Cuba is a hot topic at the moment. There are flags going up, American’s (!!) visiting, and oh my gawd do you think they’ll get a McDonald’s?! It’s going to change, stress. I happen to think a bit of change is a good thing, perhaps not for the tourists wanting a journey back in time to the 1950s (though I’m pretty confident the tourist dollar will ensure you will still be able to cruise Havana in a classic American car), but for, you know, actual Cubans.
Consider this, if I were Cuban:
- I would have access to free territory education but have to work for the government for at least 3 years after graduating. I wouldn’t get to choose my job and if I quit, because maybe I don’t like said job, I forfeit my qualification.
- If I decided to become a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher I would get paid about the same as someone waiting tables.
- If I want to travel, it would take me at least a year to save for a passport and I have to ask the government if I’m allowed to leave. Oh and most country’s I want to go to require I get a visa, even if I’m only transiting and don’t leave the airport.
- If I happen to own a house and decide I want to sell it, I have to sell it to the government. Or if I want to buy a house I have to buy it from the government.
- If I want to go the the supermarket. Oh wait, I can’t. There aren’t any. Only government run ‘Russian stores’ (they are called Russian stores because the stock used to come from Russian aid) where I can only buy as much as the government says I can and if it’s not enough I have to go the the expensive shop for extra rice.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Change might be ok for Cuba and regardless of change or not I already want to go back. Here are some wanderings from Cienfuegos and Trinidad.