Daily Kos KOmmie Posts From Havana
With all the speculation about whether Fidel Castro is dead or alive or in a permanent state of Francisco Franco, it is interesting to read a Daily Kos diary posted by a KOmmie who lives in Havana as the wife of a foreign service officer (not the USA). Of course, being a KOmmie living in luxury compared to the average Cuban, she rattles on about how Cubans are better off living in their socialist paradise than become victims of EVIL consumerism as you can read in her KOmmie DIARY titled, "The situation in Cuba, from someone who lives in Havana." As we shall see this diary entry plus the replies are basically one long accolade for Castro and his "island paradise." As usual the KOmmie paens to Castro are in Bolshevik Red while the commentary of your humble correspondent, wondering if proclamations by Raul Castro should be issued in Bolshevik Pink, is in the [brackets]:
I'm writing this to provide a little more context to enlightened folks like yourselves about the current situation in Cuba. I do not have any privileged information, just observations as I live in Havana. My husband is a foreign service officer from a country that shall remain anonymous in this diary, but I am American. Though I paraphrase statements my husband has made here, any opinions expressed here are my own. To be honest, I have been reluctant to write about my experiences here, not so much because of possible monitoring by the Cuban government as by our own government.
[KOmmie SneakySnu establishing her Leftist bonafides by declaring that the USA, not Cuba, is the real police state.]
I have satellite TV at home and have been monitoring CNN and MSNBC, since they have provided the most news to Americans about what's going on here. I am dismayed by the amount of attention given to the few dozen people who have gathered to celebrate in Miami. I've been keeping an eye on Cuban news as well, though no more information has been issued since last night's declaration. Several hours will be dedicated to Castro's condition and this temporary government this evening at 6:30 on a debate show called Mesa Redonda (Roundtable). I believe that the same information will be released in the newspaper Granma tonight or tomorrow, available online at www.granma.cu.
[You have a satellite TV which puts you ahead of the average Cubans for whom such a luxury is FORBIDDEN. They can't even hear most Radio Marti broadcasts because of jamming by the Cuban government. Oh, but you think Cuba is more free than the USA.]
So, what's going on here? Not much. Everybody seems pretty calm, even nonplussed, about the situation. Cubans can't say what they really might be thinking to me; so far, the responses I've gotten are, "Well, he's old," and "It's so just strange because this has never happened before [referring to the handover of power]." They seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.
[Wait and see if Castro is really dead before overthrowing the government...and kicking out arrogant wives of foreign service Castro apologists.]
We think that Castro may have been admitted to the hospital as early as Saturday. As my husband and I were driving to the historic center of Havana, we noticed a vastly increased police presence along our main drag, the Quinta Avenida. At a certain point, traffic was even deviated from a tunnel leading from the Miramar district to the Vedado. At the time, we thought that the Líder Máximo was simply being transported from one place to another with extra security. Then we noticed that the police presence remained high Sunday and yesterday, with lots of cars being pulled over randomly. My husband commented, "This is weird. There's something going on." He thought maybe it was in preparation for the upcoming 80th birthday celebrations, or even for the summit of Non-Aligned Countries in September.
[Maybe they were preparing for another Yearly Kos meeting with a Chocolate Fountain.]
We actually got the news last evening by watching CNN. We then ran out to the garage, where our night guardian was watching local TV. He's an older man and seemed quite worried and sad about the news. The letter written by Castro was read repeatedly (at least 10 times) on all stations. It was repeated again this morning on the radio as we woke. TV programming has gone back to its normal schedule.
[Watching CNN? Isn't that like watching state run Cuban television? The best indication that Castro is really dead is when former CNN Havana correspondent, Lucia Newman, starts wearing black mourning cloth.]
So, while celebrations continue in Miami, don't think for a second that there's some kind of excitement here. I don't get the sense that there is an undercurrent of unrest bubbling to the surface. Cubans have known for many years that Raul would be put in power in Fidel's place. The question is only how long he will remain there. As long as Fidel is alive, Raul is safe.
[Please don't get the impression that the Cubans stuck in Cuba are pissed off with living like animals while the Communist party bigwigs life in the lap of luxury like KOmmie SneakySnu.]
It is so difficult to explain in a short space what life under Castro is like here. I'm tempted to say something like, "It's not like those other dictatorships!" which of course is of little solace to anyone who believes in democracy. The political repression is very real, from the neighborhood watch groups that report on any potential anti-revolutionary activity to the long prison sentences for political dissidents, to the sudden disappearance of political figures who fall out of favor or are charged with corruption.
[But at least they get free bandaids from the government.]
Cultural life, however, is very rich and full of possibilities for expression. Through government organs, there is a strong push for women's equality in all aspects of life (even though the government is dominated by men), as well as racial equality (though a subtle racism exists here too). Linked to the concern for health care, sexuality is openly discussed in newspapers and on TV. The successes here in education and health care should not be undermined because they truly create a sense of well being despite a lack of material goods and, occasionally, undernourishment. In fact, my biggest beef with this regime is food distribution. It doesn't seem to take enough precedence and doesn't proceed in any logical manner, even for us wealthy, dollar-wielding foreign types.
[So living in a police state is balanced out by having a rich "cultural life" as defined by a pampered wife of a foreign service officer.]
Despite the evident hardships, most people seem content, at least in Havana. I say this in an attempt to understand why people would choose to live under a politically repressive regime. There is a strong sense of family and community sharing. They work really hard, but have plenty of time for recreation, as I can tell from the baseball games constantly taking place in the field in front of my house; from the people power-walking and jogging along the Quinta Avenida; and from the kids who make the short trek from their houses to the ocean, dressed in their bathing suits.
[And the kids flew kites under the Saddam Hussein regime so all must have been hunky dory there as well.]
Does that mean they wouldn't give up their bicycles and Soviet-era Lada cars for a new car in a heartbeat? Of course they would. But they are equally aware of the emptiness of a life based solely on consumerism, which is what they see of the U.S. And while I see many people here possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, I don't believe they're willing to give up the security that a socialist state offers. I'm really glad, actually, that Canada and Europe are able to work with Cuba without U.S. interference as public-private ventures grow (particularly in the tourism sector).
[Bad evil consumerism. It must NOT be allowed...except for Communist bigwigs and the families of foreign service officers.]
Well, this is a pretty short and oversimplified sketch, but that's it for now. I've only got 30 hours per month of internet access, and I've already used over 2 today, which is why I won't be commenting extensively here. I'll try to respond to any questions you have though. UPDATE: I just finished watching about 20 minutes of Mesa Redonda. Raul was not present, though he had been announced earlier. Instead, the program is a conversation among journalists about the "repercussions" of Fidel's declaration. The program anchor was reading messages of good wishes from various world leaders, starting with Evo Morales. They also spent a lot of time reassuring the public about Fidel's need for rest. They read a short message written by Fidel, in which explains that his illness must remain a "state secret", given the fact that it could be exploited by el Imperio (the U.S.). He says he is in stable condition. Given the absence of government representatives on the program, the brief statement by Fidel, and the need for so much reassurance, I'd say things aren't going so well.
[So Castro's health must remain a state secret but we are told he is in stable condition? From your point of view, Castro at death's door means things aren't going so well. For the NORMAL Cubans it means the time of national JUBILATION. And now on to the commiserations for Castro from your fellow KOmmies...]
last time I saw a Sneaky Snu comment, yhou were freezing your patooties in Toronto or suchlike. Clearly, I have been too far outside the blogging loop of late.
[Thanx for giving away the state secret that KOmmie SneakySnu's husband is a Canadian foreign service officer.]
I've never had ANY idea before what it might actually be like to live in Cuba, and now I do.
[Yes, now you have an idea what is like to lead the priveleged pampered life of a spouse of a foreign service officer that does NOT have to suffer the hardships of an average Cuban.]
Compared to Cuban's you're rich; I'm sorry you want to pretend otherwise.
[LOUSY FREEPER TROLL!!!]
As for celebrating, what could potentially happen during a transfer of power is that the whole thing falls apart. Picture a bunch of -- say -- Cuban exiles who decide to use instability in the Cuban government to move back in (with the support of the Bush administration, natch) and pull a Chalabi but the situation spins out of control and Cuba collapses into a civil war or something like that. That might be worse.
[Sorry, no civil war in Cuba. The few privileged supporters of the Communist regime will make a beeline for their private jets and fly off to safety in Venezuela.]
I'm not saying Cuba must be some kind of paradise, but I am saying that we here are lacking some very important values that others have found. That our material world is certainly not the only way.
[Yes, we are lacking the important values of a Communist police state.]
I don't like Castro's lack of interest in democracy, but Cuban socialism has been remarkably effective at guaranteeing a basic, decent standard of living for the Cuban populace that would not have been possible under a "free-trade" regime.
[Such a wonderful standard of living that some guy actually sold fried breaded mopheads under the guise of country fried steak in Cuba (this actually happened).]
Why ARE they so weak economically, when other places (such as perhaps Tonga or Tuvalu, or Montenegro or Andorra, or even Antigua or Barbados) seem so much less desparate?
[The answer is called COMMUNISM.]
The corporate elite that rule our country HATE any nation that pursues an independent path--those nations are "dictatorships" and "failed states." Once they open up their resources for plunder again, then they'll be "democracies".
[A Geopolitical lesson from a KOmmie perspective.]
I don't know any progressives who idolize Castro, at least not rational ones.
[As we have seen, there are plenty of "progressives" in both KOmmiland and DUmmieland who idolize Castro but, of course, none of them are rational.]
The Cuban political system has much to criticise but that very system has given the vast majority a better life than before. The American Way of life has much to praise but it is also devastating the planet, sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of its children to bed hungry and leaving the parents of very many more in terror of affect illness would have on the family.
[Another KOmmie lecture on geopolitics.]
It is unfortunate bad timing for Fidel to fall ill during the Bushco presidency. Unless his successor declares "Democracia !" and salutes the American flag, the neocons will be applying tremendous pressure to move in and take over, to "liberate" the Cubans. And if this happens, a large number of Cubans, I believe, will go into the mountains for a potentially long-lasting and violent insurgency, as they did 50 years ago.
[Keep dreaming. Those Cubans will be too busy celebrating Communism's downfall to bother hiding away in the mountains.]
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