To my dear compatriots..

It’s too late to place a bet on the timing of the retirement of one aging dictator.. But you can still get odds on another this elected representative..

On the day that 81-year-old Cuban leader Fidel Castro announced he would no longer be the country`s President, Paddy Power said it was offering odds of 4/5 on the Democratic Unionist leader to stand down this year, the year of his 82nd birthday.

It’s “an opportunity to make progress towards a peaceful transition to a pluralist democracy..” More on what next [for Cuba] here.

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  • Dec

    “It would be a tragedy if he were succeeded by a family dynasty.”i>

    Obviously, Liberal MP Edward Davey had not been following yesterday’s developments when he made that announcement.

    Oh, hold on, he was referring to events in Cuba.

  • pith

    Castro is also stepping down as commander in chief of the Cuban armed forces. Is our head man still chief of the 3rd Force?

  • Turgon

    It is pleasing to see that egalitarian socialist regimes appoint their leaders solely on merit and with no nepotism such as Cuba and that even greater workers paradise North Korea.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    A lot of rugby teams didn’t want Fidel’s right hand man, Che Guevara, because he was asthmatic. But despite his scrawny figure, he was surprisingly strong and a very good tackler.
    Selections are always controversial and even when even someone is healthy and playing extermely well they can still get left out. So it was with Tommy Bowe – but it now seems that EOS has now seen the light and Tombo plays against the porridge eaters. Excellent news – they will be no doot singing and dancing in the drumlin county too-night I can tell ye.

  • Garibaldy

    Turgon,

    Do you know what Raul’s credentials are? They extend way beyond being Fidel’s brother. He was in command of one of the revolutionary armies that overthrew Batista, and has been a senior member of the revolutionary leadership since before that. So decades of experience and achievement. But never that the facts get in the way of a good soundbite.

    It sounds like on this issue, you need some on the spot guidance of the type delivered by the Dear Leader.

  • pith

    Garibaldy,

    He sounds like one of the really nice guys in the revolutionary leadership.

  • darth rumsfeld

    ..at least one decrepit octogenarian relic has seen the writing on the wall and tried to save the family dynasty by going with dignity tattered but just about intact. Can’t really hate a man who brought us the Cohiba cigars though.

    As for young Mcnally’s sectarian eggchasing comments , I for one shall be rooting for our Caledonian cousins, seeing as how I live in a foreign country according to the IRFU- which in fairness to it at least doesn’t try to select players from NI- even when they would clearly get a game on merit, unlike the FAI. “Gregalach!” as we McGregors used to say in battle with the sassanach

  • DK

    I have never been to Cuba – I friends tell me it is very cheap and has 3 currencies: the local one, a sort of tourist-only one (a rip off), and the dollar (highly prized). Also, nearly every house acts as a mini-bar selling rum etc. to anyone passing by. Finally, it has lots of prostitutes, and many of them are professionals (doctors and so on) trying to make ends meet (no pun intended).

    Did Fidel have any effect that distinguishes Cuba from any other South/Central American country? (other than the big army and outdated ideology).

  • Dec

    “Gregalach!” as we McGregors used to say in battle with the sassanach

    I’m assuming “Gregalach” is scots gaelic for “whatabout”?

  • pith

    Incredible to think that it was back in 1959 that Castro came to power. It set me wondering what his contemporay Ian Paisley Snr was doing back then. Was he already “doin’ a lot for Catholic people” for example?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Rummers

    “Sectarian?”
    Have you consumed quare amounts of uisce beatha?

    “which in fairness to it (IRFU) at least doesn’t try to select players from NI”
    I imagine A.Trimble would be very disappointed that you have relocated him south of the border.

  • Turgon

    Garibaldy,
    “Do you know what Raul’s credentials are? They extend way beyond being Fidel’s brother. He was in command of one of the revolutionary armies that overthrew Batista, and has been a senior member of the revolutionary leadership since before that. So decades of experience and achievement. But never that the facts get in the way of a good soundbite”

    I was sort of hoping for something like winning a free and fair election. Oh yes I forgot the socialist paradise of Cuba does not have those. Silly me.

  • lib2016

    Fifty years of unbroken single party government and they still pretend that they had a functioning democracy. They never even began to realise what they had missed and now the dream is almost over.

  • Hayeck

    What was your source for those odds, as it says on the website bettingmarket that it is 2/7 he will step down in 2008??? Perhaps the DUP insiders have been at work again? On the same theme, interesting to note that nobody has been rushing in to back in the United Ireland market…

  • Twinbrook

    Time for a complete change, time for free democratic elections…

    have never bought into the myth of Che or Castro….

  • Jocky

    I never got the whole, “high adult literacy rates, free healthcare, isn’t cuba wonderful” line of reasoiing. It always struck me as up there with “Musollini got the trains running on time”.

  • Turgon

    Cuban health care is very controversial. There are some indications that it is very good as presented by the likes of Michael Moore in “Sicko” but there are also dissenting arguments which although also biased have some merit.

    The reality is probably somewhere in the middle and as Jocky says above one cannot judge a whole regime by such things.

  • Garibaldy

    Perhaps then we can judge Cuba in comparison to other regimes in the area over the past 50 years. You’ll find that Cuba was NEVER anywhere close to being the nasty dictatorships that had the support of our lovely liberal democracies. Which in themselves have millions of homeless, ill-treated mentally ill people etc. Oh yeah, and were and still are brutalising other peoples in their own selfish interests.

    Plus let’s not forget that when the 26th July Movement overthrew the puppet dictator, the US discriminated against its own people on grounds of colour. And structurally, still does. As we saw in the ever so democratic treatment of poor and black voters in 2000.

    The Cuban health service is universally recognised as excellent Turgon by institutions and governments across the world. Many of whom (including the US) the Cubans have sent help to and trained doctors from in service of the betterment of humanity.

    The ridiculous statement that compares Cuba’s health service to Mussolini’s transport system is contemptible, and barely deserves a response. One government sought to oppress other countries and its own people. One to help them. Which side were the Cubans on in Angola? Not the apartheid South African one.

    Turgon is right to say governments must be judged in the round. But he’s not doing it himself.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    Then again Turgon, Michael Moore also held up our very own NHS as being a shining beacon to aspire to, so I think we can take his Cuban views with a large pinch of salt.

    In fairness, Castro saved the Cuban people from the eyesores of election posters and the inconvenience of political opposition. Unfortunately those niggly little things such as being able to leave the country or freedom of speech appeared to be somewhat lacking. But hey what does it matter when your dear leader got to outlast nine US presidents and have a love-in with Gerry Adams?

  • Turgon

    Garibaldy,
    I am sorry but although the Cuban health care system has many plus points it is by no means perfect and has significant weaknesses. Some on the left seem incapable of seeing this, just as some on the right regard it as worse than it is.

    The reality is probably that it is a bit better than one would expect considering the overall wealth of the country but it is not some sort of health care Nirvana.

  • Garibaldy

    I agree it’s not perfect. Partly because it is starved of access to much of the most modern equipment and medicines by the embargo. No health service is perfect. But it is, by any realistic standards (especially in such a small country in its circumstances), excellent – life expectancy, infant mortality, doctor patient ratio etc.

  • Greenflag

    Castro is visiting Nicaragua (1980’s ). The Sandanista leadership takes him to the beach . After his tour they ask him what he would like for dinner .

    ‘Just my usual rice and beans will be fine’ he says.They laugh and insist he try the fried shrimp and broiled lobster. The next day in Leon the same thing :

    ‘Just some tortillas and salt will be more than enough,’says the Cuban leader.

    Again his hosts laugh and order thick flank cuts of beef . His last night in Managua , he asks for only Cuban style rice and a glass of water. but instead they serve him a delicious twelve course meal.

    Castro finally makes it back to Havana where the Central Committee of the Party is waiting for him at the Airport .

    ‘So tell us , how goes the Nicaraguan revolution?, they ask .

    ‘Well , Comrades,’ replies Castro , ‘to be honest , the Nicaraguan revolution seems to be where we were twenty years ago.’

  • Turgon

    Their infant mortality rate is actually pretty mediocre, life expectancy is quite good, the doctor patient ratio is not that useful a statistic in terms of measuring health gain. After all if you have loads of doctors and do noting with them it is not that relevant.

    As I said they are a bit better than might be expected for the wealth of the country. What one could ask is:-
    (1)would the country be wealthier without Castro style communism?

    and

    (2)would the health care be better in such a scenario?

    My view is that the answer to question one is yes whereas I accept that to question two it is unclear.

  • Greenflag

    Castro visits Moscow and is taken on a tour by Brezhnev . First they go for a beer and Castro praises the Soviet beer.

    ‘Yes, it is supplied by our good friends from Czechoslovakia’

    Next they go for a ride in a car and Castro again admires the car .

    ‘Yes, these cars are supplied by our good friends from Czechoslovakia.’

    They drive to an exhibition of beautiful cut glass , which Castro greatly admires .
    ‘Yes, this glass comes from our good friends in Czechoslovakia ‘

    ‘They must be very good friends ,’ says Castro .

    ‘Yes , they must ,’says Brezhnev

  • Garibaldy

    Well the question is would the people of the country have a better life. I doubt it. I remember when at school being given the details of US ownsership of Cuban resources. In nearly every major industry and natural resource it was around 100%. Large numbers of people might well be better off if it returned to a playground for the US rich and gangsters, but the dignity of Cuban life would not. And I think the majority of Cubans recognise that, and support the Revolution despite its flaws and sacrifices.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    ‘And I think the majority of Cubans recognise that, and support the Revolution despite its flaws and sacrifices.’

    So a democratic vote should be a cakewalk for the Castro dynasty.

  • Turgon

    Garibaldy,
    You are changing the parameters of the debate. You were lauding the Cuban health care system as “universally recognised as excellent …. by institutions and governments across the world”.

    As I have shown that is not by any means universally the case.

    If you wish to turn to the whole regime, then one is entitled to ask why people keep trying to leave Cuba if it is indeed such a paradise? I agree that pre Castro Cuba seems to have been a pretty unpleasant corrupt dictatorship. I would argue that Cuba now is a pretty unpleasant corrupt dictatorship. Maybe the majority of Cubans should be allowed free and fair elections or are you concerned that they might give the wrong verdict?

  • Garibaldy

    I think that the elections would be far from free and fair. For the simple reason that US threats, promises and money on an unprecedented scale would be used to ensure a suitable outcome. So I can understand the retience to change the system and protect the social changes that have been wrought.

    I’m not sure I am changing the parameters of the debate on health. Despite its weaknesses, I will again repeat that Cuba is recognised worldwide as having an excellent health service. Both by measureable standards, and in the context it has developed.

  • Look, chaps, this is a really traumatic moment in my life. I’ve still got Fidel’s speeches (severely edited), in a small pamphlet, somewhere in my attic. I’ve just watched Gorgeous George on C4 News, shredding everyone in sight.

    I even wanted (want?) to get to Cuba before the Madison Avenue crew, Disneyland, Las Vegas move in.

    I remember the overthrow of the Batista régime (who had achieved 20,000+ dead, but — remember — the Batistas had the US State Department seal of approval, so they were all right).

    Then there were all those pathetic attempts to “invade” (Aw, c’mon! It’s 75 miles from Key West! Remember 6 June 1944! Y’ken do better than that!)

    And who lost out? Well, United Fruit for a start (anyone got Chiquita stickers on their bananas? Delmonte in the cupboard? Oh, in case you forgot, Allen Dulles of the CIA was president of the company). And let’s hear it for the mafia types who ran the casinos.

    So, a few minutes flight from Miami there’s a place where there’s 100% literacy, free healthcare, where life expectancy in considerably better than that assured by the AMA?

    Better believe it.

  • Turgon

    Garibaldy,
    “I will again repeat that Cuba is recognised worldwide as having an excellent health service. Both by measureable standards, and in the context it has developed.

    By measurable standards apart from really quite relevant ones such as infant mortality rate, death rate: stuff like that.

    Garibaldy
    “I think that the elections would be far from free and fair.”

    Well let us be honest they are not free and fair at the moment.

    Garibaldy
    “So I can understand the retience to change the system and protect the social changes that have been wrought.”

    Yes funny how dictators are always so reticent to allow elections that they might loose.

    Garobaldy
    “For the simple reason that US threats, promises and money on an unprecedented scale would be used to ensure a suitable outcome.”

    Yes that is a concern. The poor foolish people of Cuba might feel that they preferred to be bribed by American money and a better life (which in fairness I agree they might not get) and so not support the revolution. Annoying the way the proletariat sometimes do not vote for their socialist guardians. Best to keep them away from things like democracy, they might be selfish. Best for the great communist egalitarian leaders to sort out their lives for them.

  • “Free and fair” elections? The kind that happened in, oh — for example, Florida and Ohio about the turn of the millennium?

    [Wanna take me on? Feelin’ lucky, punk? — Remember, from a parallel thread, I’m “touchy”.]

  • Turgon

    Actually Malcolm I do not regard Cuba as the sum of all evil. I am also not a neo-con. I think Cuba achieved a great deal but in all honesty their health care system is nothing like as good as its supporters would claim. Its public health record is, however, indeed excellent.

    I fear you are correct and that an end to communism will lead to an excess rebalancing in the other direction. Yet people have the right to decide for themselves how to be governed and I do suspect that they would end up with an unregulated market economy. It would be nice if the communists would elegantly vacate the field or morph into social democrats.

    And yes there are problems with democracy in the US and elsewhere. The only real solution as you know full well is for you and me to rule the world. Ha Ha ha I cackle as I stroke my white cat in my lair on Devenish island.

  • Turgon @ 10:25 PM: You’ve really put the wind up me now, with your you and me to rule the world. You know how I hate to get up in the morning. And I am ailurophobic.

    Seriously, nobody can or does maintain that Cuba has what Ballymena might regard as a fully-functioning democracy. What I would maintain is they are doing as well as most.

    I would not want to argue with the Cuban demographics. Nor with the UNICEF figures.

    Beyond that, you can set your own markers or targets. I only know that my family and I have had to wrestle (even with full health insurance) with the US medical bureaucracy. Than which there can be nothing more hellish. Which is why, the moment free movement is established between Cuba and the US, I would predict the AMA and Big Pharma to be anxiously watching health tourism, in the same way that US citizens returning from Canada (and mailed packages from Canada) get peculiar attention. Please comment thereon.

  • Turgon

    Malcolm,
    The US health care system manages that rare feat of being both mind numbingly expensive and yet the country has a pretty mediocre score on many of the figures which assess success. I agree in that I sincerely hope that Cuba does not end up with a US health care system.

    In all honesty the future for health care is an inordinately large problem. One blog, one whole blog site would not cover it. No country can keep pace with the costs nor with expectations. I have no solutions at all.

    Although clearly with me in power things would be better.

  • Furgon sez:

    Their infant mortality rate is actually pretty mediocre

    What is mediocre depends on your own standards, I guess, but it’s lower than United States and roughly equal to the UK. (2006, Infant mortality rate under 1 year, UNICEF)

  • BfB

    I’ve been to Cuba a few times since 2000. The everyday people are nice, hard working and friendly. As you rise through the enforcement ranks they become quite nasty. To the Cubans that is. The Cubans that I know here, who would like to return (not all roses in Florida for many Cubans, most of them are honest pay taxes etc, so they are getting screwed like the regular citizens and the illegals are moving in) aren’t packing their bags. They say Raul talks a good game, but he can be the monster his brother is at times. No Cuban I spoke with today was optimistic.

  • BfB

    BTW, the health care system is third world at best. Any Cuban I’ve spoken with about quality of life spits when you tell them what Castro has been telling the world. It is a totally controlled society, where most of the people have less than nothing. My second trip I brought as much candy bars as I could, for these are like gold to the average adult, let alone a child.

  • Garibaldy

    BfB

    Not my experience of being there.

  • BfB

    Well, I tend to wander off into reality when I visit.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: I only know that my family and I have had to wrestle (even with full health insurance) with the US medical bureaucracy.
    You poor thing. Why not move to Cuba, where life is apparently wonderful? Getting *in* isn’t the problem – getting *out* might be, unless you keep your current citizenship.

  • Rory

    I am very impressed by DK’s startling insight into prostitution in Cuba. I am even more impressed when he admits to gathering all this knowledge without ever having visited the country.

    I have often been propositioned with a “Fancy a short time, ducky?” but I’ve never before imagined the seductive attractions of, “Fancy no time at all then, darling?”

  • Prince Eoghan

    Great quotes from George Galloway today in the daily record regarding Cuba;

    “Cuba’s children live longer than in Washington D.C”

    “Illiteracy is non-existant”

    “Cuba harvests gold medals in the Olympics leaving countries like Britain in it’s wake”

    Mandela chose to visit havana first on his release from prison to say thank-you.

    “Of course the bordello owners and casino kings who left the island in 1959 have maintained a hostile steady drum-beat, they want their dirty business back”

    “It’s true they do not have elections like say in Florida, where the younger brother ensures the older brother wins”

    This exposes a hypocrisy in the west in our supposed free and fair elections. Does anyone honestly believe that if Cuba had held elections over the last 50 years that the US would not have interfered? Considering the history of US interference If you do, then you are a galah!

    Galloway also contends that long ago Cuba decided that anyone who wished to emigrate to the US could do so. The US refuses them visa’s. The boat people represent a tiny fraction of the population.

  • Garibaldy
  • Prince Eoghan

    Great links Garibaldy!

  • BfB

    You knuckleheads revel in old Fidel sticking his finger in the eye of the USA. I understand that he is an evil, murdering bastard. Get your Che-mart t-shirts here and celebrate these two murdering, socialist bastards. When Castro goes directly to Hell, not passing go, he’ll burn for eternity with this other communist pig “Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …”

  • Garibaldy

    Yeah Pete Baker quoted that already. Oh, and if Cuba is so repressive, how come everyone there tells you, a foreigner, how unhappy they are without getting pounced on and dragged off to gaol, fed to the pigs etc.

  • DK

    Rory – just repeating what a friend who actually visited told me. Sure their healthcare may be good, but doctors go on the game to make ends meet. Could be an additional income stream for the NHS!

    I mentioned this in an earlier thread and was torn to shreds for it by Mick Hall – but then I went onto our friend google and fairly quickly found a report that backed up my friends observation. Do it yourself.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Better late than never, Gorgeous George Galloway’s thoughts on Fidel, well worth a read;

    “MY 20-YEAR FRIENDSHIP WITH FIDEL – THE MOST CHARISMATIC MAN I’VE MET BY GEORGE GALLOWAY
    IT was my good fortune to have been a friend of Fidel Castro
    ·
    for more than 20 years.
    I knew him in dark days and fine – when he enjoyed the military and economic protection of his alliance with the Eastern Bloc.
    I was there when the lights went out with the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and during the flowering of the new Latin American and greener socialism which has reached new heights in the alliance with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
    Fidel has straddled the last half-century as a colossus.
    Every media outfit in the world treated yesterday’s announcement as the main story of the day.
    Yet Cuba is a tiny island in the Caribbean which, before Castro, was an impoverished offshore haven for the US mafia where blacks faced apartheid, where poor people died young and illiterate – childrenperished like flies in their infancy.
    Today, Cuba is one of the coolest places on the planet.
    It is a tourist destination for millions who come back wearing their T-shirts of Che Guevara and imbued with the spirit of the island.
    Cuba’s children live longer than those born in Washington DC thanks to a health system – vividly showcased in Michael Moore’s film Sicko – comparable with Scandinavia’s and a good deal better than our own.
    Illiteracy is non-existent – the only Third World country of which that can be said – thanks to a free education system with unprecedented numbers of graduates and PhDs.
    Cuba harvests gold medals in the Olympic Games, leaving countries like our own trailing in its wake.
    And ordinary workers thrill to the ballet, opera and a music scene which positively throbs.
    None of this could have happened without the revolution which, in turn, would never have succeeded without Fidel.
    He is the most charismatic man I have ever met, an inspirational orator, an oracle of politics in the second half of the 20th century and a listener too.
    Once, when I was with him, he dug out a map of the UK and asked me to point out where the long-haired distinctive Highland cows were to be found. When I couldn’t tell him the annual tonnage of British steel, he looked at me as if to say: “What kind of MP are you?”
    He was above all else an internationalist leader, as were his comrades. Che Guevara fought in Africa and was murdered in Bolivia.
    Cuba played such a decisive role in the downfall of South African apartheid that, upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela chose to visit Havana before anywhere else.
    Holding Fidel’s hand aloft, Mandela declared: “See how far we slaves have come!”
    Ofcourse, the bordello owners and casino kings who left the island in 1959 have maintained a steady drum beat of hostility to Castro ever since. They want their dirty businesses back.
    And they have provided a base in Miami – just 90 miles from Cuba – for 50 years of subversion, invasion, blockade, failed assassination plots, terrorism and relentless propaganda.
    One of the latest lies is the absurd claim that Fidel is a multi-millionaire. In fact, he literally does not possess a single dollar.
    Indeed, when this claim – from Forbes Magazine – emerged, he pledged on live television, with me sitting next to him, that if anyone could show a single dollar in his hands, he would immediately tear off his insignia and retire in disgrace.
    Equally false is the propaganda which claims that Cubans taking to the boats for Florida represent anything other than a small fraction of the country’s population.
    If an airplane landed tonight in Easterhouse offering green cards for entry into the US, I daresay it would fill up rather rapidly.
    Cuba decided long ago that anyone who wished to emigrate to the US could do so. It is the US which refused them visas, no doubt because they’ve got enough poor black people in America already.
    It’s true that Cuba doesn’t have elections like, say, those in Florida, where the younger brother ensures the elder brother wins.
    The losers are the very sections of the population who in Cuba have benefited the most from Fidel Castro.
    ·
    When I was last with Fidel a week or so before his serious illness, I asked what he thought about the new breed of Latin American left-wing leaders such as Chavez who have ousted the juntas.
    He told me: “If I had died 10 years ago, I would have died sadly. Now that the red flag has been passed on to a new generation, I can go full of hope and trust in the future.”
    Then he added with a chuckle: “The only way to get elected to office in Latin America nowadays is to profess friendship with Fidel Castro
    ·
    and total opposition to George W Bush.”
    Farewell, Fidel. You’re a legend. We’ll be really lucky if we look upon your like again.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Isn’t it hilarious the hatred that comes across from those who seem really upset that there are people who do not want to live under US hegemony.

    Why is this so threatening to y’all? We can list all of the things that is wrong with Cuba, much of it due to US interference. Perhaps we could make similar lists of our own shitty society. Nah! keep reading your hello magazines, Oh kerry Katona has grown balls, oh J-lo has a new baby called frog-midden. I wonder what the new autumn fashion colours will be, I need that new latest life changing mobile phone, blah, blah, blah! Fuckin borin!

  • Dk

    PE: “Why is this so threatening to y’all? We can list all of the things that is wrong with Cuba, much of it due to US interference. Perhaps we could make similar lists of our own shitty society. Nah! keep reading your hello magazines, Oh kerry Katona has grown balls, oh J-lo has a new baby called frog-midden. I wonder what the new autumn fashion colours will be, I need that new latest life changing mobile phone, blah, blah, blah! Fuckin borin!”

    So will you be emigrating to Cuba any day soon? Oh that’s right, reading about Kerry Katona’s balls is better that reading propaganda about tractor production and imperialists. At least here you have the choice to read Hello, or Red Star or BNP weekly or anything else you choose.

    It seems that people vote with their feet – when people leave any South American country, where do they go? The US or Cuba?

    Take of the rose-tinted glasses!

  • BfB

    Good stuff DK.
    Strange how some people can suspend reality to make their version seem valid..
    I’ve personally witnessed the abuse of everyday citizens by the communist oppressors. This whole health care ruse is laughable. Some parts of Havana resemble a sci-fi movie, after the nuclear holocaust . In the Varadaro marina, I watched 2 vintage patrol boats leave at dusk every night, loaded guns and all (keeping people in, or killing them). The average Cuban citizen is not allowed into any of the vacation complexes at all. People are waiting to roust them. A Cuban looking fellow was with us, and was rousted a few times. We had to wear identity cards around our neck in some PUBLIC areas so as not to get rousted. Not that I look like a Cuban but they had been embarrassed a few times with the other fella.
    The average citizens are nice people, living under extreme poverty conditions. A few bombs went off while I was there, attributed to the Miami expat mafia. I carry no water for those knuckleheads either. No need to go back to Cuba, they’ve got southern Florida locked up. The average Cubans are wonderful people, here and there. The communist murderers are not. Take a trip, they love Euros.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>So will you be emigrating to Cuba any day soon?< < Honestly, as hopefully Cuba moves into a more democratic mode, an easing of a crippling US embargo I reckon it would be a better place to live. Here we have freedom in name only. Police, who are really glorified social workers, young boy's and lassies running wild, knifing anyone that dares to chastise them. This is the reality of Britain, it is no longer moaning from Manchester, dour faced, about all those young wans havin fun. The tyranny of some young people now means that we all cower behind closed doors for fear of being murdered. MP's being bugged, nepotism and corruption on a grand scale, showing our hypocrisy. However you are right we always have consumerism to aspire to, and wasn't that new advert for puke-inducing tablets really funny. I'm going to vote for that on the £2.50 phone line. >>It seems that people vote with their feet – when people leave any South American country, where do they go? The US or Cuba?<< Oh but they leave all of those US friendly countries in droves, where people are FREE to fuckin starve, all in the interests of 'free trade' Where children toil in the fields or on the rubbish tip. And you might have missed George Galloway's point about the plane leaving Easterhouse(substitute Ballymurphy or Rathcoole) with US green cards. The poor will jump at a better life almost anywhere. The point may have been missed. Cuba is not ideal, far from it. We are not able to judge however, and not just on the above grounds. To me much comment reeks of insecurity from those whose horizons could never contemplate standing outside the white-mans umbrella.

  • Prince Eoghan

    BFB

    >>he average Cuban citizen is not allowed into any of the vacation complexes at all.< < Have you ever been to Jamaica? Same! are they "communist oppressors"? Perhaps the more foolish do not realise that Fidel only adopted the closed society approach as a counter to massive US interference, surely we can be sure that the US would have tampered with any 'free and fair' election. And the marxist model adopted after US owned refineries in Cuba refused to refine oil for Cuba. >>This whole health care ruse is laughable< < Sure! we'll just take your word for it. >>The average citizens are nice people, living under extreme poverty conditions< < Do you think the petulant and extremely unfair US embargo might just have had something to do with this? Pehaps this is the fault of "communist oppressors" also in your world view. Not sure about your bomb stories, oh and <> Poor or rich, who doesn’t/ Worshipping it is the problem!

  • Oh that’s right, reading about Kerry Katona’s balls is better that reading propaganda about tractor production and imperialists.

    Steady on.

  • The average Cuban citizen is not allowed into any of the vacation complexes at all.

    Not true.

  • DK

    What does the US embargo matter if all other countries (including Canada and the EU) are happy to trade? Smells like a red herring to me.

    Cuba seems to me like East Germany. Supposedly excellent health care & zero unemployment, but people fled anyway. In East Germany’s case, all was revealed when the wall came down… wonder how long we will have to wait to see the reality of Cuba?

  • A further note on the question of Cubans being allowed into ‘vacation complexes’: Cubans can’t afford them. The cost of running them (I’m thinking in terms of the 5 star resorts you get in Varadero) is covered by the tourists who go to them. There is simply no point in your average Cuban going to them, any more than there is a point in someone here who’s totally skint going to the K Club. You do occasionally find some average Cuban citizens who do use them, but it’s normally because of some performance bonus scheme. That is not to say that there’s anything virtuous about the way the system operates, but a situation where you have lots of people being refused admission to places for not having enough money is hardly the preserve of communist Cuba.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Oh that’s right, reading about Kerry Katona’s balls is better that reading propaganda about tractor production and imperialists.< < Hugh - >>Steady on.< < To be fair hugh, this is something that I agree with DK about! >>What does the US embargo matter if all other countries (including Canada and the EU) are happy to trade? Smells like a red herring to me.< < Really! Of late Canada and the EU have been trading DESPITE the various penalties and threats bandied about for any company who has say a US subsidiary. I have not a clue how many companies do business there but I'd put my house on there being a hundred scared off for everyone that does. >>Supposedly excellent health care & zero unemployment, but people fled anyway.<< Supposedly? Please tell us more. And we have already covered the point about poor people leaving for richer countries. Any other dead horses to flog?

  • BfB

    I certainly didn’t mean the Cubans were looking to book a room at the resorts…I meant they are not allowed on the property, period. No restaurant, no bar….except of course if you bribe your local communist bastard. I witnessed citizens being dragged out of cars, being denied entry to many places, treated roughly on a regular basis. When I asked about it the locals shrugged their shoulders and said if you push back, you don’t come back. I was at an impromptu party with a number of younger Cubans and one of them, after a few drinks stated that he was pissed that the US hadn’t invaded Cuba and freed them from the dictator Castro. None of his friends disagreed. Most, not all, of the population is sick of the oppression. The drug dealers pay off the communist bastards and abuse the locals….on, and on. Communism is bad for the average Cuban. Many lose their lives paddling anything they can cobble together to escape the communist bastards.

  • ‘I meant they are not allowed on the property, period. No restaurant, no bar….except of course if you bribe your local communist bastard.’

    Not in my experience. For instance, when I was in Havana, I arranged to meet the parents of a friend of mine in the hotel where I was staying. This didn’t pose any problems for them. We sat down and had a drink together. So either a) they bribed the local communist bastard at 10 minutes notice; b) they were the local communist bastards or c)your account of things isn’t entirely accurate.

    Note that I am not denying that the authorities can treat citizens roughly and that there are many instances where citizens may be denied entry to places. All I am saying is that, if you want to complain about poor people being denied access to expensive hotels and the like, you don’t need to go to Havana to find something to complain about.

  • marty

    Here we have freedom in name only.
    Priceless.