Cuba -Going Back
An excellent travel/biography book interspersed with b&w pictures of many Havana and other island locations in Cuba.
The author had to flee Cuba with his family when he was 18, just months after the thake over by dictator-narcissist Castro. In '96 he visists Cuba again briefly and takes with him his camera. This is not a touristic approach to Cuba. This is the personal and nostalgic -not angry- brief comeback of a Cuban exile. And man, does he succeed in making us feel like exiles too!
-How does Cuba's socialist regime make it to survive so long?
Interviewee. "It's their fault (the Americans') Castro is still here making everyone's life in Cuba hell. Time and time again they've saved Castro. How? By permitting immigration. In 1980 Cuba was ready to explode. What does the US do? They allow a hundred thousand Marielitos to emigrate. I tell you, those people were ready to kill. So Fidel lets them go ... He's a master at duping the Europeans into thinking this a democratic socialist paradise. And he is a master of repression."
"Cuban leadreship is almost exclusively white, and out of a hundred generals in the army, ninety are white, while the majority of Cubans are black. The prison population is reported to be overwhelmingly black."
-A sharp question
"I've heard this joke: 'socialism or death: what's the difference' How come I don't see antigovernment graffiti? -Because we have the most sophisticated repression in the world ... the jails are full of people they have caught doing graffiti. We still have plenty, but it gets painted over immediately."
-The US embargo
"A visit to a dollar store makes it clear to everyone that the embargo doesn't prevent Cuba from acquiring whatever American products Cuba wants or needs since they can get them fairly easily through Panama or Mexico."
"The embargo provides Castro with his last excuse why the Cuban economy is in shambles. Also, Fidel functions best when he is attacked. He becomes energized. He needs an enemy, a scapegoat. And the Helms-Burton law is to order ... the way to fight him is to hit him where his system is vulnerable. Flood Cuba with American tourists, American dollars, with ideas and information. The socialist state cannot withstand that ... If something doesn't work for forty years, you try something else."
Out of 200 people he met, only 5 still supported the revolution. And they were professors or people with privileges.
I'd like to find another good book like this, even without pictures, only updated for the 12 years that have elapsed.
The author immigrated to the Northern states and his personal view reflects: he is not so radical as the people in Miami are, he claims. If I had to live in Cuba without freedom I'd even be more "radical" than the Miami exiles. I'm sure he changed his mind a little, after his excursion on the island, because the people there think more like me.