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Fidel Castro and Cuba

So in my Che Guevara readings, I am learning more and more about Fidel Castro. As usual I have been asking people about their thoughts, and their thoughts on Cuba in general. I have received some starkly different opinions on life there- strange, and interesting. For example, I spoke to a friend's cousin a few days ago who grew up in Cuba. Upon being asked if it was illegal to speak negatively about Fidel or the government, he told me that it was completely fine. There are even musical groups whose lyrics voice out their criticisms of the system on the island nation.

He spoke of a comfortable life (not including Havana where life has been altered due to outside influences). A life where neighbors walk into each other's homes to grab some milk. A community that shares everything including the rum bottle and many hours of talking. People don't search for more money or faster, bigger, better things. They are content with what the government has given them and they enjoy their days together in a very relaxed, simple environment.

For the first time, Cuba sounded like a different country full of content people who value what they have (not including the capital city Havana). It was refreshing hearing these words from someone who knew his Cuba. But of course it opens up the curiosity banks in me. What is life really like there?


julie said...

Dom- Having been to Cuba about 8 times and having a Cuban husband with family still in Havana, I'll say this: I think that asking what life is like in Cuba is like asking what life is like in the US- or any other country, for that matter. I think Americans often make the mistake (and it's reinforced by Cuban Americans with an axe to grind) of thinking that everyone in Cuba feels the same way, experiences life in some sort of grayscale. But really sit down and talk with people and you'll find an amazing diversity of opinions and experiences.

That being said, my own experience of what life is like in Cuba-- in Havana, at least (keep in mind that the rural/urban divide is at least as deep as the divide between countries)--IS friendly, playful, and generous.

Dominic said...

Thanks Julie...that makes sense.