Archive for August 3, 2006

Fidel Castro…Bush Like a Waiting Vulture

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It comes as no surprise that President Bush is sitting like a vulture over Cuba, waiting for Fidel Castro to die. The United States has long considered Cuba a thorn in it’s imperialistic side, so with Fidel recovering from surgery, Georgie Porgie is calling for democracy in Cuba.

Why is it the U.S. is so insecure about half-democracy? Cuba has it’s problems like any other nation, and dissidents stand to be jailed or killed….but that happens in the States too. Cuba is certainly a strategic military position, the U.S. stronghold on keeping Gitmo isn’t for detainees alone. So here sits a gem of an isle in the Carribean, under supposed communist rule (for one, it’s social democracy, but let’s face it, it’s dictatorship), who’s people have been forced to be forever ingenious in a wild political world that saw it’s main supporter, the U.S.S.R. go down and the U.S. place embargoes to try and starve her out. Threat is a strange stranglehold and the more competitive one is, the more threats to one’s being. Why a person or nation becomes so competitive in the first place is beyond me save for observing the need to proove oneself. That says a myriad in it’s own.

If Cuba were placed in proportion to it’s real threat to the United States , she would weigh in at about the size of a mouse, but then elephants purportedly scream at the sight of tiny creatures. Castro only figured out America’s achilles, that’s all, while Canada has always enjoyed good relations with this Spanish speaking nation (it’s indigenous people having been wiped out enough that there are no full bloods left).

It remains to be seen how Mr. Harper will handle our friend Cuba with his ears full of Bush-shit.

When we were there five years ago the first thing that struck me besides Havana crumbling, was how patriarchally she is ruled….the posters, billboards and art all reflecting the famous men who fought to win the revolution with only the occasional whisper of Tanya, and one museum on the southern end dedicated to the women who hid, nursed, and fed these men, putting their own lives on the line for the cause. Otherwise the scenery is incredible, the people welcoming, and the Unesco saved architecture awesome. The 40’s and 50’s cars still running with cardboard and tinfoil hoses or tractor engines socked in make it feel like yesteryear, and the donkey driven taxis that are tourist attractions in Havana are guenuine transport in small towns and villages.

We were lucky enough that people at the Casa Paticulars (bed and breakfast) we stayed in opened up to us somewhat, politically; they were mostly middle aged and older ones who remembered the horrors of the Batista Regime. Despite long line ups for locals with their vouchers for goods at stores who’s shelves were often 3/4 empty because of Clinton’s embargo, the loyalty remained with the attititude being, “There are other nations far worse off then us”. We would always join in singing when ‘Hasta Siempe’ was played (a beautiful song dedicated to Che Guevera) for we were there to travel and take in the culture, not to judge it’s political system.

Most of the youth we spoke with were restless and somewhat reckless with their speech (we were warned by many that to even shout out ‘I love Fidel’ on the streets could get you arrested), complaining that the revolution had gotten them nowhere, they had nothing. I replied to a couple of cocky ones , “When you were ten years old you had a lot, then the embargo came so now you want everything back right now. You better be careful what you are asking for because if you think that becoming part of the United States will make you wealthy you can forget it…they are sitting over you like a vulture and you will be nothing more then another Puerto Rico”.

Castro had decided long ago that his brother Raoul should take over when he was gone, but the general concensus was to vote for someone else…people didn’t like that Raoul came from the military. I can’t email, write or phone our friends there to ask how they are feeling right now as it would be risky for them to reply. I can send soap, toothpaste and other items that are in need.

Despite the poverty everyone had a home. Education was and still is free and the store clerk or taxi driver is probably higher educated than most North Americans. I spoke with the player of the tres, a Cuban guitar of unique sound requiring complex adeptness. who was a doctor who decided to take a four year leave to persue his musical passion. His wage would not have differed much and he was glad to have the choice. I had brought some guitar strings and wind reeds along as gifts for musicians, they were well appreciated.

Toursim was rapidly becoming Cuba’s number one industry then, we never made it to any resorts for our interests took us by train (forget going first class, we tried it once and sorely missed the joking and commaraderie with locals that went on on the regular lines) to the sites of our interest. The fastest way to a Cubans heart…swig out of his bottle of rum with him and he’ll share story after story. Most of the hotels were foreign owned, and except for Havana I would recommend Casa Paticulars.

Every land you visit has it’s own heart and pulse. Cuba’s is slow and gentle and she holds you in the palm of her hand, unlike the fiery energy of Madame Pele on the Big Island of Hawaii who slowly grips you, finger by finger, until you are clenched in her fist, or the skipping pulse of Ulster that rolls you like a ball bearing on an ever-tilted hand. There is no ‘macho’ in Cuba, rather a gentleness prevails, and curiosity is rampant. If I had the money I would return again and again, but this was a special 25th anniversary present to ourselves and we bought airmile points at a huge discount from our daughter’s boss to be able to afford the flight.

Fidel’s future is unknown but the press is making it seem like he’s dead already. The media loves to prepare obits of the famous years in advance so they can hit the public with details of a person’s life in the ten seconds that seems to be the norm. It would be a shame to see this country somehow fall prey to the talons of the vulture; no matter what, it’s just another country with it’s own lies and it’s system is not hurting anyone anymore then half-democracy. I suppose besides the military aspects, too many of the wealthy ruling U.S. families are still embittered that they lost one of their corrupt playgrounds.

To see some of the works of our good friend and Cuban artist Pavel Lominchar Quintana, please go to
Pavel.. If you are interested in his work and the email bounces back please email me at scout_vagabond@yahoo.ca and I can put you in touch with him via another address. Pavel is a master and Cuban artwork is inexpensive. Him and his wife now have a baby to support.

If you held with this piece, thank you very much.
In spirit,
Scout

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August 3, 2006 at 10:15 pm 10 comments


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ANSWER = RICH COLEMAN

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Useful Links for Activists

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