Our final brief observations on Cuba, now that we've moved on South.
As with most 'communist' / 'socialist' or
centrally planned economies, it's not really a country of equality, more of a
secure area where the inmates are moderately well looked after.
Think dictatorship by the military
aristocracy, with spin.
(by the United States)
Whilst ridiculous, it does in fact bolster
the regime by providing an excuse for any failings. In fact there is free trade
with the rest of the world, notably France and SE Asia, so blaming Cuba's
troubles on the American embargo is not valid, though doubtless restoration of
Cuba - US trade would result in benefits for both countries.
Several of the more educated people we
spoke to were well aware of the fact that "we're all prisoners" and could not
leave Cuba or have any opportunity to advance themselves. Cubans are in the
great majority, very pleasant and friendly people, perhaps because they are
shielded from the wickedness of the free world? More likely as they have little
knowledge of the rest of the world, they love to talk and find out about the
world beyond the fence. Their lack of even Caribbean geography is quite
The tourist business is based carefully on
free market principles of supply and demand, since Cuba needs foreign currency
and 'political' dogma doesn't earn that. So tourist prices are carefully aimed
to be what we might just pay, surely after comparison with prices
Just like Eastern Germany or other
(in)famous 'communist' countries the people have much concern for being spied-on
and reported-on for activities (like running any business) which is not
permitted. We heard of one guy who had been running an informal fish supply
business in addition to his allocated job: he was spotted by the Authorities for
using too much electricity to power the necessary freezers. He was demoted
to a decorating job and we understand now has a freelance sideline painting...
So you can't keep a good man down, maybe.
The Castros are not young anymore and change
will come. Whether the change is uncontrolled and benefits a few (like the
former USSR / Russia) or is more skilfully managed (like China) will be the big
So tell us what You think...
Anyway for reading thus far, your reward is
to see the fish that we were snorkelling with near Cayo Largo del
- a Queen Triggerfish - my photo from an
almost dead camera, greatly enhanced by the computer - but you really should see
and lastly, a Queen Angelfish which Michael
saw on the reef, though had difficulty taking a photo
and the reef was just full of large and
We're now in Grand Cayman, in a rather
ludicrously expensive marina which is scarcely half built. BUT Grand Cayman does
have shops with actual goods in them to buy and decent restaurants with a choice
of menu - in fact just what we needed! We are also enjoying a decent internet
connection - not something the Cuban people are permitted ...
We'll try to get a few good photos of the
Caymans but we'll be off south to Providencia soon, so get on google and try to
find out where Providencia is !!!
George , Michael and Garrison