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Cuba
Old 03-06-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
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Cuba

I am no Cuba follower, but was thinking about Cuba in the context of Chavez and the commentary today about where Venezuela will head.

Any Cuba followers out there? I have the feeling that Cuba will bust out with the fading of the Castro regime, but that is just a feeling not supported with any facts.

I can see Cuba as a little Carribean economic engine within 5-10 years (?). Pent up consumer demand, decent work force, vacation destination, cheap real estate, etc.

Will Cuba throw off communism like an old rag or be more China like?

Ex-pat destination within us OF's lifetimes?

(Not trying to raise any politics discussions here.....)
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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I think that unless the people rise and throw out whoever is their current dictator, another will follow...


I see no (or little) changes in Cuba or Venezula....
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Fide l's younger brother appears to be slowly opening up the economy. Have no doubt that with the help of Cuban expats and other investors, the country will do well over the next few decades.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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I am no Cuba follower, but was thinking about Cuba in the context of Chavez and the commentary today about where Venezuela will head.

Any Cuba followers out there? I have the feeling that Cuba will bust out with the fading of the Castro regime, but that is just a feeling not supported with any facts.

I can see Cuba as a little Carribean economic engine within 5-10 years (?). Pent up consumer demand, decent work force, vacation destination, cheap real estate, etc.

Will Cuba throw off communism like an old rag or be more China like?

Ex-pat destination within us OF's lifetimes?

(Not trying to raise any politics discussions here.....)
The Miami Cubans will be all over Cuba gobbling up all the real estate in a NY minute if and when the Castro regime ends. Cuba is beautiful and ideally located.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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Life in Cuba may be quite different than what you might expect. Cuba is most assuredly poor, but not a third world country. Life under communism is very different than what we are used to, but that said, not necessarily backward or out of the world of science, nor without concern for the future of the world... especially in the area of environmental protection.

The government exerts a heavy hand over business and entrepreneurship. If you run a business, you can hire, only with the consent of the government. Paying an employee, is not done by direct hand over of salary, but through the hands of the government. Crony politics, and low level corruption is extant, having become a matter of course. Getting anything done is, by tradition, a matter of what we would call bribery.
Most of the country, including many of the major cities, is suffering from a lack of maintenance of buildings and infrastructure.

As far as being isolated, and an island unto itself?.... Only for Americans, and at that, for some Americans. Americans traveling to Cuba by way of Canada is extraordinarily common. Customs is very lax, and it is quite common for tourists... even in groups, to visit Cuba... all by way of Canada or other non US countries. US money is very welcome in the country, although not officially.

The people of Cuba are mostly poor, but honest-poor... and live simple lives of farming 20%, industry 20% and services 60%. It might be said that the culture exists in the simplicity of what the United States was in the 1940's. Crime, especially away from the major cities, is very rare, and some might say that the corruption in government is not much worse than that what we have in our own country... just a little more overt.
Education is held in high regard. Cuba is second in the world of all countries in the percent of GDP spent on education, and the population is almost 100% literate. Unemployment is typically under 4%. Public Debt is 35% vs 100+% in the US.

Most Americans have little knowledge of the history, geography, culture and politics of this nearby island.

Medicine and medical care is quite good, and the profession is far above that of most SA countries. Agricultural science is a model for the world, with great ventures in the advancement of knowledge that is recognized world wide.

Restrictions on citizens are broad. Limited telephone service, one million landlines in a population of 11 million. Also about 1.3 million cell phones. The country is currently expanding fiber optic services. Citizens are restricted in buying and owning computers, and internet access is limited All broadcasting, radio and television is operated by the government.

Too much more to write here. Needless to say, a fascinating part of the world that in some ways, time forgot.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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Facinating. Thanks for such an informative post. Despite the embargo, they seem to be making progress albeit slowly.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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Life in Cuba may be quite different than what you might expect. Cuba is most assuredly poor, but not a third world country. Life under communism is very different than what we are used to, but that said, not necessarily backward or out of the world of science, nor without concern for the future of the world... especially in the area of environmental protection.

The government exerts a heavy hand over business and entrepreneurship. If you run a business, you can hire, only with the consent of the government. Paying an employee, is not done by direct hand over of salary, but through the hands of the government. Crony politics, and low level corruption is extant, having become a matter of course. Getting anything done is, by tradition, a matter of what we would call bribery.
Most of the country, including many of the major cities, is suffering from a lack of maintenance of buildings and infrastructure.

As far as being isolated, and an island unto itself?.... Only for Americans, and at that, for some Americans. Americans traveling to Cuba by way of Canada is extraordinarily common. Customs is very lax, and it is quite common for tourists... even in groups, to visit Cuba... all by way of Canada or other non US countries. US money is very welcome in the country, although not officially.

The people of Cuba are mostly poor, but honest-poor... and live simple lives of farming 20%, industry 20% and services 60%. It might be said that the culture exists in the simplicity of what the United States was in the 1940's. Crime, especially away from the major cities, is very rare, and some might say that the corruption in government is not much worse than that what we have in our own country... just a little more overt.
Education is held in high regard. Cuba is second in the world of all countries in the percent of GDP spent on education, and the population is almost 100% literate. Unemployment is typically under 4%. Public Debt is 35% vs 100+% in the US.

Most Americans have little knowledge of the history, geography, culture and politics of this nearby island.

Medicine and medical care is quite good, and the profession is far above that of most SA countries. Agricultural science is a model for the world, with great ventures in the advancement of knowledge that is recognized world wide.

Restrictions on citizens are broad. Limited telephone service, one million landlines in a population of 11 million. Also about 1.3 million cell phones. The country is currently expanding fiber optic services. Citizens are restricted in buying and owning computers, and internet access is limited All broadcasting, radio and television is operated by the government.

Too much more to write here. Needless to say, a fascinating part of the world that in some ways, time forgot.
I'm curious, where did you learn all this? Do you have Cuban family or friends?
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:06 PM   #8
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I read somewhere that the majority of Cubans living in Cuba are those that are pretty satisfied with the status quo as the ones that didn't, "voted with their feet" in a manner of speaking. Interesting idea and not what I would have thought as an outsider.

I'd love to get to go there sometime, but there just hasn't been the right opportunity for us as yet.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:41 AM   #9
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I'm curious, where did you learn all this? Do you have Cuban family or friends?
Radio Free Cuba
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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I'm curious, where did you learn all this? Do you have Cuban family or friends?
BIL is a landed Canadian immigrant (1976) who began a successful business on PEI and then expanded to two different provinces, then to Italy and Cuba, where his daughter, (my niece) now runs the business.

Lots of insight into the lives of Cuban residents, as well a a good understanding of the political side of the coin. They have been there for over 15 years. Niece married a Cuban, and they run that part of the business together.

Canadians have free access to Cuba.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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I've never entirely udnerstood why we held Cuba to a different standard than, say, China or Vietnam, two Communist nations which the US eventually engaged diplomatically and economically, and both of those nations seem to be enacting more market-based reforms than before their economic engagement.

So why not the same for Cuba? I don't know, but I suspect it's a personal thing against the Castro regime -- so perhaps there will be no change to US policy on Cuba until the Castro family is no longer in power -- and certainly not as long as Fidel is alive.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:32 AM   #12
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... I suspect it's a personal thing against the Castro regime -- so perhaps there will be no change to US policy on Cuba until the Castro family is no longer in power.
+1

We're tiptoeing on the edge of politics here, but no political party dares ease up on Cuba sanctions while a Castro is in power for fear of losing at the ballot box in Florida...
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:33 AM   #13
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BIL is a landed Canadian immigrant (1976) who began a successful business on PEI and then expanded to two different provinces, then to Italy and Cuba, where his daughter, (my niece) now runs the business.

Lots of insight into the lives of Cuban residents, as well a a good understanding of the political side of the coin. They have been there for over 15 years. Niece married a Cuban, and they run that part of the business together.

Canadians have free access to Cuba.
Very interesting insights. Thanks
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
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My understanding is that economic support from Venezuela has been key in the absence of the USSR and that Cuba is very, very, interested that the relationship continue now that Chavez is gone.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #15
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+1

We're tiptoeing on the edge of politics here, but no political party dares ease up on Cuba sanctions while a Castro is in power for fear of losing at the ballot box in Florida...
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I've never entirely udnerstood why we held Cuba to a different standard than, say, China or Vietnam, two Communist nations which the US eventually engaged diplomatically and economically, and both of those nations seem to be enacting more market-based reforms than before their economic engagement.

So why not the same for Cuba? I don't know, but I suspect it's a personal thing against the Castro regime -- so perhaps there will be no change to US policy on Cuba until the Castro family is no longer in power -- and certainly not as long as Fidel is alive.

+1 on the ballot box from Florida.... IMO (and only based on very limited info), we would have started some kind of relationship with Cuba a long time ago if it were not for the political pressure from the Cubans in the US... every once in awhile you hear some rumbling about someone in the gvmt that wants to open up relations, but then it seems to stop cold...


I have been told that it is a nice tourist destination... there were people from the UK that went there and even when I was in NY I knew of a green card holder from Ireland that visited... they were in the resort areas... I do not know if they went any other place...
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #16
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Thought you might be interested in this video from BIL's Cuba business, showing parts of one of his tours, with pictures from different parts of Cuban life. Nephew Danny is in some of the clips. Danny leads most of the bike tours. Many of the members of this tour are Americans.
Business is WowCuba. There are a number of other of their videos on youtube.

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Old 03-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #17
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I had the privilege of visiting Cuba for a few weeks with a religious organization back in 1991. Havana, Matanzas, Playa Azul, et. al. I too keep up with it in the news.

In a nutshell, yes, I think it will open up in the next 25 years or so, and I believe that when the change occurs, it will happen very quickly.

This woman's blog makes for great reading, if you're interested in Cuba:

Generation Y
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:02 PM   #18
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As far as being isolated, and an island unto itself?.... Only for Americans.
+1
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:42 PM   #19
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I'm not sure, but aren't there property ownership issues for many of the Cubans who emigrated to the US, as well as US businesses losing property they owned there, more so than for any other country?

We saw photos from German friends of their trip to Cuba a few years ago and the country is just beautiful. What an interesting country with an interesting history.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #20
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I have been told that it is a nice tourist destination...
Our next door neighbors are heading there shortly....their 9th year in a row.

I was there once, in 1974, coincident with Brezhnev's visit; it was OK, but it's unlikely I'll ever return.
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