Still Voting with Their Feet

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The supposed reforms of Raul Castro aren't stemming the flow of citizens attempting to flee the island, reports the London Times. Cubans are still "voting with their feet, and those who succeed in reaching Miami have raised serious doubts about Raul Castro's intentions as he tries to defuse mounting public criticism."

"It's just a big facade to impress the people," claimed Yhosvany Carmona, a popular young Cuban television actor who fled Havana via the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and arrived in Miami last week. "Who are these people who can now afford to buy computers, cellphones and DVDs? They are the same people who could afford to buy them on the black market before." In one sense, Castro, 77, has had little choice but to embark on a radical restructuring of a Caribbean economy that has been struggling to rebuild itself since the collapse of the Soviet Union robbed it of its principal banker.

[…]

Yet other analysts have noted that the reforms announced so far have been more about style than substance. Cuban citizens are now allowed to stay at beach hotels that were previously reserved for foreign tourists, but there has scarcely been a flood of local pleasure-seeking. The average salary of Cuba's 11.4m citizens is £8.70 a month, and hotel rooms cost up to £100 a night.

The government has also removed a ceiling on wages. Originally intended to prevent social inequalities from emerging, the low salaries paid to Cuban professionals have driven thousands of them from the island. While the Castros are proud of the reputation of Cuban doctors, who staff hospitals across South America, sources in Havana say many of the doctors are forced to work abroad because they can barely feed their families at home.

Full story.

I wrote about Obama's ever-shifting position on the embargo here, the media's reaction to Castro's resignation here, and a documentary recounting Cuba's shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes here.

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  1. But isn’t this all the fault of the USA? I swear I heard those enlightened folks tell me so. Some of them even post here.

  2. They must not know about the terrible US health care system. Poor deluded fools, leaving a free health care paradise.

  3. Cuba’s condition isn’t the fault of the U.S., but our embargo certainly doesn’t help their economy.

  4. Marcvs,

    It is Cuba that prevents their hot chicks and baseball players from coming here, not the USA.

  5. I’m not familiar with any hot Cuban women.
    However, in the workers paradise, I’m sure many women can weld. Surely some of them are hot.

  6. Chris Potter,

    Just as a point of information, a lot of people do go to Cuba to seek medical care.

  7. I don’t know, there was that well-publicized attempt by three men to emigrate to Cuba with a trillion dollar bill.

  8. However, in the workers paradise, I’m sure many women can weld. Surely some of them are hot.

    Naga, the welding skill in women makes them almost hot by definition. Only some horrible deformity, like being unwilling to wear 5″ heels, or worse, could make a welding woman not hot.

    Theoretically, the ability to weld an aluminum beer can would overcome most appearance flaws.

  9. Just as a point of information, a lot of people do go to Cuba to seek medical care.

    You mean USAians? The Weatherman Underground members were not going there to seek medical care, they were hiding from the US Marshalls and FBI.

    Perhaps you are thinking of Venezuelans?

  10. Guy Montag,

    Cuba – like a lot of countries – is involved in the whole “medical tourism” industry – or so I have read.

  11. It’s a two-tier system.

    People go to Cuba to get the top tier health care and make documentaries while 99% of Cubans get the one where the rats outnumber doctors by 100:1.

  12. Cuba – like a lot of countries – is involved in the whole “medical tourism” industry – or so I have read.

    Oh yea, and TallDave is reminding me of that Michael Moore comedy about it.

  13. Michael Moore makes documentaries not comedies.

  14. Michael Moore makes documentaries not comedies.

    You are thinking of “Canadian Bacon”, his closest approach to reality-based film making.

  15. Yeah, I was thrilled to learn that top-level Communist officials get wonderful free health care, which they are willing to loan out to foreigners for PR purposes while their own people suffer with doctors paid $15 a month.

  16. Guy Montag | June 18, 2008, 3:31pm | #
    But isn’t this all the fault of the USA? I swear I heard those enlightened folks tell me so. Some of them even post here.

    Hey, Guy Montag: Instead of burning straw and inhaling the fumes, why not try a Cuban cigar? It will be a more pleasant experience and your head will be clearer as a result.

  17. I love Cuban cigars. You must be new here.

  18. TallDave,

    Well, most healthcare around the world has tiers to it. So the issue is more which ones on average create better outcomes – and those are probably the ones which allow for or stress some sort of choice, competition, etc.

  19. TallDave,

    But with that $15/mo. they get a nice free apartment, free food, free lunch and a ’57 Bellaire.

    They are not bound by the ratrace that our physicians must endure that distracts them from their social duty.

    Added bonus: the whole country has the ultimate evolution in zoning standards! No urban sprawl and McMansion free paradise.

  20. Mr. Michael C. Moynihan,

    Truly, you are the shill for the Big Running-Dog Capitalist Lackey of United States.

  21. In one sense, Castro, 77, has had little choice but to embark on a radical restructuring of a Caribbean economy that has been struggling to rebuild itself since the collapse of the Soviet Union robbed it of its principal banker.

    It’s all just one big case of Raul’s Jan, playing to Fidel’s Marcia. Sad, really.

  22. Isn’t Cuban medicine more holistic than ours? I have heard that holistic is good.

  23. Well, most healthcare around the world has tiers to it.

    Sure, the big difference is Cuba’s opressive regime tries to pretend there is only one tier of wonderful health care for everyone, when in fact it’s classic cronyist “classless” Communism.

  24. BREAKING NEWS ALERT!
    Cuba still sucks.
    Film at eleven.

    I’m all for ending the embargo. Then after ten years of trade between Cuba and the U.S. I can post

    BREAKING NEWS ALERT!
    Cuba still sucks.
    Film at eleven.

  25. Isn’t Cuban medicine more holistic than ours? I have heard that holistic is good.

    They’re reportedly using acupuncture for anesthesia.

    Doesn’t that sound fun?

  26. They’re reportedly using acupuncture for anesthesia.

    Doesn’t that sound fun?

    Wow! Just like China huh?

    Is the 1970s trying to make a comeback or something?

  27. Now I see why I am not getting the Angryrenter ad. Nobody has to pay rent in Cuba!

  28. I think J sub D may be onto something…

  29. I have heard that holistic is good.

    You have been duped by dumbshits.

  30. I’m getting:

    Physician Jobs – VISTA
    Short-Term, Long-Term, US, Int’l – Find Just What You Are Looking For.

    and

    Study Abroad in Cuba
    Find the perfect study abroad program to fit your needs.

    Packing my bags as we speak…

  31. J sub D,

    Is any Cuban leader making any statements like those made by Deng Xiaoping?

  32. J sub D,

    Er, “Has…”

  33. Cuba – like a lot of countries – is involved in the whole “medical tourism” industry – or so I have read.

    Cuba is also involved in the whole “sex tourism” industry – or so I have read.

    But unlike the “medical tourism” industry, it’s not officially sanctioned.

  34. Cuba is also involved in the whole “sex tourism” industry – or so I have read.

    But unlike the “medical tourism” industry, it’s not officially sanctioned.

    Ah… America and Cuba are brothers at heart.

  35. “You are thinking of “Canadian Bacon”, his closest approach to reality-based film making.”

    I honestly forgot that Canadian Bacon was a Michael Moore film. I guess there actually is a Moore film I like. I like it because Moore never claimed it to be anything other than a work of fiction, which it is. It is very funny.

  36. On a previous Cuba thread where someone (I think it was MNG) was arguing that Cuba did not suck so much, I pointed out that if your country doesn’t suck, you don’t have to actively restrict their emigration. Mexico sucks too, but at least they aren’t reduced to actually trying to keep people from leaving.

  37. Note: I do not have anything against Cubans or Mexicans.

  38. Margarita or mojito? Discuss amongst yourselves.

  39. There must be a lot of respect for elders in Cuba, that would explain why neither of these Castro brothers has been tossed through a window after all these years.

    If there was one country that could use a couple of suicide bombers, Cuba is it.

  40. I’m all for ending the embargo. Then after ten years of trade between Cuba and the U.S. I can post

    BREAKING NEWS ALERT!
    Cuba still sucks.
    Film at eleven.

    As a sociopolitical experiment, I would love to replace our trade policy with Cuba with our trade policy with China. And vice versa.

  41. Margarita or mojito?

    Why, thank you, I will.

  42. R C Dean, Esq., I present to you–

    The Pomegranate Patr?n Mojito: Tangy pomegranate pur?e freshly shaken with Patr?n Silver Tequila and mint.

    It is so choice, and it is, indeed, a strange blending of the margarita and mojito. One can procure one at one of Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurants. There’s one in Plano and one in Austin for you. Mine is in Tampa.

  43. Saying “You must be new here” to thoreau is, oddly enough, the least idiotic thing Guy Montag has written today.

  44. Pro Libertate,

    How do you say “banana daquiri?”

  45. As a sociopolitical experiment, I would love to replace our trade policy with Cuba with our trade policy with China.

    I would settle for Cuba adopting China’s program of liberalizing economic rights.

  46. As a sociological expirement, I would like to replace ToolDave with a bag of liposuction residue that repeats Tom Delay quotes.

    Think anyone would notice?

  47. Hey, guys. There’s no need for all this sniping over who has the best health care. I mean, you know, at least we don’t throw female infants over a cliff like the Spartans’ use to.

  48. Snipe all you want. All I want to know is where am I most likely to be able to say, “Blood and guts all over the room and here I sit without my spoon.”? Heh. Heh. Heh.

  49. I mean, you know, at least we don’t throw female infants over a cliff like the Spartans’ use to.

    The Communists in Cuba are one up on the Spartans: they abort hi-risk pregnancies. Makes the infant mortality stats look better.

    I wonder if that little factoid made it into Moore’s film?

    ‘Course, they still carry out those 90th triimester late-term abortions too, if you speak out against them.

  50. “Well, most healthcare around the world has tiers to it. So the issue is more which ones on average create better outcomes – and those are probably the ones which allow for or stress some sort of choice, competition, etc”

    Yeah, and that is exactly what communism is known for, competition. I swear, if anyone actually thinks Cuba has good health care, you probably also think it is possible to eat your own head and live.

  51. Well, most healthcare around the world has tiers to it. So the issue is more which ones on average create better outcomes

    That’s the utilitarian issue. There’s also a moral issue around tiers based on politics versus tiers based on economics.

  52. Cuba is also involved in the whole “sex tourism” industry – or so I have read.

    So that is where all the chicks who can weld are hiding! Raoul is hoarding them.

  53. Jamie Kelly,

    I have heard that holistic is good.

    You have been duped by dumbshits.

    Well, I heard it from George and Kramer on Seinfeld in the tonsils episode, so you might have a point.

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