribute to smog and other air pollution)

-private property is not always a right. just because you can buy and own land, doesn’t mean the people living on it, or working on it, are ok with that. this is the major reason why socialist leaders appropriate land… globally, peasant farmers and factory workers are poor and at the whim of their landlors/owners

-Cuban music is amazing :D Cubans have fused elements from African/Indigenous/European and contemporary music to create amazing music. This fact to me speaks volumes. People with music in their lives are always happier and more social. Not only that, but the music speaks to the cultural roots of the people


I’m seeing a lot of hatred towards Fidel and Cuba on this page, and I’d like to say that yes, there are problems. Would replacing Fidel eliminate all of them? No. So sure, let’s look at electoral reform, etc. Fidel is old and will die soon. Many countries have a figurehead, like a constitutional monarchy. Maybe we should be writing about how the queen of England is still responsible for that country’s failings…

Have a nice day