Thursday, August 17, 2006


Recently my cousin announced that she was getting married. The date has been set for next spring and we are all of to the island of Cuba for the wedding. We will be staying for two weeks in the Sol Palmeras hotel. I am really excited about going but have been a little concerned by the recent reports about Fidel Castro's failing health.

I am intrigued by the prospect of visiting a communist country - as I've never been to one before. Im not even sure how they work? Surely anywhere where there is a currency one man can accumilate more than another? Everybody obviously doesn't have the same - so where are these ideals actually put into practice? And what is likely to happen to this communist haven if their leader dies and the new one opens up cuba to the USA.

I've done some research and it seems that capitalism has entered Cuba by the back door - western products are now available over there - mainly as a result of the collapse of the soviet union. Afterwhich Cuba had to find new sources of income. That new source of income has been tourism. - and with the western tourists have come western money and western ideals.

Im on a resort for the holiday - a long way from havana - but as I am there for two weeks I think i will make the effort to go. I also might visit Guantanamo - im told they do day trips there - although maybe its not right to visit something I don't really agree with - either way I'm not going to change whats happening there.

Apparently Guantanamo Bay is leased off of the Cubans in an agreement signed well before the start of Castros rule. The lease cannot be changed without the permission of both parties. Fidel agreed to honour the agreement - and apparently each year the US government writes a cheque for $2000 (originally 2000 gold coins) for the land - but the cubans never cash the cheque. I wonder what would happen if the new regime does not recognise the US claim to the land? They probably lack the ability to do anything about it. Fidel once cut off water and electricity to the base once - but now they make everything they need themselves.

Anyway, Castro seems to be getting better now. According to the pictures released anyway. Although some people have told me that he is already dead - one website i read said he had been replaced in 1981 with a CIA clone - although you would have thought the US embargo would have ended by now if that was the case. I'll be keeping a close eye on how things develop out there and hoping that nothing spoils my holiday.

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