Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So long, farewell Fidel

I'm sure that Comrade Fidel's announcement in the middle of the night that he's stepping down as Cuban President will leave many idealistic lefties traumatised. Boo-hoo to them.

Castro standing down is the best thing that's happened to Cuba in over half a century. The revolution that promised so much delivered so little. The Baptista regime was corrupt - I don't think that's in any way doubted but the Castro regime was cruel, damaging and dangerous.

I'm in no way an expert on Cuba, I have visited it but only for two weeks. But two weeks can tell you a lot about a place. Our tour guide was very well versed in the regime's successes. Free education, most kids go to university, free healthcare. Blah blah communist manifesto blah.

A little digging however paints a different picture - doctors are leaving the health system in huge numbers for better paid jobs such as taxi drivers, individuals can set up private businesses such as in hairdressing or dressmaking - but if they start to make a success of their small business and turnover even the slightest profit they are closed down and their assests seized. Families live in squalor as they are afraid to decorate their homes for fear of being regarded as rich and being robbed/having their assests seized. Children in education are encouraged to inform on any anti-government activities in which their parents may participate.

A bloody paradise that sounds to me.

Castro's gone, hopefully he won't be followed by his brother who may make the right noises but has been number 2 all along.

Good luck to the people of Cuba.

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