Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quote of the day: Cuba

"We Cubans are crazy for waiting. If there's no line in Cuba it's because the place is closed."

--Cuban university student waiting to use the Cuban intranet.


leftside 1:39 PM  

Never mind the actual very positive story - that Cuba is permitting open access to the internet across the island through post offices and kiosks. Let's focus on the complaints of a University student who is not paying a dime to go to school...

FYI, the reason Cuba is finally able to offer more widespread public access is this:

The government of Venezuela says it is nearing completion of a fiber-optic link that will greatly increase Cuba's Cyberspace capabilities. And the U.S. government recently relaxed restrictions on telecommunications cooperation with the island (ie. other far cheaper connections will soon be possible).

Russell Bither-Terry 9:17 AM  
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Russell Bither-Terry 9:19 AM  

Once there was no one in line at one of the lines at Coppelia, the huge state-owned ice cream store (different lines go to different areas of Coppelia with different flavors), and Allison and I came to that exact conclusion. In fact there just wasn't a line at the moment.

Anonymous,  1:29 PM  

What a sad banana-republic Cuba is. What's sadder are all the fools that support Castro but live elsewhere.

leftside 11:03 PM  

What is sadder still are the slums and rural hamlets without anything resembling dignity, which infect every country in Latin America - besides Cuba.

Anonymous,  12:47 PM  

That's a fascinating response leftside, in what it reveals about how you think.

First of all, if what you said was true, it means you are OK with a dicatorship so long as they feed the people. Why not create some huge prisons where everyone is fed and clothed then? We could call it the cattle-theory of human organization.

But of course, you are completely wrong. Cuba is one huge slum. Do you know anything at all about Latin America, or do you just read stuff online and repeat things? Cuba is so poor that people will ask you for your used toothpaste if they realize you are tourist! I have been practically everywhere in Latin America, and have never been asked something like that elsewhere. A man was just sentenced to two years of prison in Cuba because he was caught on tape talking about hunger in the island and it ended up in Youtube. Why do you think so many foreigners go to Cuba for sex tourism? Because the women there will do anything, anything, for just a few dollars. They are that desperate. Jamaica is not that rich, but at least its women don't openly prostitute themselves nor do they ask tourists for scraps like Cubans have to. And, of course, several other Caribbean islands (Cayman, Bahamas, Barbados, Puerto Rico) have the same geography but are many, many times richer.

leftside 9:02 PM  

First off, who said anything about food or being well fed. I said Cuba assures basic dignity. That includes access to food but also water, sewer, electricity, employment, culture, transportation, decent housing, health care, education, etc. Cuba provides these things for their poor people better than just about anywhere else in Latin America.

Your evidence that "all of Cuba is a slum" is because you think people ask for toothpaste and there is more prostitution there. In fact, you know nothing. Toothpaste is offered on the ration book. That is, it is made available by the Government and costs pennies. I believe there were some shortages at one time in the late 80s. And while some other non-essential consumer goods are not available in pesos, and therefore in high demand, toothpaste is not one of them.

Prostitution in Cuba needs a different name. It is like nowhere else in the world. Prostitutes are not nearly as "desperate" as in capitalist countries and (as evidence) will not "do anything, anything for a few dollars." In fact, Cuban jineteras are distinguished in the world for NOT going all the way if they don't feel like it. Often dinner for company is as far as these encounters go. Where else is that the case? If you pick up a girl in Panama or Costa Rica, she knows she has no choice in the matter and that she may not eat or pay her rent if she doesn't score. In Cuba, there is no basic fear of survival like there is most other place.

Anonymous,  11:35 PM  

It's sad. You really don't have a clue, do you? You don't even know about the lack of basic food in Cuba and somehow managed to convince yourself that the Cuban government provides all these wonderful things, when it doesn't. People in Cuba wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry at your naïveté.

You need to actually travel a bit.

Anonymous,  11:40 PM

leftside 10:45 PM  

You really don't have a clue, do you? You don't even know about the lack of basic food in Cuba and somehow managed to convince yourself that the Cuban government provides all these wonderful things, when it doesn't.

No, you are the one without a clue. You are obviously informed by propaganda or just waaaay out of date. Things are no longer like they were after the fall of the Soviet Bloc. Things were indeed bad then - Cuba suffered a loss equal to almost 2x our Great Depression. Back then, food availability and malnutrition was a real concern.

Today, Cuba is near the tops in the region in terms of assuring its people get enough to eat. Look up malnutrition rates of children according to the FAO (UN's Food and Agriculture Organization). Cuba had a 4% rate, while all the countries I looked up had higher (Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, etc.). Cuba has 0.0% child severe malnutrition. For the population as a whole, less than 2.5% of Cubans were declared "undernourished" compared to 4% in Costa Rica and Chile... and these are the wealthy countries, right?

As an aside, Cuba is closer to meeting the Millenium Goals than any other country in Latin America.

Anonymous,  11:04 PM  

You need to travel. Really, you clearly don't know much about the region.

Or maybe just read the link I provided.

Cuba is a poor slum. Of all the nonsense leftists believe about Cuba with no support on facts, none is so ridiculous as the idea that Cuba has had some economic success.

leftside 2:33 PM  

I've travelled plenty. Except I don't just stay in the tourist zones like you obviously do. In Guayaquil, Ecuador we visited a million person slum to deliver aid to homeless children. In Cuba, there is nothing even remotely equivalent to the devastation we saw there (and which exists in all capitalist countries).

Now you want to talk economics. Well, what country grew by an AVERAGE of 7.9% per year, the last 3 years - according to the CIA. You guessed it - Cuba. Only Venezuela and Argentina came close to that.

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