Castro, Close to Death? Yes - No - Maybe?
I don't wish for anyone to die, really, I don't. Having said that, Castro has outlived his usefulness to the people of Cuba. Hugo Chavez claims Castro is recovering. Great, just what the Cubans need.
We went there for a vacation a couple of years ago and I formed some strong opinions. I was incredibly reluctant to go there, I didn't want to give any of my money to a communist system. I have family who lived behind the Iron Curtain and know the lack of freedoms that comes with it. I also now know the deprivation these people suffer under this system. The average Cuban has an income of about 8 US dollars a month and it's the same for all from doctors to ditch diggers.
I remember for instance, as a child watching my Mom put together packages of used clothing, dried fruit, coffee, sugar and various other non perishables, and shipping them off to east Germany. That's what the Cuban families here in Canada do and to some degree the Cuban Americans. I do believe there is a limit to what Americans can ship and how often though because of the American government embargo.
Cuba is an eye opener for sure, the workers at the resorts are better off than the general population and most families have at least one member working in the tourist trade. Taxi drivers make more money than doctors and everyone wants the new Convertible Pesos for tips instead of the old Peso, which is worthless. I had occassion to check out the shops and a tube of Colgate toothpaste costs 5 convertible pesos, that's 5 US bucks. Most Cubans can't afford that.
This is how most Cubans live, and that's not even the worst of the houses I saw.
Before we left home I did a little research and as a result had a suitecase full of toothpaste, tylenol, aspiring, toothbrushes and lots and lots of chocolate bars that I decided to use as tips as often as possible. The ladies that cleaned our room loved it and couldn't do enough for us.
The Cuban people are ingenious, can do amazing things with very little as some of the old american cars will attest to.
I got ill while I was there and was attended by the most beautiful doctor, I mean she didn't rush me, examined me and gave me the biggest shot in the butt and then hugged me. Go figure!
Drugs where delivered our room half hour later by the nurse and the total bill was just under a hundred bucks. That included a follow up visit a couple of days later to make sure I was fine and when I gave he a bag with a couple of bottles of tylenol and some toothpaste in it, I couldn't believe how quickly she made it disapear in her drawer. I got more hugs and lots of grazia.
These people are warm, friendly and kind and they deserve their freedom. My only worry is that once free they will loose something. Once they joint the dog eat dog world of capitalism things will not stay the same. What's better do you think?