There are certain subjects (boy, do I dislike that word) that you’re not supposed to talk about. Religion is one of them. Sexual orientation is another. Politics, oh my god- you never talk about politics. That can definitely come up and bite you on the ass and many other parts of your body. I would like to believe that I do not see color.
So where am I going with this? What I’m about to say is my opinion and I’m aware that I could be wrong. A long, long time ago, I’m of the belief that in 1957, ’58, and ’59, Fidel Castro was a true hero. Unfortunately, sometime after 1960, his relationship with the United States went to hell in a hand basket. (Again, keep in mind that this is my opinion and not a fact.) I believe if Fidel had been a little bit more flexible and if the USA, the biggest, richest, and strongest country in the world, had taken a different point of view, it would be a radically different world. This would at least be the case 90 miles off the shore of Florida and maybe, just maybe, the beautiful, wonderful, lovely Cuban people would have grown with all of the technological advances to become a better, more complete society. It wouldn’t be communism, it wouldn’t be socialism, and it wouldn’t be fascism- it would be old fashioned capitalism.
Two days after we left Cuba, Fidel Castro died. I wish we were there to record the feelings of the people, but that ship sailed. We’ll be back early next year. It’s very difficult for Americans to quite understand the concept of this type of socialism. They remind me that it is a lot like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. I understand while the Russians were there, their standard of living was one hundred times better than it was under Batista. Unfortunately for them, when the USSR folded, the Cuban economy went south very quickly and was unable to work its way out of that hole. Not true. Many people have signed on for private business through the Cuban government- a little bit of capitalism, and once they get a taste of it they really like it. When you dovetail their education, their ability to do very hard work, and their dreams of the future, you come up with quite the “reaching for the stars” kind of attitude. Pretty amazing stuff. I hope and pray that the 800 pound gorilla cuts them a little bit of slack. These are really beautiful people who I think deserve a shot at the golden ring. Attached you’ll see a photograph of the first private restaurant on the island.