Apartheid en Cuba
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    An Eye-Opening Cuban Vacation

    An Eye-Opening Cuban Vacation
    by Humberto Fontova
    Posted Feb 03, 2006

    Please keep this in mind, friends: the following was not written by a
    “Cuban exile, Republican hard-liner, crackpot” (like me). What the
    Cuban-exile crackpot presents here is a very crude translation of an
    article printed in Oct. 25 in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo by a
    backpacking tourist from Spain named Isane Aparicio Busto, who had just
    returned from Cuba. Like so many “hip” European tourists to Cuba, Isane
    might be expected to sport Che Guevara’s face on her backpack or
    T-shirt. I suspect she won’t now.

    I say “very crude translation” because Spaniards claim that Cubans don’t
    properly speak Spanish. Perhaps, but we at least pronounce our “S”
    properly and without contorting our mouth to where we resemble someone
    trying to spit out a mustache hair. At any rate, here goes:

    “We arrived in Cuba without political prejudices, without any intention
    to set foot in Varadero beach, intent on seeing the country outside the
    much-lauded tourist areas,” recalls Spanish backpacker Isane Aparicio
    Busto. “The blow was shocking. We left with our perceptions about the
    reality of the Cuban Revolution — and even with our prior social and
    political principles — demolished.

    “All we’d heard about from many Europeans who traveled to Cuba was the
    rum, the happiness, the salsa, the Caribbean party atmosphere. But they
    hadn’t mentioned the prostitution either — so we should have known they
    weren’t totally leveling with us. We’d traveled to Mexico City and
    Caracas and seen the horrible slums on the outskirts of these cities.
    But through old Havana we found ourselves walking constantly through a
    miasma of pestilential odors, with morose faces looking at us from
    decrepit doorways. My friend and I kept looking at each other asking,
    ‘Where in the hell have all the people traveled that kept telling us
    poverty didn’t exist in Revolutionary Cuba?’

    “We saw police everywhere. And it soon became obvious that Cubans are
    the victims of the 21st century’s version of apartheid. Hotels for
    foreign tourists, stores for foreign tourists, buses for foreign
    tourists — a world set apart from the Cubans themselves as they are
    prevented by the police from entering. So we asked a few Cubans how they
    felt about this system.

    “And they all answered — while looking around — that it was fine, had
    to be done that way. That it was the proper way to protect tourists
    because many Cubans are scoundrels. So was this that proud nationalism
    of Revolutionary Cuba we’d heard about? The nation’s impoverished people
    forced to treat foreigners with such meekness and deference — to grovel
    before them?

    “We wanted to stay away from the hotels and tried staying at the house
    of a Cuban lady named Mari. On the first day there, the block chieftain
    for the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, shows up and
    says she’s out of line and either she pays her the fee we’ve been paying
    or she’ll promptly report this to the police. So we leave.

    “We learned that the Cuban system is nothing but misery, moral mendacity
    and abuse. The system simply smothers you. And yet this revolution (with
    it’s Che Guevara banners) has sold itself to the youth of the world as a
    paradigm of equality, liberty and national liberation. And the leaders
    that govern my country (Spain) simply refuse to come out and call this
    place a dictatorship. The Cuban people’s personal aspirations seemed
    completely mutilated. I’ve never felt such anguish about a nation and a
    people in my life. If I were a Cuban, I’d certainly be on a raft.”

    That “Varadero” Isane mentioned is the gorgeous beach east of Havana
    where millions of Cubans cavorted every weekend — at least during
    Cuba’s stint as a racist-fascist U.S. satrapy terrorized by crooks and

    In 1959, Fidel and his vanguard of the downtrodden rose in righteous
    fury. Inflamed by a patriotic fervor they ended foreign humiliation of
    Cubans. Of this we’re assured by everyone from Charles Rangel, to Noam
    Chomsky to Robert Redford to Jesse Jackson to Norman Mailer to any Ivy
    League history professor.

    Now, after 47 years of this fervently nationalist revolution, the best
    of Varadero beach is barricaded against Cubans by armed police and
    reserved for rich foreigners, their local footservants and prostitutes.

    Jimmy Carter, Barbara Boxer, high-rolling trade delegations from
    Nebraska to Louisiana to California to Maine are welcome — not to
    mention Isane herself. Let a non-governmental Cuban citizen try to enter
    and he’s bludgeoned with Czech machine gun butts.

    And I suspect Isane didn’t know the half of it. She probably didn’t know
    that prior to the glorious Revolution, Cuban had a higher standard of
    living not only than the Venezuela and Mexico she’d visited but higher
    than half of Europe, and boasted almost double her native Spain’s per
    capita income.

    Revolutionary Cuba’s early Minister of Industries and Bank President Che
    Guevara had quite a base to work with. Yet it normally requires an
    earthquake, volcano, tsunami or atom bomb to match Che’s industrial and
    economic achievements in Cuba. Indeed Tokyo, Pompeii, and Hiroshima have
    all recovered. Havana, richer in the 1950s than Rome or Dallas, now
    resembles Calcutta, Nairobi or Phnom Penh. One place where Cuban exiles
    agree wholeheartedly with Castro is regarding his exalted post as a
    Third World leader. He and Che made Cuba into a Third World country alright.

    Copyright 2006 HUMAN EVENTS. All Rights Reserved.

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