Are Cubans waiting for Fidel to die? .
As part of the 99% who are increasingly disillusioned with capitalism and democracy, I looked forward to revisiting Cuba. In 2010 I spent just 4 days in Havana, but fell in love with the faded retrospective ambience.
Cubans had rejected consumerism and greed. Everyone had food to eat and a roof over their heads. Everyone was entitled to an education. Everyone received health care in one of the best medical systems in the world. They believed in equality.
In the evenings the citizens of Havana spill out into the streets to talk, to dance, to make music and to create art. There is little crime – why steal when everyone has the same stuff that you have? Everyone knows their neighbors, not only the people next door, but the people in the next street, the people in the next town. A society that enjoyed life to the full without excessive consumption.
‘The government pretends to pay us and we pretend to work’ I was told. This is truer than ever before, now that the food rations have to be supplemented and the minimum wage isn’t sufficient. The effort no longer goes into the Government day job, but into private enterprises. Over half the population lives on remittances from relatives in Miami.
Houses can now be bought and sold, but very few people have the money to buy a house. So instead, there is a market for house swapping. Interested parties meet in the main street on Saturday mornings and hopefully find a suitable swap, which can involve a cash payment or other goods.