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Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: samintx
Date: July 21, 2012 10:00PM
Something that impressed me about Cuba was the architecture left over from its checkered past. I have never been in a place where there was more varied and beautiful old architecture. This could be a gold mine for capitalism and picturesque tourism. The buildings are so graceful and uniquely throughout the city of Havana. I wanted to stop and photograph every site but couldn’t. The sad part is Cuba does not have the resources to maintain their infrastructure. Building after building is falling down minute by minute. The only maintained homes are owned by Embassies.

The stadium built to hold 5000 for the 1991 Pan American Games looked like junk. We also drove by a stadium that I believe was the site of mass executions, also in disrepair and ignored by our Cuban Guide.

From my photos you can see electrical wiring weaves a spider web over all the buildings. I cannot imagine this is safe. Like in Africa, neighbors tap into electrical wires to get free service. If discovered a heavy fine is incurred.

I can’t say much about these photos. These shots are not isolated but constant, street after street. Some vacant homes are piled with plastic bags of trash.

Our Cuban Guide would sometimes point out a large two-story home and proudly announce it was “privately owned”. This meant, I found out, 4-5 families were living in the large home. There are also no rules on maintenance. You could fix up your space and the other families could live in squalor. It comes down to buying paint or eating.

There are street sweepers and I imagine the men I saw cutting and trimming the narrow parkway with scythe and machete were Government workers.

The average Cuban earns about 20-25.00 CUC per month. Shoes cost 60 CUC. In the past ration books were issued for clothing. Now, only FOOD is purchased with ration stamps. Our Cuban Guide earns too much through his Guide job and his wife working so his two children were put on his parent’s rolls so they could get Food Ration books for the children. Even in Communism you can “work” the system.

You are not allowed to move into a home at will or move from one town to the next. The Government must approve the move. If you want to move in with your sister and you live in another town you have to get permission to make sure there is no overcrowding.
So much for the Communist state.

[s684.photobucket.com]

PS: Amazed I saw a BMW dealership! It was painted and a store front about 10ft wide. Not a show room. Maybe parts?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2012 10:06PM by samintx.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: ahs
Date: July 21, 2012 10:18PM
So much for putting politics above people. Think about that the next time your fall for a slogan instead of caring about the folks around you who are just trying to live their life.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Black
Date: July 21, 2012 10:22PM
I attended a kind of fascinating slide presentation years ago by a friend who rode (bicycle) across Cuba. He went with an acquaintance who as it turned out was more interested in cheap prostitution than anything. Sadly, it seems that it's not only customary but almost expected for the younger women of a family to supplement their income in this way in order to make sure there's enough food on the table.




New forum user map 8/2015: [www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: M>B>
Date: July 21, 2012 10:32PM
Looks a lot like places I have been in Mexico?

I think Mexico uses more colorful paint!
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: JoeM
Date: July 21, 2012 10:49PM
The photos unfortunately match the stories I hear from my Cuban friends and from my wife's family. We all hope that someday there will be better days for the people there.



JoeM
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 21, 2012 11:18PM
It's typical Carribean.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: July 21, 2012 11:54PM
Quote
Black
...who as it turned out was more interested in cheap prostitution than anything.


It’s a right of passage to remove venereal warts with a pair of pliers and scabs with emory cloth. Surely we’ve all done it at least a few times a year.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Manlove
Date: July 22, 2012 12:03AM
Neglect only happens in a Communist country...
[www.guardian.co.uk]
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 22, 2012 12:44AM
Detroit is one city, not the entire country.
But then, you knew that before posting, didn't you?



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 22, 2012 06:17AM
There is a key difference between Cuba and other struggling Latin American countries such Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador or Haiti. In Cuba you can see the beauty that was - decay has ruin it. In the other countries the squalor never rose above basic existence. If a home or business is in disrepair, it generally started out in poor shape. In Cuba the buildings were grand and beautiful but through lack of care have broken down.

The Cuban condition points to a system that could not maintain the previous model, let alone improve upon it.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 22, 2012 09:50AM
Great pictures!

The only reason that people go hungry is because of politics...
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 22, 2012 10:41AM
Quote
Ombligo
There is a key difference between Cuba and other struggling Latin American countries such Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador or Haiti. In Cuba you can see the beauty that was - decay has ruin it. In the other countries the squalor never rose above basic existence. If a home or business is in disrepair, it generally started out in poor shape. In Cuba the buildings were grand and beautiful but through lack of care have broken down.

The Cuban condition points to a system that could not maintain the previous model, let alone improve upon it.

So, what you're saying is... the previous system employed in Cuba, however imperfect, seems to have had some significant advantages over the current imperfect system in Cuba?

Imagine that....



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: surfer33
Date: July 22, 2012 10:45AM
Thank you for sharing your photos.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 22, 2012 12:00PM
Quote
Ombligo
There is a key difference between Cuba and other struggling Latin American countries such Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador or Haiti. In Cuba you can see the beauty that was - decay has ruin it. In the other countries the squalor never rose above basic existence. If a home or business is in disrepair, it generally started out in poor shape. In Cuba the buildings were grand and beautiful but through lack of care have broken down.

The Cuban condition points to a system that could not maintain the previous model, let alone improve upon it.

That, and our ridiculous, petulant trade embargo for the last 50 years didn't help either.



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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 22, 2012 12:07PM
Quote
Uncle Wig
That, and our ridiculous, petulant trade embargo for the last 50 years didn't help either.

So, we ARE the center of the world? Because that embargo only applies to US goods, and nothing has stopped Europe, Asia, and South American from bettering the Cuban condition for 50 years.

We didn't create the conditions in Cuba, we just refuse to support the regime that CREATES and CONTINUES those conditions.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: samintx
Date: July 22, 2012 12:18PM
Quote
Paul F.
Quote
Uncle Wig
That, and our ridiculous, petulant trade embargo for the last 50 years didn't help either.

So, we ARE the center of the world? Because that embargo only applies to US goods, and nothing has stopped Europe, Asia, and South American from bettering the Cuban condition for 50 years.

We didn't create the conditions in Cuba, we just refuse to support the regime that CREATES and CONTINUES those conditions.

Any country in the world that sells to Cuba and the product has 10% US product in it is given a thump on the head by the US and stops selling to Cuba that product. Rauol is loosening up. While I was there a US ship loaded with Medical supplies arrived but no mention by Cubans. Some of the things we have done pre-Castro I was not aware of....and some of the demands post Castro seem stringent but Cuba did pose a Nuclear threat and still could. There are two sides to every coin. I just don't know if we are accomplishing anything at this point with the embargo. Seems we could accomplish more dealing with them.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 22, 2012 12:23PM
The embargo is nothing more than political theatre - for both us and them. The Cubans do get a lot of propaganda mileage out of it.

Except for agricultural products, they couldn't afford anything we make anyway. Certainly not iPhones that are actually made in China.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 22, 2012 12:38PM
Sam, yes, Cuba (that is, the USSR via Cuba) did pose a very serious nuclear threat. But that is no longer possible unless Russia invades Cuba first or works out some kind of devil's bargain. Cuba is no longer a Soviet satellite.

Paul, funny how you'll discount the USA's economic influence when it suits your argument. The embargo has also applied to U.S. tourism, and there is a lot of money in that. I'm glad that it's loosening up, but I'll also be sad to see the day when Cuba is overrun with American hotel chains, fast food restaurants, and so on.

And we're also more than happy to support the regime in China, which arguably creates a lot more onerous conditions for its people than Raul & Fidel.



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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Black
Date: July 22, 2012 02:30PM
Quote
Uncle Wig

And we're also more than happy to support the regime in China, which arguably creates a lot more onerous conditions for its people than Raul & Fidel.

Very good point.




New forum user map 8/2015: [www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: samintx
Date: July 22, 2012 04:30PM
Quote
Black
Quote
Uncle Wig

And we're also more than happy to support the regime in China, which arguably creates a lot more onerous conditions for its people than Raul & Fidel.

Very good point.

You took the words right out of the UN propagandist we had an hour lecture/slides from. He said America trades with countries that are worse on human rights than Cuba. Strange comment but true. Cuba is relaxing some.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 22, 2012 05:14PM
Quote
samintx
Quote
Black
Quote
Uncle Wig

And we're also more than happy to support the regime in China, which arguably creates a lot more onerous conditions for its people than Raul & Fidel.

Very good point.

You took the words right out of the UN propagandist we had an hour lecture/slides from. He said America trades with countries that are worse on human rights than Cuba. Strange comment but true. Cuba is relaxing some.

He's right of course, and Communism isn't a prerequisite for crappy human rights. But why do you call him a propagandist?



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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 22, 2012 05:57PM
Don't include me in that "we" you speak of regarding China... I'm not a big fan of dealing with China either. Or a host of other countries. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belarus, Venezuela, the list goes on.

190 countries deal with Cuba... WE are not responsible for poverty in Cuba. Period. The Cuban government is.
And there are plenty of tourists from Canada, the UK, the EU, Japan, etc to take up the slack - so we're not responsible for their lack of tourist infrastructure either.

You made an idiotic statement that is not just wrong, but laughably so, and now try to turn the conversation to "other things we're doing wrong" to distract from it.

I look forward to the day when we deal LESS with China (etc), and the day when Cuba begins reforms and we can START dealing with them.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: samintx
Date: July 22, 2012 06:22PM
Because part of the trip was the ability of the Communist government to give us the "word". If you go on a regular vacation you don't expect a government agent to call you to a meeting and tell you everything your country has done wrong according to them, do you? I call that propoganda.




Quote
Uncle Wig
Quote
samintx
Quote
Black
Quote
Uncle Wig

And we're also more than happy to support the regime in China, which arguably creates a lot more onerous conditions for its people than Raul & Fidel.

Very good point.

You took the words right out of the UN propagandist we had an hour lecture/slides from. He said America trades with countries that are worse on human rights than Cuba. Strange comment but true. Cuba is relaxing some.

He's right of course, and Communism isn't a prerequisite for crappy human rights. But why do you call him a propagandist?
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: August West
Date: July 22, 2012 06:55PM
Quote

WE are not responsible for poverty in Cuba.

WE do quite well at home, thank you.

US Poverty rate back to high levels.

ETA: Don't ignore the effects of US Hegemony on the Cuban embargo, either, Paul.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2012 06:58PM by August West.
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: July 22, 2012 07:00PM
Hey Sam...taking this back in the right direction...thanks so much for sharing your pictures. Looking at travel pictures from people you don't know is the best as nothing needs an explanation or a response. smiling smiley



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 22, 2012 08:29PM
Because part of the trip was the ability of the Communist government to give us the "word". If you go on a regular vacation you don't expect a government agent to call you to a meeting and tell you everything your country has done wrong according to them, do you? I call that propoganda.

Sure, I agree, except that you said it was a UN guy, not a Cuban gov't guy. It doesn't surprise me that the Cuban gov't would send out a handler to give you "the word." That is surely propaganda. But I don't think the UN is the same thing.



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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 22, 2012 08:33PM
Don't include me in that "we"

Hey Paul: you're part of "we" whether you like it or not.

WE are PARTIALLY responsible for the low standard of living in Cuba. "Partially" being the operative word. Clearly Communism doesn't work as an economic or political system. That doesn't mean we can't make it worse.



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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: samintx
Date: July 22, 2012 08:46PM
Quote
Uncle Wig
Because part of the trip was the ability of the Communist government to give us the "word". If you go on a regular vacation you don't expect a government agent to call you to a meeting and tell you everything your country has done wrong according to them, do you? I call that propoganda.

Sure, I agree, except that you said it was a UN guy, not a Cuban gov't guy. It doesn't surprise me that the Cuban gov't would send out a handler to give you "the word." That is surely propaganda. But I don't think the UN is the same thing.

The presenter said he had been at the UN in a government capacity. What he did I don't know...translate? I guess I should have clarified that. THey didn't tell us anymore of his background but I'm sure he is an "educator".

The Government guide was not allowed to eat in non goverment restaurants we went to. Paladores. (sp?)
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Re: Some sad observations on Cuba
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 23, 2012 08:27AM
Thank you again for sharing your experiences with all of us.

When I was in Pakistan in the 80's I noted that the most beautiful buildings were either government built mosques or monuments, and then the British "Raj" era buildings. Which were in 'old town' areas, and were generally tumble-down and neglected. India was much the same way at the time, but there was an energetic rebuilding and rebirth in process.

India nowadays looks very much like a modern 1st world nation, until you go behind the gleaming buildings into the tumbledown shacks of the poor classes.

Cuba's policies and processes have kept it backwards. Ditto for many of the Carribean nations. When dictatorship or kleptocracy rule, the people have no way to improve their lives.
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