November 27, 2016

"The Last Communist City/A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see."

A Spring 2014 article by Michael J. Totten. Excerpt:
Many tourists return home convinced that the Cuban model succeeds where the Soviet model failed. But that’s because they never left Cuba’s Elysium.... Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.....

Communism destroyed Cuba’s prosperity, but the country experienced unprecedented pain and deprivation when Moscow cut off its subsidies after the fall of the Soviet Union. Journalist and longtime Cuba resident Mark Frank writes vividly about this period in his book Cuban Revelations. “The lights were off more than they were on, and so too was the water. . . . Food was scarce and other consumer goods almost nonexistent. . . . Doctors set broken bones without anesthesia. . . . Worm dung was the only fertilizer.” He quotes a nurse who tells him that Cubans “used to make hamburgers out of grapefruit rinds and banana peels; we cleaned with lime and bitter orange and used the black powder in batteries for hair dye and makeup.” “It was a haunting time,” Frank wrote, “that still sends shivers down Cubans’ collective spines.”
Hamburgers made from grapefruit rinds and banana peels and cleaning with lime and bitter orange sound like something American hipsters might effuse over (though I'm thinking "lime" is not the kind of lime I'm used to seeing near "orange"). Black powder from batteries for hair dye and makeup... that's something else entirely. A tragic testimony to the longing for beauty. You might think that in abject poverty people would dispense with things that are patently unnecessary, but perhaps these things feel more necessary. Toxic makeup has a long history.

88 comments:

Oso Negro said...

In fairness, there really isn't abject poverty in the Madison, or Boulder or Austin. Even the New York City of your youth lacked grinding Third World poverty, where the poor people are skinny. Even in the poorest countries, people still have aspirations and want to look good. Cuba is likely to have a frightful period after the regime finally falls. There have been plenty of people supporting it and facilitating it all these years. They will need a lot of payback to balance things out. And the are cleaning with quick lime, I am sure.

rhhardin said...

My hamburgers are made of soybeans, not grapefruit.

Chanie said...

Just more of that "fake news" I've been hearing about. The real news websites assure me there is a lot we could learn from Cuba.

David Begley said...

Fixing Cuba would be a nice project for Obama. He can do it.

Greg Hlatky said...

My betters tell me the health care and education in Cuba are great. I notice, however, none of them have taken up residence there.

sinz52 said...

With the passage of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro's demise soon too,

only the Korean DMZ will remain as a relic of the Cold War.

I hope I live long enough to see North and South Korea reunified, so that we can finally close the books on the whole Cold War era.

CWJ said...

David Begley,

Perhaps he should establish a foundation for the purpose.

jaydub said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoAUBSgmDLY&t=2s

rehajm said...

I notice, however, none of them have taken up residence there.

None of the Lena Dunhams threatened to move there, either.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Maybe imminent death makes people more urgent to reproduce.

An evolutionary explanation, possibly.

AllenS said...

Here' some more of Totten's work. Cuba with some pictures:

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/once-great-city-havana

Sydney said...

This passage from the article:
"Cubans certainly aren’t happy about it, but the tourists are another story—especially the world’s remaining Marxoid fellow travelers, who show up in Havana by the planeload. Such people are clearly unteachable. I got into an argument with one at the Floridita when I pointed out that none of the patrons were Cuban. “There are places in the United States that some can’t afford,” she retorted. Sure, but come on. Not even the poorest Americans have to pay a week’s wage for a beer."

Made me think of this poem that has gone viral. (You have to read page 1 and page 2 to understand. Hit "next page" at the top of the page to see page 2.)

coupe said...

sinz52 said...I hope I live long enough to see North and South Korea reunified...

Not likely. China and South Korea are completely incompatible. The North provides a buffer zone.

A buffer zone with a barking dog.

Virgil Hilts said...

Someone should give those still in Cuba copies of the before and after photos of East Germany (sending them links wouldn't work given the control there of internet access). http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/photo-gallery-east-germany-s-transformation-fotostrecke-59943.html
Could be only people left in Cuba by this time are sheep, so may not be much hope. But with Trump, suprises may happen.

Paul said...

Hard times produce strong people
Strong people produce good times
Good times produce weak people
Weak people produced hard times.

And that is the cycle we see so often.

But in Communist countries, it's always hard times.

Darrell said...

Black powder = carbon.

Wilbur said...

"Not likely. China and South Korea are completely incompatible. The North provides a buffer zone.
A buffer zone with a barking dog."

Coupe, you're right. But strange things can happen. I never thought I'd see the USSR collapse.

Lauderdale Vet said...

My business partner vacationed in Cuba several times over the past couple decades, arriving on a sportfish via the Bahamas.

He always brought stacks and stacks of fashion magazines.

It was better than currency there.

Crimso said...

"Toxic makeup has a long history."

So does toxic government. Something the founders of this country understood full well, and which has been mostly forgotten. Even government that's only a little toxic (proportionally speaking) causes an increasingly great deal of ill on an absolute scale as its powers increase.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

Tony Montana: You a communist? Huh? How'd you like it, man? They tell you all the time what to do, what to think, what to feel. Do you wanna be like a sheep? Like all those other people? Baah! Baah!

Immigration Officer #3: I don't have to listen to this bullshit!

Tony Montana: You wanna work eight, ten fucking hours? You own nothing, you got nothing! Do you want a chivato on every corner looking after you? Watching everything you do? Everything you say, man? Do you know I eat octopus three times a day? I got fucking octopus coming out of my fucking ears. I got the fuckin' Russian shoes my feet's comin' through. How you like that? What, you want me to stay there and do nothing? Hey, I'm no fuckin' criminal, man. I'm no puta or thief. I'm Tony Montana, a political prisoner from Cuba. And I want my fuckin' human rights, now!

[slams desk]

Tony Montana: Just like the President Jimmy Carter says. Okay?

Immigration Officer #1: Carter should see this human right. He's really good. What do you say, Harry?

Immigration Officer #3: I don't believe a word of this shit! They all sound the same to me. That son of a bitch Castro is shittin' all over us. Send this bastard to Freedom Town. Let them take a look at him. Get him outta here.

Tony Montana: You know somethin'? You can send me anywhere. Here, there, this, that; it don't matter. There's nothing you can do to me that Castro has not done.

also:

Tony Montana: I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card... I'm gonna carve him up real nice.


I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

My middle daughter, a Bernie voter, traveled to Cuba about ten years ago through Mexico. She traveled with a cousin who was presumably of similar political persuasion. She was fluent in Spanish, which was the source of her disillusion.

I over heard her talking to a friend about her trip. She wanted to see "If Socialism really works."

She was able to talk to locals without much supervision by the authorities. She learned Cuba was and is a prison.

She is still a Bernie voter but more realistic.

She speaks and reads four languages, including Arabic. Her sister has been trying for years to recruit her for the FBI but with no success.

She is now doing very well in the art world.

Michael K said...

He always brought stacks and stacks of fashion magazines.

It was better than currency there.


We used to do that in Mexico. Only with "Playboys." Better than bribes with money.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

But the Cuban model would have worked if the US didn't have a "blockade."

Which is an odd - i.e., illogical - argument to make: Castroism would have worked if the capitalists had just provided the funds for it.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Cuban healthcare is so wonderful that several years ago Castro went to Spain for medical treatment.Unfortunately, whatever they did added a few years to the old shitbag's life.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Castroism would have worked if the capitalists had just provided the funds for it.

It's weirder than that: what the capitalists would have done given the chance is what Castro's fans ordinarily call "exploitation". Cuba failed because it wasn't exploited enough!

pst314 said...

"She is still a Bernie voter but more realistic."
That's sort of like saying that after seeing Nazi Germany she is still a fascist but more realistic.

Michael K said...

"several years ago Castro went to Spain for medical treatment"

I think the Spanish surgeons came to Cuba to rescue the old bastard from the results of incompetent Cuban surgeons' work.

Maybe I'm think of Chavez.

Paddy O said...

"Even in the poorest countries, people still have aspirations and want to look good."

Unrestrained capitalists steal land and resources from the people.

Unrestrained socialists steal land and resources and hope from the people.

There is still a voice for the poor to fight against capitalism's excess.

In Socialism the poor have no voice because the powerful are claiming to already be acting on the side of the poor.

That's why socialism is more evil. Because when the supposed advocate becomes the actual oppressor, there is no where else for the poor to turn. Life is simply diminished.

Though, hope still finds a way, which becomes focused on finding a way out. The only hope for life is away.

tcrosse said...

Canada doesn't blockade Cuba, and does in fact trade with Cuba. But Cuba doesn't have much to sell, and is not very good at paying its bills, or so a Canadian explained to me. There's the tourist attraction of being a picturesque third-world shithole, which the glitterati love, but which doesn't help the ordinary Cuban much.

EDH said...

Thinking of ways to make anti-Trump heads explode: imagine a CIA coup followed by Trump entering Havana as the new Yankee "Superman".

buwaya puti said...

Totten is one of those journalists who in less politically stupid times would have been publishing in the Mass Media, and been well rewarded for it. He goes where angels fear to tread - not Cuba, thats safe enough, but he's been in many sticky spots - and lays out the prosaic truth.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
Maybe imminent death makes people more urgent to reproduce.

An evolutionary explanation, possibly."

Reproduce? Uh, no:


"The beleaguered Cuban population’s response was a retreat into sullen despair. By the 1990s, the island’s suicide rate had trippled from pre-revolutionary levels, and one of every three pregnancies ended in abortion. The birth rate dropped so low that Cubans weren’t even replacing themselves: Women average fewer than two children apiece.

By the time Castro left the Cuban presidency in early 2008, the country’s rapidly aging population was the second-oldest in Latin America. A fifth of the country had hit retirement age, and the percentage was steadily rising. The workers weren’t the only thing geriatric about the Cuban economy: Its industrial underpinning of ancient Soviet factories and machinery was crumbling. In 2007, production of 14 of Cuba’s 20 key products was lower than in 1989. One, the sugar crop, was the smallest in a hundred years."

David said...

"I hope I live long enough to see North and South Korea reunified..."

If it happens that quickly, it will be as a post war ash field.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Michael K., no, Castro went to Spain:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-426119/Castro-admitted-Spanish-hospital.html

Sebastian said...

"Cuba failed because it wasn't exploited enough!" See, theory says that you can only have real communism after driving exploitation to the max.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

It's weirder than that: what the capitalists would have done given the chance is what Castro's fans ordinarily call "exploitation". Cuba failed because it wasn't exploited enough!

True. It's analogous to the left calling the US a racist, sexist, fascist, unjust nation that exploits the poor and people of color.

And yet at the same time they want open borders and also demand that the US let in anyone who wants to come here.

So, why would you want all of these people of color to emigrate to such an evil country that will exploit and abuse them? Why not tell them NOT to come to such a terrible place?

It makes no sense.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Totten is an exceptional writer.

Laslo Spatula said...

“Scarface 2: The Vengeance of Marco”

“Marco, how you doing’? Long time, no see.”

“How I’m doing?” How the fuck you think I’m doing’, mang? I was gonna be President, and that puta Trump, he fucked it all up. How the fuck you think I’m doing’?”

“Marco, shit happens. You’ll get another chance.”

“Shit happens? I shit on ’shit happens’, mang. It was MY time, and that orange fucker, he took it from me! If he comes to Miami he is a dead man!”

“Marco, you can’t kill a President…”

“What the fuck you talkin’ about? I’m Cuban, mang — no one tells me what I can’t do. I know people, they kill him for a fish taco.”

“Marco, I worry about you talking like this — it’s dangerous…”

“Dangerous? I’m the one who is dangerous, mang. I’m-a explode with danger! I got danger in my BALLS!”

“Maybe you should drink some water…”

“Drink water? Drink water, mang? You fuckin’ with me? Everyone makes fun of Marco for drinking water on TV, and now you start in on it? You better be careful with me, I got people who’ll chop you into little pieces, mang, I turn you into Ropa Vieja and feed you to the elderly.”

“I meant no offense, Marco. You just have to wait four years, that’s all…”

“Four years is a long time, mang. I’m Cuban, I ain’t got time for four years. Orange Boy, he got something comin’, you hear me? I got a dwarf who’ll take care of this, no problem. He’s small but he knows how to get shit done.”

“A dwarf?”

“Yeah, no one expects it coming from a dwarf, mang. Here, I’ll introduce you: say hello to my little friend…”

I am Laslo.

AprilApple said...

Thank you for posting this. I've read it a few times. Totten is a real journalist.

pst314 said...

A good blog about the real Cuba:
http://babalublog.com/

AprilApple said...

"But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”


What the corruptocrats want for America. Power and Clinton-Soros wealth on top, the rest of us struggling. As the media promises us if we just vote for more corruptocrat, life will get better.

AprilApple said...

Capitalism is commerce. Yes - it can be abused, but it's not a system of government.

Socialism is a system of government that removes all power from the individual.

Michael K said...

Exiled, you're right. It was Chavez who had his surgery in Cuba and it was botched.

Too bad he was not as smart as Castro who went to Span instead of the wonderful Cuban health care,

Sam L. said...

Harshing the mellow of the socialists and progressives is just so H8ful!!!!!111111!!!!!

AprilApple said...

Fidel Castro Finally Dies, But His Apologists Live On

"One of the most prevalent forms of moral myopia on western campuses and their downstream affiliates is a tendency to excuse whatever oppressive totalitarian violence is committed in the name of the left.

This inevitably elevates the ideological over the individual and that never ends well in the storybook of human history. And when the full story of Castro’s personal enrichment and paranoid hold on power for more than a half-century at the expense of individual rights and individual life becomes better understood, those folks who fell for the combination of political myth and personal charisma, the late night conversations over drinks and cigars, will have been exposed as enablers to his tropical tyranny."



We're looking at you, American leftist elites, leftist academics, progressive leftist democrat faux-journalists, and Obama.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

It's not just Cuba or Venezuela. Communism destroys everything it touches. I was working in East Germany after the wall cane down. Same scenes there.

http://m.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-59943-5.html

chickelit said...

Artists suffered too, moistening cadmium-laced paint brushes with saliva.

AprilApple said...

Trudeau proves himself to be a bigger loathsome tyrant-excusing putz than our pathetic Obama.

Ted Cruz reminds us:

"Two decades of “Castro-is-dead” rumors are finally at an end. And the race is on to see which world leader can most fulsomely praise Fidel Castro’s legacy, while delicately averting their eyes from his less savory characteristics. Two dul -elected leaders of democracies who should know better, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and American president Barack Obama, are leading the way. Mr. Trudeau praised Castro as a “legendary revolutionary and orator” who “made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation.” Mr. Obama offered his “condolences” to the Cuban people, and blandly suggested that “history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure.” Now, he added, we can “look to the future.” With all due respect to Mr. Obama, the 60 years Fidel Castro spent systematically exploiting and oppressing the people of Cuba provide more than enough history to pass judgment on both Fidel and, now more importantly, his brother Raul."

Big Mike said...

Robert Cook will be along any minute now to explain why Cuba is not true communism and Venezuela isn't true socialism. The contrast between East and West Germany back in the day. Communism just wasn't implemented correctly, that's all.

And it never will be, because it never can be.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left romanticized and supported Castro. They thought America was too racist, too corporate, too militaristic, and that Cuba, a Soviet proxy state, armed with nuclear weapons, would serve as a check and balance against the USA.

The Left was wrong. They ignored the political prisoners, they ignored the lack of free elections, they ignored the open hostility and imprisonment of homosexuals, they ignored the lack of free emigration.

Another reason to dislike the Left, and vote for Trump.

Captain Drano said...

pst314 said...
"A good blog about the real Cuba:
http://babalublog.com"

It is a great blog--I have been following it for years, especially after I heard about the Ladies in White. Just infuriates me when women like the nutjob plant lady Stein praise the Castro regime.

rhhardin said...

There's a worldwide ham contest yesterday and today, with no points awareded for contacting your own country, so it's half foreigners audible instead of US stations cluttering the band talking to each other.

I heard one Cuban yesterday and none today, in sporadic listening.

In sporadic sending (the radio is next to the mouse, if there's nothing else to surf) I worked

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Madeira Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, Columbia, Cayman Islands, Domican Republic, Curacao, and Canary Islands, with a radio the size of a coffee cup.

Evidently they're not broken up about Castro in the surrounding area.

Rusty said...

"But the Cuban model would have worked if the US didn't have a "blockade."

Th US was the only country blockading Cuba. Cuba has the whole rest of the world to draw on and it still sucks.
And don't count on Cuba liberalizing when Raul finally cacks. The Castro family is it's own criminal enterprise. There's another Castro to fill the gap.

Mary Beth said...

According to Wikipedia, that "black powder" (Manganese Dioxide) has a long history in cosmetics: Manganese dioxide, in the form of umber, was one of the earliest natural substances used by human ancestors. It was used as a pigment at least from the middle paleolithic. It was possibly used first for body painting, and later for cave painting. Some of the most famous early cave paintings in Europe were executed by means of manganese dioxide.

Lem said...

Cuban technological disobedience..

Link http://www.vice.com/video/the-technological-disobedience-of-ernesto-oroza

AprilApple said...

It's sad that the Cuban people are still under the thumb of the Castro family.
The humanitarian thing to do is to help the Cuban people oust the Castros once and for all. Not that it will ever happen, but it should.

Michael K said...

One reason communism may last longer in Cuba than it did in Russia is the weather. Cold weather is a synonym for reality.

If Cuba was cold, communism would be already gone. The same is true of California.

Fen said...

It's something I struggle with. In a Republic like ours, the concept of Liberty demands that all people be tolerated and treated humanely, even the mass murderers.

But marxists? Socialism is about slaves and masters, and slavers deserve to be shot in the street.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Castro is in the safe place he deserves.

David said...

In Castro's defense, they never had a controversy about the outsourcing of prisons.

David said...

Shaggy Dog Lazlo is in the building.

William said...

I watched Meet The Press earlier. They had on a NY Tmes journalist (I know, oxymoron). The journalist said that she was originally from Liberia and took an Afrocentric view of Castro. She claimed that Castro sent soldiers to fight the South Africans and that she was grateful to him for that service. Well, ok, but didn't Castro also send soldiers to Ethiopia to help install Mengitsu. Mengitsu, even by African standards, was a genocidal maniac who massacred a goodly portion of that country's population. Castro also sent troops to Angola to intervene in the civil war there. I forget who the good guys were or even if there were any good guys in that struggle. But, in any event, Cubans were there fighting. I wonder how enthusiastic those Cuban soldiers were to fight and die in such lands. I would why a NYT journalist is oblivious to such issues.

buwaya puti said...

Its difficult to understand the politics of a foreign land, if one hasn't some background in foreign lands or with foreign peoples and their history. And its very difficult to put this across in even a good book. Thats why Hugh Thomas had to go back to the 18th century to explain Cuba.

Yes, get his book, "Cuba: A History" from the Althouse Amazon portal. Not on Kindle unfortunately.

The Cubans have a lot in common with Americans of the equivalent class - the people have nearly the same exposure to modern mass media (TV came very early to Cuba), they have a large class of ex-African slaves freed in a bloody struggle (a lost struggle, but the slaves got freed pretty soon after antway), large 19th-early 20th century immigration from Europe, rapid and distuptive industrialization, bloody independence wars that were very much civil wars too, plenty of contact with the US across a very narrow sea (Cuban revolutionaries were always running off to New York), etc. And sixty years ago I guess, as often described, if you squinted a bit, it would have passed for a prosperous 1950's version of Florida. A Spanish-speaking Florida, with considerably more glamor.

And yet, they most certainly haven't and dont operate along the lines of the US, and I bet much less so now.

Consider this - the best analog I can think of for the political alignments of Castros war against Batista in US terms would have Bernie Sanders supporters (Castros lot of largely white university radicals); against Batistas alliance of the SEIU (if the SEIU were actually run by black people), the NAACP, if that were armed and uniformed as the Cuban Army, and Wall Street.

If that seems odd to you, consider that Cuba is not such a foreign place.

Frank LdR said...

Fidel Castro openly encouraged the harassment of gays during the 70's and 80's. To this day Cuba is the only country to quarantine people with HIV/AIDS(a policy since abandoned).The music of the Beatles, Doors and Rolling Stones banned until the 90's. The list of intellectual and cultural restrictions enormous even by totalitarian measure and press freedoms nonexistent. Don't expect this Cuban reality to interfere with the Leftist post mortem adulation orgy headed our way. The intellectual and media denial mechanism of the Cuban Revolution speaks more of dishonesty, than ignorance.

William said...

Do you think the Cuban soldiers who fought in Africa suffer from PTSD? Did they have to undergo repeated deployments? Do they get adequate follow up care for their wounds and disabilities with the Cuban health service? Why do only American soldiers suffer from such things?

Frank LdR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Vault Dweller said...

I think the brains of people on the left and right work differently. At least, insofar as how they make moral judgments. That is the only way how I can explain the widely different views people have of what ostensibly is the same person or the same event.

Michael said...

I know operators of hotels in Cuba. They pay the Govt. US$350 per month for each hotel employee. The Cuban Govt. then pays the workers US$15 per month. Nice system, eh?

Allen S: Thanks for the link.

Michael K said...

the best analog I can think of for the political alignments of Castros war against Batista in US terms would have Bernie Sanders supporters (Castros lot of largely white university radicals); against Batistas alliance of the SEIU (if the SEIU were actually run by black people),

Not many know that Batista was black, or at least as black as Obama. The whites pretty much left as refugees and I think blacks make up a very large proportion of what is left. The best estimate is that 62% of the present Cuban population is black or some significant percentage black. The NY Times, of course, is worried about racism.

rcocean said...

Did you know that Papa Hemingway gave $10,000 to the Cuban communist party in the early 50s?

The best thing Castro did was nationalize "Papa's" house and drive him out of Cuba.

rcocean said...

Did you know that Papa Hemingway gave $10,000 to the Cuban communist party in the early 50s?

The best thing Castro did was nationalize "Papa's" house and drive him out of Cuba.

rcocean said...

And I just want to repeat what others have stated -Cuba has been able to trade with almost the entire world - except the USA. Not only that, but there's no law against selling or buying stuff from Cuba, its just that you can't do it on credit.

Mountain Maven said...

So detached. So leftist.

SukieTawdry said...

The WHO has called the Cuban health care system "a model for the world." And apparently there are some world-class facilities in Havana for the foreign visitor and observer. Medical care for the ordinary Cuban, however, is quite another story.

Cubans who wish to see their community physician must queue up early in the morning and although healthcare is free, they better be bearing something of value if they actually expect to see that physician. Drugs like antibiotics are in short supply because much of the already meager inventory is diverted to the black market. Hospital facilities are in dreadful shape, filthy, unkempt and in ill-repair. Patients must bring their own linens or they will be expected to lie on bare mattresses soiled with bodily fluids. Ancient instruments are used from patient to patient without being sterilized. Anesthetic may or may not be available. Community physicians are not kept up to date on medical advancements. Patients in mental facilities die of exposure.

Cuba trains thousands of physicians and surgeons. But instead of sending them out into the community, the Castros farm them out to foreign countries and charge handsomely for their services while paying them a paltry $40 or $50 a month.

Our useful idiots go down there and are shown gleaming facilities, top notch equipment and well-stocked pharmacies. Then they come home and preach to us about the superior Cuban healthcare system. Is there a bigger group of dupes, or dopes, on the planet?

n.n said...

Catastrophic anthropogenic economic misalignment.

Edward Bo said...

You must admit that Castro's system did a marvelous job of preventing the diseases of affluence.

SukieTawdry said...

The Left romanticized and supported Castro.

At one point, we all romanticized and supported him. I remember when Fidel came to New York after the rebels took Havana. To a junior high school girl, he was quite the romantic figure, rugged, handsome, exotic, willing to lay down his life for freedom and human dignity. He was there primarily to raise money for cause and went home with a shitload of it. Imagine our chagrin shortly after when we found out he was just one more commie stooge.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Would liberal/progressives who are defending Castro's regime really want to live under such a system?

Would you really?

If not then why do you think Cubans would want to? Why can't they have healthcare AND political freedoms? Freedom to read different ideas, to travel, to associate with others. Basic human dignity. Instead they're treated like property of the state.

If conservatives held this view they'd be called racists. Well, they're called racists simply for not being liberals but that's another problem.

Paddy O said...

The journalist said that she was originally from Liberia and took an Afrocentric view of Castro.

Africa is a big continent. I'm reading a very interesting book that's an interview with/autobiography by Robert Cardinal Sarah, a Catholic cardinal from Ghana. He is extremely critical of Marxist governments, having experienced them from within.

Paddy O said...

Would liberal/progressives who are defending Castro's regime really want to live under such a system?

Not even Castro would want to live under such s system. He would have been executed long ago for attempting to overthrow anyone like himself he had to live under.

They want to live above such a system and be in charge of those who live under it. Just like Hillary didn't want to live under the system, she didn't feel obligated to its rules, but thought others should be.

Some animals are more equal than others...

SukieTawdry said...

Oh, Laslo, you are a gem.

William said...

Hitler remains the only socialist dictator that the left is willing to unequivocally condemn.

richardsson said...

Fidel Castro was the prototype for the left, the articulate moron who resorts to violence when he fails to get his way. I had a professor of Latin American Studies who made illegal trips to Cuba and defended himself by telling us "It's great, but you wouldn't like it." I read Regis Debray's Fist of the Revolution and I could see between the lines how the Cuban government was making a dupe out of him. Castro made Ernest Hemingway's finca a national shrine, but the old man despite his earlier romantic flirtations with the left had Castro pretty well sized up and fled the islands in a hurry when Castro came to power. Even Malcolm X was wary of Castro. But, the topper was when Ramparts magazine published Che Guevara's diaries. Where the Cuban Revolution was a tragedy, the ill-fated Bolivian Revolution was a farce. Again, reading between the lines, it became clear that Guevara had been sent packing by Castro after he had destroyed the Cuban agricultural economy. So Guevara goes to the mountains of Bolivia where the Indians don't understand Spanish and Guevara doesn't speak the native languages. They thought he was a Gringo, Ha! Ha! (Guevara was of Spanish and Irish descent, so that was not entirely unreasonable. He was not a Mestizo.) I also read Michael Totten's great articles on Cuba when they came out. He is a brave man.

richardsson said...
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Hey Skipper said...

Marvel at leftist academics extolling Catro's virtues. (I may have repeated myself.)

Trigger warning: reading the post and many of the comments may cause quadruple digit blood pressure spikes, and bleeding from eyes, ears, and nose.

Roger Zimmerman said...

I'm thinking Pyongyang might also be a "communist city", but I excuse Totten for not traveling there for our benefit.

EMD said...

Michael J. Totten is a blessing.