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3 hours ago, MrBirdman said:

I'll give Castro this - he was brilliant at manipulating geo-politics to solicit international economic support for his regime and the Cuban economy beyond what any minor Caribbean power normally would.

No argument there. Charismatic, ruthless and a powerful speaker as is the case with most cult of personality dictators. Since Canel has taken over it's one of the few situations where this type of government has carried on without a cult of personality leader or direct family member. I suppose you could make a case for China but there were major changes after Mao and Xi is positioning himself as somewhat of that type of leader. Maybe Vietnam also, but they're about the lightest form of Communism in practice. 

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1 hour ago, NSXCIGAR said:

Since Canel has taken over it's one of the few situations where this type of government has carried on without a cult of personality leader or direct family member.

True, and what distinguishes Cuba even further is that the other examples of such systems persisting, including China and the USSR, experienced a strong countermovement against the cult figure. This was only explicit within circles of power, which then quietly sought to diffuse any cult publicly. Both Deng Xiaoping’s and Kruschev diminished their predecessors cultural prominence as roadblocks to their reform initiatives. (Interestingly Mao and Stalin as cult figures are now being reappropriated by the autocrats in those countries - Stalin is popular again in Russia). 
 

Ultimately these regimes maintain or lose their legitimacy based on their performance. You can get a populace to live under an absolute monarchy in a country named after it’s rulers if there’s prosperity and solid social services/welfare: we call it Saudi Arabia. 

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We talked to friends in Havana. They are staying in, only going out for necessary things, much like us here. They are all doing well other than the shortages and lines. They are better prepared than most. Those who do not have backup resources are struggling with waits in line and shortages of goods in high demand. They wish us all well. 

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20 hours ago, nino said:

Cannot agree more.

Let me add to your quote :

Its time for change and only the Cuban people can make that happen.

But, you know, it is „the Embargo“ that is to blame 😉 (but to be fair - it is perfidious and affecting way more than the direct trade with the US alone)

Therefore, as the people, why stand up against your leaders, when the evil is extraneous?! They are too aware of where they were coming from - then, where to be heading at next? There’s ‘ninguna’ organised opposition to speak of. Those folks are all in exile long since.

And many still have a dream of the “good socialism” (“if only the embargo was lifted” - seems Helms-Burton isn’t really of any help there...). Although it never worked out anywhere, there’s belief only Cuba and its good people could make it. And granted, there have been achievements (while omitting that it’s always been based on a strong external umbilical chord). Ignoring the vast many of examples that went down the drain (all due to alien hegemonic intervention? Really?). And how it is a principle in all those examples, sooner rather than later, that their people is oppressed, duped by their leaders who claim all the power and all the privileges for themselves, amassing riches. That in all those examples, and one may look from Belarus to China, from former GDR to North Korea, it is a principle that people’s civil as well as the most basic human rights are being ridden roughshod over.

It seems the Cuban people are distinguished by an extreme longanimity, perhaps by some deadly patience. But I think one has to admit, it is always easy to make a judgement, when you are not personally in the situation.

It’s hard to start a rebellion when you’re starving.

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I've been speaking to a few Cuban friends, in different circumstances. Self-employed in local industry, self-employed in the tourism sector, state workers, ex-pats etc.

They are mostly doing OK, not great. Lines are longer, schools in Havana closed. Most have difficulty obtaining basics, food, soap, toilet paper etc. But they are mostly managing.

It's maybe easy to forget that, outside Havana, things are largely back to normal. Tourists are landing in the Cayos again. International tourism in Europe is largely non-existent this year.

Cuba has at least managed the virus very well. As of today, 461 cases per million. Compared to some of Cuba's neighbours, Mexico: 5,457, Jamaica: 1,778, Florida: 32,029. Or Ireland (not a neighbour but also an island): 6,756. Cuba has an army of doctors and students out testing and contact tracing, since March. Plenty of wealthy countries have been talking about a proper contact tracing plan for months, with little to no progress. Cubans know this.

I remember seeing a story from a journalist who interviewed Fidel Castro in the 1970s, he asked Fidel what he was reading at the time. Fidel was reading "Jaws", but he found it "very capitalist". The journalist wondered what was so capitalist about a story of a giant shark. Castro replied that the mayor insisting that the beaches reopen even though there was a man-eating shark in the area was an example of how the economy is more important than people's lives. 

While things are bad in Cuba, and I wouldn't want to be there right now (actually I would, but not under the current circumstances), with kids back in schools here and various other factors, the rise in cases here is such that my mother, and many others her age, is scared to leave her house again.

 

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On 9/22/2020 at 12:44 AM, NSXCIGAR said:

I hope not. I'm really not sure what else could be done. Just about every possible sanction is already in place. What we're seeing is the desired consequence of these sanctions so say the foreign policy geniuses, and this is what is supposed to spur some kind of overthrow of the regime according to sanction theory. Well, we're waiting.

I very much would like to think that the military commanders who presumably have families perennially suffering through this nonsense decade after decade would stage a coup and end this. 

 

Unfortunately, many more things.  Several will be announced within the next 24 hours, I'm afraid.  

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I know the answer is probably "no," but is there any way to directly help the Cuban people with out going there or risking your help been stolen? Are there any cross border not-for-profit orgs that do good work?

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8 hours ago, argrovesjd said:

Unfortunately, many more things.  Several will be announced within the next 24 hours, I'm afraid.  

Yes, it seems so, but these will affect us much more than the average Cuban, fortunately for them I suppose. 

Sadly, I doubt these new restrictions will be repealed any time soon. Trump will certainly want "major" concessions before lightening up on anything, and don't hold your breath on that.

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13 hours ago, Fugu said:

It’s hard to start a rebellion when you’re starving.

they don't start when people are comfortable. 

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17 hours ago, Ryan said:

I've been speaking to a few Cuban friends, in different circumstances. Self-employed in local industry, self-employed in the tourism sector, state workers, ex-pats etc.

They are mostly doing OK, not great. Lines are longer, schools in Havana closed. Most have difficulty obtaining basics, food, soap, toilet paper etc. But they are mostly managing.

It's maybe easy to forget that, outside Havana, things are largely back to normal. Tourists are landing in the Cayos again. International tourism in Europe is largely non-existent this year.

Cuba has at least managed the virus very well. As of today, 461 cases per million. Compared to some of Cuba's neighbours, Mexico: 5,457, Jamaica: 1,778, Florida: 32,029. Or Ireland (not a neighbour but also an island): 6,756. Cuba has an army of doctors and students out testing and contact tracing, since March. Plenty of wealthy countries have been talking about a proper contact tracing plan for months, with little to no progress. Cubans know this.

I remember seeing a story from a journalist who interviewed Fidel Castro in the 1970s, he asked Fidel what he was reading at the time. Fidel was reading "Jaws", but he found it "very capitalist". The journalist wondered what was so capitalist about a story of a giant shark. Castro replied that the mayor insisting that the beaches reopen even though there was a man-eating shark in the area was an example of how the economy is more important than people's lives. 

While things are bad in Cuba, and I wouldn't want to be there right now (actually I would, but not under the current circumstances), with kids back in schools here and various other factors, the rise in cases here is such that my mother, and many others her age, is scared to leave her house again.

 

I have to say I’m kinda surprised you believe the numbers coming out of Cuba. I’m hearing it’s much much worse than being reported. 

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20 hours ago, Ryan said:

Fidel was reading "Jaws", but he found it "very capitalist".

I love that story. In socialism, there is no cost-benefit analysis and no trade-offs. What the leaders decide is important is all that matters. Quality of life is irrelevant, only quantity of life. People are alive but not living. 

22 hours ago, Fugu said:

Therefore, as the people, why stand up against your leaders, when the evil is extraneous?!

If they are still convincing people of that, then no, the Cubans will always see it as ultimately Cuba against the west which makes it difficult to abandon the regime. You'd think they'd be seeing through that claim by now however. 

I think another issue is that Cuba had never really had independence from anyone. The Spanish ruled them mercilessly and then the US abused them mercilessly. They never had the traditions of a free society or self-government in the first place. Certainly the rest of the Caribbean and Central America never did either but by luck they ended up less corrupt than pre-Rev Cuba and freer than Cuba for various reasons, probably because Cuba was the gem everyone wanted control of.

And unfortunately, the pre-Rev Cubans weren't much better off than they are today, so it's not like there's people around wanting to recapture that era telling the young of the good old days. There were never any good old days.

I honestly think the only possible way to change Cuba specifically is exposure and education via exposure. The people have to understand what freedom is about and truly understand their own history. 

I can understand sanctions when attempting to achieve a narrow goal like nuclear disarmament or better trade terms--things controlled directly by the regimes. But a total socio-economic revolution just doesn't appear to be achievable through sanctions. 

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11 minutes ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I love that story. In socialism, there is no cost-benefit analysis and no trade-offs. What the leaders decide is important is all that matters. Quality of life is irrelevant, only quantity of life. People are alive but not living. 

If they are still convincing people of that, then no, the Cubans will always see it as ultimately Cuba against the west which makes it difficult to abandon the regime. You'd think they'd be seeing through that claim by now however. 

I think another issue is that Cuba had never really had independence from anyone. The Spanish ruled them mercilessly and then the US abused them mercilessly. They never had the traditions of a free society or self-government in the first place. Certainly the rest of the Caribbean and Central America never did either but by luck they ended up less corrupt than pre-Rev Cuba and freer than Cuba for various reasons, probably because Cuba was the gem everyone wanted control of.

And unfortunately, the pre-Rev Cubans weren't much better off than they are today, so it's not like there's people around wanting to recapture that era telling the young of the good old days. There were never any good old days.

I honestly think the only possible way to change Cuba specifically is exposure and education via exposure. The people have to understand what freedom is about and truly understand their own history. 

I can understand sanctions when attempting to achieve a narrow goal like nuclear disarmament or better trade terms--things controlled directly by the regimes. But a total socio-economic revolution just doesn't appear to be achievable through sanctions. 

The point about Spanish colonialism is very poignant. Spanish colonies were very corrupt and had a considerable regard of slavery (Race and gender). The population from Spain sent to colonize were basically Aussies (Deviants like Rob and John S). The "New World" to Spain was a Penal colony. And those were the people that rose to power. It is because of that inherit corruption that these countries have the normality of dysfunction that they still have today. It has been ubiquitous for 400 years.

Also they certainly don't believe in the North Korean narrative where there are enemies everywhere and the state keeps them safe. There may be some pride in the revolution, but really the problem is control of resources. How are you going to fight against the entity that controls food? They have children, and can't risk being cut off. And even if they did, all government needs to do is withhold rations and fortify until the protests are weak, Then they swoop in on the weak forces and create an even harsher police state.

This is why sanctions will not work. Cuba's government has too much control. Unless there is a secret effort for farmers to stockpile rations, a way to arm the public, and hide all details from the government it can not happen. People think revolutions happen now and days. They do not. They get suppressed. You can't fight a government that has all the money, power and military capability with a workers uprising of torches and pitchforks.Being fed up is not enough, they have to have vast networks and high levels of organization, that the government has already ensured they can not have.

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On 9/22/2020 at 8:53 PM, argrovesjd said:

Two of these were purchased today with $5.00 USD.  Milk for the next week for a family of four.  "Only" three hours in the line. And she feels very lucky to have them.

 

 

9d44caed-4be3-4678-98da-d3eba7be66fd.JPG

Why is this labeled in English??

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18 minutes ago, Hibauchery said:

Why is this labeled in English??

Because they government buys what it can.  They aren't in a place to ignore products just because it is written in another language.

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This was a tense moment in Havana:

 

Capture.JPG

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2 hours ago, Monterey said:

Because they government buys what it can.  They aren't in a place to ignore products just because it is written in another language.

It says “Product of Cuba” on it though, so English is a bit weird for evaporated milk meant for the domestic market.

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3 hours ago, bpm32 said:

It says “Product of Cuba” on it though, so English is a bit weird for evaporated milk meant for the domestic market.

On their domestic Red Wine they have "Product of Cuba". 

it is imported in bulk from Italy and bottled. 

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^ Let's hope they don't end up doing the same with their cigars!!

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22 hours ago, Monterey said:

Because they government buys what it can.  They aren't in a place to ignore products just because it is written in another language.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I still don't get it.  The packaging said, "Product of Cuba", so clearly the packaging was produced by the Cuban government.  Does Cuba actually export dairy products to English speaking nations?  If not, why would the government produce packaging in English??

 

Oops, didn't see that someone else had already responded with the same question...

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An interesting video tour by a Cuban blogger to one of the new MLC stores - stores that only accept payment in MLC or freely convertible currency like US$ or Euros and only in state issued debit cards.

She "only" had to walk from central Havana to almost Miramar and wait in line 5 - five - hours to buy some soap, toothpaste and some food, all in all $20 worth of purchase.

And she was afraid not being allowed to shop there as she doesn't live in that district ( people are only allowed to buy in their own district, but that is for "normal" stores ).

 

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Some places have a 2 line/2 day system. Spoke to a family member that said they have to go to the mini-mart the night before, show ID that they are from that neighborhood. Then they get a number assigned in the line so they can buy things the next day. The milk is in English as it is marketed towards tourists. Most locals cant afford that milk. In Nino's video some of the products may come from other countries in bulk but are packaged in Cuba. Some of the packaging may appear to be from another country but is packaged in Cuba without licensing rights. For example that Bavaria beer tastes like they aged it 30 seconds. John

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Perhaps I'm missing something, but I still don't get it.  The packaging said, "Product of Cuba", so clearly the packaging was produced by the Cuban government.  Does Cuba actually export dairy products to English speaking nations?  If not, why would the government produce packaging in English??
 
Oops, didn't see that someone else had already responded with the same question...

Good question. I have also seen this milk packaged in the same cartons except in all Spanish. She did buy this in the “dollar” line, so...????


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