Originally Posted by canucksailorguy
Here's another bogey -
The Cuban people are, by and large, poor. However, to say they suffer terribly isn't entirely accurate. They are a very happy people, they are fed and housed by the state, and their health care, although not great, is also paid for.
As for wealth in Cuba - Raoul Castro has opened up opportunities for Cubans to start their own small businesses - in home restaurants, driving one of the ancient American cars as a cab, etc. These people are starting to realize that they can get ahead. Also, Cubans working in tourism do well from tips, etc., and many highly educated Cubans - lawyers, teachers, etc., opt to work in tourism for that reason.
Finally, Cubans with American family often receive money and goods from their families, allowing them to live better than the average Cuban. While these three groups do not approach the wealth of the Castro brothers - who live in immense estates just a short distance from Marina Hemingway - in my opinion, the changes in levels of wealth amongst average Cubans will, in the long run, be the death of the Communist system there.
Will that change Cuba in other ways? Not necessarily - take a look at China, which has opted for capitalism while continuing rigid state control of everything else. That seems to be the way Raoul is taking Cuba. Time will tell.
Quoted from the old Pravda?
"they are fed and housed by the state"
The last trip my brother took down there, he stayed in the house of one of the Cubans. There were no windows in the house, and they only had electricity for a few hours a day. But, they couldn't use it because all of their outlets were burned out and they couldn't get any more. For a bus to take kids to church, they were using an old dump truck that the kids would ride in. It didn't even have working headlights. Almost no one had a working car. The whole yard was fenced to raise pigs to eat and he said the smell was unbelievable most of the time.
The last night he was there, he stayed in a hotel, that although run down, was much nicer than where he had been staying. There, he met dozens of foreigners, who were staying there and going to the beaches, who were sure they were seeing the real Cuba.