BenTha'er-Horizons

More View of Havana

Michael Totten has written another version of his travels or travelogue involving Cuba and Havana. It is a fascinating perspective of what the current political situation and government has made of Cuba from the pre-Communist days. He wanted to visit a Communist country and experience what that means as a tourist and a better appreciation of what the citizens of that country live with.

“Marxists have ruled Cuba for more than a half-century now. Fidel Castro, Argentine guerrilla Che Guevara, and their 26th of July Movement forced Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 and replaced his standard-issue authoritarian regime with a Communist one. The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.” “
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Another Cuba Time

Michael Totten has written another great follow up article to his series about Cuba. I wish our current leaders in Washington, especially on the Democrat side, would take the time to read them. Maybe then some, like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa (who will retire, Thank Goodness) would not make the idiotic statements praising Cuba as a wonderful example of government working for the people. How the streets are clean....................could it be because they are not allowed to have anything extra as far as food and goods that would even clutter the streets? Maybe they would be jailed if they did or were menaces to society. Too bad Tom Harkin is not jailed for being a pure ignoramus. See here what Cuba is really like and why Michael Totten says he won’t return while the Castro regime is in power.
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Che Quevera and Cuba

Here is another great article and analysis of the recent history and status of Cuba by Michael Totten. He covers the bloody background of Castro’s henchman, Che Quevera. Unfortunately, a large number of ignorant individuals have romanticized Quevera and his visage is found on many a T-shirt. From all reports he was an evil man who was happy to practice revolution, especially in the form of killing anyone in his way or did not support his beliefs or efforts. Michael Totten covers this well in this article and a description of the monument to Quevera in Cuba.
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Cuban Road Trip, Part Two

The second part of Michael Totten’s Journal covering his road trip around Cuba is found here. In this piece, he traveled to Trinidad which is a World Heritage Site. From his description, it is a beautiful city in many ways, unfazed by the Communist changes to architecture and buildings. Much of what has been there has been in place for centuries, even longer than parts of Paris as he mentioned. It is illuminating when he describes again how little people live on in Cuba, twenty dollars a month. Though even if one has cash money there is little or nothing there that one can use the money to buy. It is much like a post-apocalyptic world where money has no value or meaning to everyday life.

“So it turns out even Trinidad’s bubble of private enterprise can barely hobble along when it’s encircled by communism and cut off from the rest of the world. In hindsight, that’s obvious. I showed up in Cuba on a middle class salary, and I even brought emergency money, but I still couldn’t buy anything. Nothing’s for sale. Everything is in short supply everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pocket or your account. Cash isn’t as worthless as it would be after the end of the world, but it’s close.”

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Cuban Road Trip

As much as I wish I was the one traveling and on a road trip, I am not. Reading Michael Totten’s World Affairs Journal does make me feel as if I was though. He is a very engaging writer and brings a person right into the heart of where he is. You can see the countryside and experience what he experiences. I have written a piece earlier about his series on Cuba and here is another part of that visit. In this Journal piece, he is writing about taking a road trip to visit the Bay of Pigs. It is a name that should resonate in U.S. history and during JFK’s presidency. One gets a feel for the life of the average Cuban. People live on the same amount of money given to each person monthly. Seafood and meat items can be luxury goods and get them into very serious trouble. Michael Totten’s work is definitely worth reading.

“Police officers pull over cars and search the trunk for meat, lobsters, and shrimp. They also search passenger bags on city busses in Havana. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote about it sarcastically in her book, Havana Real. “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”

If they find a side of beef in the trunk, so I’m told, you’ll go to prison for five years if you tell the police where you got it and ten years if you don’t.

No one is allowed to have lobsters in Cuba. You can’t buy them in stores, and they sure as hell aren’t available on anyone’s ration card. They’re strictly reserved for tourist restaurants owned by the state. Kids will sometimes pull them out of the ocean and sell them on the black market, but I was warned in no uncertain terms not to buy one.”
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Cuba Current

There has been a fascinating series of articles written by Michael Totten about his visit to Cuba. He is a great observer of a country and its people in current times and turmoils. He has written about several countries in the Middle East. Travel and recording his observations of such areas is his goal and work. One such article is found here. Here is an observation of the real life Cuba, for the people who must life there every day.
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