News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba Needs Urgent and Substantial Reforms

Cuba Needs Urgent and Substantial Reforms
January 28, 2017
By Angel Vazquez Mourenza

HAVANA TIMES — I’d wanted to go to Cuba for a long time now, and I
finally went. I would have liked to have gone a long time ago, 25 years
ago for example, when the country seemed to be living better times
thanks to their relationship with the Soviet Union founded on mutual
interest. I decided to go now, understanding that it was now or never,
given the fact that it will soon be full of McDonalds.

Even though I was trying to think positively and excuse or justify all
of the negative and unpleasant things I saw, it really is hard to do so.

It is undoubtedly a beautiful country; we got a glimpse of Havana,
Vinales, Trinidad, Remedios and the Cayos. We saw Centro Habana,
practically in ruins, as if it had been struck by war, entire streets
lifted up, magnificent buildings without doors and windows.

It’s true that the squares in Old Havana have been renovated, as well as
the main streets that go off them, but when you venture a little off of
these, we were back into what’s normal here, that is to say, a
semi-destroyed city which has only been partially fixed up for foreign
tourists.

From a social point of view, I found many similar realities to those I
experienced when I traveled to Beijing, a country which doesn’t have
private property and is experiencing a fierce Capitalism. I’m sure the
US blockade and the disappearance of the USSR had a lot to do with
Cuba’s current situation, but you can’t blame everything on external
enemies. A land where a bell boy earns in a day the same as a
surgeon would in a month isn’t a decent country.

My impression of Cuba was that it was very expensive, even for tourists,
and inaccessible to Cubans who don’t work closely to foreign tourists,
or don’t deal on the black market. Nonetheless, it’s surprising to see
Cubans in hotels which cost 120 euros/night, or in restaurants where you
spend 20 euros for a meal, which would mean 15 days of work for a
professor. There is clearly corruption and nepotism involved.

On the other hand, you can’t really expect much from a regime, where the
majority of its subjects are longing to leave and head towards the
enemy, and this is the feeling I went away with. I’m sure that this
longing to leave the island has a lot to do with the Cuban people’s
difficult prospects of survival. The only industry I saw was that which
exploits tourists, and its main sector is firmly rooted in the past,
without technology, working the land with plows pulled by oxen and
cutting sugar cane with machetes.

Ultimately, this country, which apparently has great potential, is in
desperate need of immediate change, with political reforms and in its
productive system. It would be ideal for these reforms to come about
from the Cuban people’s own , for their own well-being, and not
those which are imposed on them by whoever wants to transform it into
their colony, casino or brothel.

Source: Cuba Needs Urgent and Substantial Reforms – Havana Times.org –
www.havanatimes.org/?p=123406

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