Do you like national reserves? Yes? Cuba is one of the biggest reserves in the world. The whole country is a reserve. Many people live here. They get their food, not luxurious, but enough to live on. The management of that national reserve gives them some clothes. The weather in Cuba is always good; there may be only three rainfalls during the whole winter. So, one T-shirt, one pair of shorts, and a pair of slippers for every inhabitant of the reserve are quite enough. However, if you are a very fashion-conscious citizen, you can have two T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, and two pairs of slippers of different colors.
All inhabitants live inside a strictly guarded area and cannot leave it to see the outside world. What for? The socialist paradise is right here; be grateful and live happily and freely inside it.
It is not possible to know how the rest of the world lives by looking in Google because there is no Google here, and there is no Internet. Almost none. Some officers of hotels or universities can get Internet, but through a dial-up connection. Do you remember what that is?!
Oh, you will find here many things which you already don’t remember; for example, vintage cars. They are not museum items; they are driven here. If a Cuban has a car, it will be a very, very, very old American beauty or Russian goblin, and will be working as a taxi. This is the only place in the world where you have chance to see a ’58 Eldorado or a ’56 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer which you can hire for a couple of dollars in local value for the whole day. If you like old-timers, Cuba is a paradise for you.
The inhabitants of this reserve get all necessary information from one resource: the government newspaper Granma. Every day it reports about the breathtaking harvest of bananas in Pinar del Rio, and how high the living standards of the Cubans have risen, and how awful life is now in Europe, and that America will die from an economic crisis very soon.
Granma is also the name of an 18-meter twelve-man yacht which Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and their 80 friends used in 1956 when they arrived in Cuba to start their famous socialistic experiment on the people. They started building a free country. Free of business, free of money, free of truth, free of freedom, free of everything. Today, Granma is located in the glass mausoleum in Havana with an eternal flame and honor guard in front of it.
However, the building of socialism after the revolution turned out to be a very tedious thing for one of them—Comrade Che. After the victory on Cuba, he decided to bring revolution to other countries, first to Congo, then to Bolivia where he was “calmed” at last. The sister of Fidel and Raúl Castro wrote in her book, Fidel and Raúl, My Brothers: The Secret History: “He [Che Guevara] never did acknowledge investigation and court. He immediately began to shoot people, because he was a man without heart.” Today, memorials to this man can be seen on every corner of the Cuban cities.
Cubans have the second longest lifespan, after the Japanese, and the lowest death rate for children in the world. Why? Of course, it is the warm climate, but there is another reason: many Cubans studied in the Soviet Union medical institutes which were very good in those times.
Cuba is both an eternal holiday and a never-ending depression: white gentlemen in very expensive hotels and free slaves on the dirty streets, empty shelves in shops and long lines for laundry detergent, hot sand and cold cocktails, cigars and rum, sun and sea, rainfall and drought, azure water and beaches, vanity and tranquility. After some searching on the Internet for “Cuba cheap deals,” you will easily find a number of packages for flight and hotels.
Do you know the history of the Cuban carnival? When the masters of Cuba were Spaniards, a carnival was out of the question. Spanish slavery was one of the most violent in the world. When the French came to replace the Spaniards, everything changed. The tradition of the popular annual carnival began with them. They said to their servants, “Gather the harvest of sugar cane and have fun. We will be drinking wine, looking at you and your black women which excite us with their dancing to such an extent that we will want even our wives. So let’s rock!” And the Cubans rocked! The French were right: harvests increased dramatically!
There is something special about this island. So special that after the first visit, Ernest Hemingway stayed on Cuba and lived there 26 years. Of course, he lived very well. He was a living god there, a living publicity for Cuba. Here, he wrote his best novels. However, note, he was earning his money not in Cuba, but abroad. In 2002, at the age of 104, the captain of his fishing yacht, Gregorio Fuentes, died in Cojimar, never having read The Old Man and the Sea. By the way, he was the prototype of that famous Old Man. The yacht was transferred to the Hemingway museum.
Hemingway liked to drink and had two favorite bars in Havana. Today, in at least 150 bars, you will be told that the famous writer came to this bar every day to drink his Mojito or Daiquiri.
The principle “All around is national, means all around is mine” is carefully observed here. From a place of work everyone steals whatever is possible to steal: from the tobacco factory—cigars, from the bread factory—bread, from the steel factory—rails…. Then people try to sell it somewhere on the street. Where else you will find such exotic things?
If you have never been to Ceausescu’s Romania and Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, but you seek exotic socialism in its last stages, you must visit Cuba as fast as you can. Fidel Castro is not immortal, and people are sure that everything will change in Cuba after his death. This is your last chance.