Friday, July 02, 2004

Cuba – What a Dollar Will Buy…


“Poor Cuba, so far from God, so close to the United States,” is a refran that was often heard. Visitors from America were the mainstay of the industry, and often in the mode of the “Ugly American.” That’s what Cubans remembered about American tourists.

After the revolution in 1959, tourists came from other places, Canda, Europe, the Soviet Union, and eventually Americans began to return, sometimes in the form of expatiates returning to see relatives. It doesn’t matter to Cubans which they are. What is important is the capital they bring to place in private hands. “Wan dolar, plis,” is heard all over Cuba.

One dollar for the most “basic of services,” for things that we take for granted in the West. Take my picture? One dollar. Where can I find…? One dollar. May I take your picture or the picture of your house? One dollar. Listen to a street musician. One dollar.

Begging is illegal in Cuba, but if you provide a service, it’s harder to prove. Many are the very old, or those with few other recourses. We can’t deny them a living. It’s hard to make it in Castro’s Cuba.

Read the Rest (Spanish Language)

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