Everything You Need to Know About Life in Cuba

 

Hours ago, as Benedict XVI entered Santiago de Cuba, the second-largest city on the island, a man broke from the crowd, shouting “Down with the Revolution!” and “Libertad!

In the humane, free, exquisitely civilized society that Fidel and his brother Raul have created during more than half a century of enlightened rule, here is what happened next:

Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 27 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    You can’t get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That’s all you need to know about communism.

    – P.J. ORourke

    • #1
    • March 27, 2012 at 8:49 am
  2. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    Oh, and there’s the life destroying, soul sucking joylessness of an existence stripped of all freedom, hope, and dignity. Plus really rotten architecture.

    • #2
    • March 27, 2012 at 8:52 am
  3. Profile photo of MMPadre Inactive
    Percival

    You can’t get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That’s all you need to know about communism.

    – P.J. ORourke · 6 minutes ago

    Don’t know about the cigars, but P. J. doesn’t know jack about China. I have enjoyed many a fine takeout meal in Kongmoon.

    Let’s hope the Pope’s presence will inspire the faith of the people there. This is liable to have an affect on the society, but that is not his primary purpose.

    • #3
    • March 27, 2012 at 8:59 am
  4. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member

    The Cuban government proudly proclaims its successful health care system, citing impressively low rates in child and maternal mortality. But the truth is that such rates are not based on a real effort to save mothers and their newborn children. Rather, they are based on the abortions performed on pre-born children diagnosed with certain types of defect which are considered life-threatening in later infant life. They are also based on the widespread use of contraceptives for those women who suffer from pathologies which otherwise might put their lives at risk should they become pregnant.

    From the Population Research Institute

    • #4
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:01 am
  5. Profile photo of Larry L Inactive

    Just curious – who was the cleric on that tape? Someone from the Vatican, or a representative of the Cuban clerisy? Either way, seems to me that he was going out of his way to minimize what happened; i.e., “nothing to see here, move on.”

    • #5
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:09 am
  6. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive
    MMPadre
    Percival

    You can’t get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That’s all you need to know about communism.

    – P.J. ORourke

    Don’t know about the cigars, but P. J. doesn’t know jack about China. I have enjoyed many a fine takeout meal in Kongmoon.

    Let’s hope the Pope’s presence will inspire the faith of the people there. This is liable to have an affect on the society, but that is not his primary purpose.

    It was probably true when P.J. ORourke said it, but the Chinese are not quite as communist anymore. That’s what changed.

    • #6
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:11 am
  7. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    @MMPadre, the quote was from about 25 years ago, so the Chinese have had a little time to improve. In addition, they aren’t really all that Communist anymore.

    • #7
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:11 am
  8. Profile photo of Albert Arthur Coolidge

    I heard a report on NPR last night about how Gallway, Ireland, is erecting a statue to Che. Apparently his grandmother or something was born there. The host remarked that some people, mostly American politicians are protesting the planned statue due to Che being “controversial”. Apparently, “some are even calling him a mass murderer.” (I’m paraphrasing, but the point is that NPR didn’t go on to explain why some might consider him to be a mass murderer. Mostly, because he was a mass murderer.)

    When it comes to Cuba, Che, La Revolucion, people have giant blinders.

    For instance, I remember attending a “Free Cuba” rally with my (very liberal) father when I was a child. The goal of the rally was to lift the US embargo, not to remove Fidel Castro from power.

    • #9
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:31 am
  9. Profile photo of Leslie Watkins Member

    That was my take too, and I think he’s a Vatican representative. I don’t know which scene is more dispiriting.

    Larry L: Just curious – who was the cleric on that tape? Someone from the Vatican, or a representative of the Cuban clerisy? Either way, seems to me that he was going out of his way to minimize what happened; i.e., “nothing to see here, move on.” · 23 minutes ago
    • #10
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:34 am
  10. Profile photo of Southern Pessimist Member

    Santiago de Cuba is the site of Teddy Roosevelt famous charge of San Juan hill with his band of Rough Riders. Surprisingly there is a very nice memorial there to Roosevelt and his soldiers. Surprising in that there are few monuments to gringo capitalists in Cuba. Unless you consider 1954 Chevys to be monuments.

    • #11
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:35 am
  11. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Leslie Watkins: That was my take too, and I think he’s a Vatican representative. I don’t know which scene is more dispiriting. · 19 minutes ago
    Larry L: Just curious – who was the cleric on that tape? Someone from the Vatican, or a representative of the Cuban clerisy? Either way, seems to me that he was going out of his way to minimize what happened; i.e., “nothing to see here, move on.” · 23 minutes ago

    My take, too. I’m virtually certain he was the Vatican spokesman or press secretary. I suppose he was conscious that, if the press made too much of the incident, the Cuban regime might punish good people, including, perhaps, priests and bishops, who helped make possible the pope’s visit. Even at that, my heart sank as I watched him smile an oily smile and make light of a brave man’s protest.

    • #12
    • March 27, 2012 at 9:57 am
  12. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    If y’all never saw the conservative satire An American Carol, it’s worth checking out. Here’s the scene in which they mock Michael Moore praising Cuban healthcare.

    • #13
    • March 27, 2012 at 10:01 am
  13. Profile photo of TheRoyalFamily Member
    Leslie Watkins: That was my take too, and I think he’s a Vatican representative. I don’t know which scene is more dispiriting. · 3 minutes ago
    Larry L: Just curious – who was the cleric on that tape? Someone from the Vatican, or a representative of the Cuban clerisy? Either way, seems to me that he was going out of his way to minimize what happened; i.e., “nothing to see here, move on.” · 23 minutes ago

    I will agree. His Spanish isn’t very fluid, so unless he’s totally making things up as he goes, I doubt it’s his native language. Also, it didn’t sound like a Cuban accent (for one thing, I could understand him). Oh, and he’s pretty white, too.

    • #14
    • March 27, 2012 at 10:02 am
  14. Profile photo of PJ Kellogg Inactive
    TheRoyalFamily
    Leslie Watkins: That was my take too, and I think he’s a Vatican representative. I don’t know which scene is more dispiriting. · 3 minutes ago
    Larry L: Just curious – who was the cleric on that tape? Someone from the Vatican, or a representative of the Cuban clerisy? Either way, seems to me that he was going out of his way to minimize what happened; i.e., “nothing to see here, move on.” · 23 minutes ago

    I will agree. His Spanish isn’t very fluid, so unless he’s totally making things up as he goes, I doubt it’s his native language. Also, it didn’t sound like a Cuban accent (for one thing, I could understand him). Oh, and he’s pretty white, too. · 1 minute ago

    He’s not a native Spanish speaker at all–sounded more German, in my opinion. He’s definitely not Cuban, and more than likely a Vatican press secretary.

    • #15
    • March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am
  15. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member

    The Wikipedia background on Lombardi (quit snickering) is revealing.

    • #16
    • March 27, 2012 at 10:26 am
  16. Profile photo of Jan-Michael Rives Inactive

    Going on over 50 years now and not a hundred miles from us. For shame.

    • #17
    • March 27, 2012 at 11:29 am
  17. Profile photo of Joseph Stanko Member

    The Vatican has had a rather inept PR department for quite some time, nothing new in that.

    • #18
    • March 28, 2012 at 1:49 am
  18. Profile photo of Stephen Dawson Thatcher

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but that video demonstrates nothing with regard to the disgusting Cuban regime. Had the popemobile been going down George Street in Sydney and a protester broken through the barriers and approached, he also would have been bundled off.

    Even free societies are skittish about security at the best of times. The actions of of Mehmet Ali Agca will be present in everyones’ minds for many years to come.

    Not that the evil inherent in Cuba’s regime needs any further demonstration.

    • #19
    • March 28, 2012 at 2:17 am
  19. Profile photo of Larry Koler Member
    Albert Arthur: I heard a report on NPR last night about how Gallway, Ireland, is erecting a statue to Che. Apparently his grandmother or something was born there. The host remarked that some people, mostly American politicians are protesting the planned statue due to Che being “controversial”. Apparently, “some are even calling him a mass murderer.” (I’m paraphrasing, but the point is that NPR didn’t go on to explain why some might consider him to be a mass murderer. Mostly, because he was a mass murderer.)

    When it comes to Cuba, Che, La Revolucion, people have giant blinders.

    Not really. Blinders are a means to prevent knowing some things. These are lies — plain and simple. 

    When discussing Cuba and Castro with liberals I always put this proposition to them: If Castro would just stop shooting people in the back who want to leave then I could handle that. But, he won’t stop killing people — or threatening to kill people. Why not?

    In the fantasy life they lead, liberals can’t go down that logic tree to give me a real answer. They just drift away into other topics.

    • #20
    • March 28, 2012 at 3:41 am
  20. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Stephen Dawson: I hate to be a wet blanket, but that video demonstrates nothing with regard to the disgusting Cuban regime. Had the popemobile been going down George Street in Sydney and a protester broken through the barriers and approached, he also would have been bundled off.· 2 hours ago

    Bundled off, very likely. But not dragged off to the side and beaten.

    • #21
    • March 28, 2012 at 4:09 am
  21. Profile photo of Troy Senik Editor

    Also, let’s not forget that, had he been in Sydney, the very reason for his act of protest would not have existed. That is not, to my mind, an immaterial distinction.

    Peter Robinson
    Stephen Dawson: I hate to be a wet blanket, but that video demonstrates nothing with regard to the disgusting Cuban regime. Had the popemobile been going down George Street in Sydney and a protester broken through the barriers and approached, he also would have been bundled off.· 2 hours ago

    Bundled off, very likely. But not dragged off to the side and beaten. · 3 minutes ago

    • #22
    • March 28, 2012 at 4:12 am
  22. Profile photo of Stephen Dawson Thatcher

    Peter, I’ve rewatched and I see I did miss one major punch, and, later, some scuffling. Sorry. I must have blinked first time through.

    Having said that, it’s not exactly Rodney King level. (I know, the poor fellow may well not survive the ministrations of the security services, but that’s not in the video.)

    Right now here in Australia there is a political controversy because the NSW police tasered a young man who died. (Caused by taser? Who knows.) There was a security video of the chap running away, pursued by a bunch of cops. Which went to show … what? Nothing much to my mind. But the usual suspects see it as supporting their demands for tasers be withdrawn from service (leaving the police with only the option of shooting with lead instead). 

    We tend to see in these things a degree of confirmation. To anyone who is deluded about Cuba, this video will have no persuasive value at all.

    • #23
    • March 28, 2012 at 4:46 am
  23. Profile photo of Stephen Dawson Thatcher

    Troy, I fully understand the on-going evil within Cuba. I like to note casually to those wearing Che accoutrements that it’s interesting they should celebrate a prison Warden under whose care a few thousand prisoners were killed.

    But if the same situation were replicated anywhere in the world, whether the protester was justified or not, he’d be treated more or less the same way, although perhaps without the beating in its more civilised parts.

    The more I watch the video, though, the more one aspect of it creeps me out. Once they have the fellow on the crowd side of the barrier, it parts widely, leaving a corridor for the security fellow and his prisoner. How very well behaved.

    But perhaps I’m reading too much into it.

    • #24
    • March 28, 2012 at 4:57 am
  24. Profile photo of Southern Pessimist Member

    To purchase anything not offered by the government in their monthly rations such as cosmetics, quality toilet paper, spices,and yes quality cigars, the citizens need access to American dollars. This has created the most racially stratfied society in the western hemisphere because the only people with access to American dollars are politicians, white cubans with American relatives, tourism workers and prostitutes. Socialism eventually turns everyone into a prostitute.

    • #25
    • March 28, 2012 at 6:51 am
  25. Profile photo of Ed G. Inactive

    The whole thing is strange, though I tend to Stephen Dawson’s view (except for the punch or two caught on tape).

    Also strange were the row of un-uniformed people facing the crowd and away from the street: it was street, barriers, people dressed in white and cheering, and then people facing the crowd. Were those official security personnel? 

    • #26
    • March 28, 2012 at 7:16 am
  26. Profile photo of Damian Penny Inactive

    The number-one source of foreign tourists for Cuba? My own country, I’m sad to say. Canadians love to visit Castro’s socialist paradise, partly because it’s cheap, but also because of residual anti-Americanism. Many, many of my fellow Canadians have assured me that communism would work for sure in Cuba if not for the US embargo.

    Personally, I strongly oppose the embargo because Cuba is a brutal dictatorship. For over 50 years, the Castro brothers have had the perfect scapegoat. 

    • #27
    • March 28, 2012 at 10:07 am