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I've just returned from three weeks in Cuba, and would like to share some information with everyone.
First: things are changing there. In fact, they have already changed a great deal in the economic sphere, because everyone knows that a totally top-down state-controlled, centralized planned economy, just does not work. If the number of bars of soap in Santiago depends on some planner in Havana getting it right ... there will not be soap in Santiago. Raul Castro is much more pragmatic than his older brother, and began relaxing state controls in the economy several years ago, allowing a limited amount of private enterprise, turning state firms into co operatives, etc. Hopefully, this will continue.
That does NOT mean that Cuba is going to become another Latin American crony-capitalist country. No one really knows what will happen.
The best thing that the US can do is to end the embargo, which is only still in place because of the official political corruption that plays such a role in US politics, namely, campaign donations, in this case from the mad dogs of the Cuban American National Foundation. The real cause of Cuban poverty is the state's control of the economy, but in second place has been the wicked, stupid embargo, which the regime uses as an excuse -- but it's a 'true excuse'. Once it's gone, the impossibility of running a thriving economy based on state planning will be even more obvious, especially as the Venezuelan subsidy is going to end.
Second, it's wrong to think that every Cuban is either a mindless supporter of Fidel and the current government, or a frothing counter-revolutionary. I would call the mood of the people I talked to as I traveled around the island (admittedly a tiny and selective sample), 'exasperated' and 'resigned' rather than 'hostile', with some of them 'hopeful' about the economic consequences of the end of American overt hostility to the regime.
People tend to take for granted when they have grown up with, and focus on what they don't have. So I believe Cubans take their excellent health care and education systems , and their low violent crime rate, for granted. But that doesn't mean that they are not aware of them, or want to give them up in return for shopping malls. Why not the best of both worlds?
In fact, there is now discussion going on in Cuba about the best way forward. You can get some glimpse of this by having a look at the remarkable publication called The Havana Times. (Click on the link.) (Cuba probably has less internet censorship than Singapore, partly, perhaps, because it's so difficult at the moment to get onto the Internet -- there are only a few hotspots around the island, no home connections, and getting on for an hour costs a week's wages. But this is going to change for the better.)
Thirdly -- you should go to Cuba! (Now that Cuba has taken the US off its list of state sponsors of terror, you probably are safe from bombs in hotels! And you are finally graciously allowed by your government to spend your money there.)
If you stay in peoples' homes (the 'casas particulares'), eat from the 'cafeterias' and other food outlets (rather than fancy tourist-oriented restaurants), and travel by bus, you can keep expenses to well under $75 a day. Go during winter if possible.
If you PM me I can give you a lot of useful travel tips (or if there is demand, I can devote a post to this), including how you can support Cuban democrats (and I don't mean the "dissidents" whom you might see on the news, whose overt pro-Americanism is their own worst enemy).
Note that there are Cuban socialists, even Marxists, who are not regime apologists; there are places, public, legal, you can go to talk to people about politics even if you don't speak Spanish. They're fascinated by American politics, and you should be fascinated by Cuban politics. And it would be great way to get away from constant depressing news about the primary elections. What are you waiting for?