Friday, August 4, 2006

B.K. Most Important: Cuba through the eyes of the locals

Honestly, this entry is pretty much just for me as a concrete place that I can certify what I now know about Cuba from the lips of Nieves, my program director´s wife.

The other side of the story begins with the relationship between Cuba and the United States during the 1950´s. At the time a man named Batista, like so many others in his position, was the dictator of Cuba. Furthermore, relations between Cuba and the States were of a pleasant nature, mainly because there was the existance of immense fruit trade between the two. However, similar to most dictators like him, Batista was corrupt and exported as much as he could from Cuba with the intention of investing the funds he received in himself. Not to be held in exemption, when told that Batista was "a son of a bitch," the States responded in a manner of "well at least he is OUR son of a bitch."

Also in the 1950´s, Fidel Castro was studying in the United States (as a result of being born into the upper-middle class). And in the process he came to the realization that the trade agreements between his home country and Cuba were of a not-so-good for his people sort of arrangement. Thusly, with patience and careful planning of guerrilla tactics with the infamous Che Gueverra, Castro led a small group of soldiers against Batista's forces, and on the second attempt of a Coupd'Etet, secured his position as the leader of Nationalist Cuba.

According to my teacher, Castro then went to the United States asking for help; his country was in shambles and people were starving. But Cubans who had fled from their home country to Florida after the overthrowing of Batista shouted out to the States that Castro was a communist (mind you, at the time there was severe tension between the States and everything with the label `communist`on it). Accordingly with this rumor and the fact that many corporations had been aversely impacted with the removal of international trade with Batista, the USA denied Castro's request and sent him back to Cuba empty handed. It was at this point that the Soviet Union decided to reach out and offer Castro help for his situation. It was at this point that Fidel had no better choice but to accept communism as the infrastructure of his country for the sake of not facing economic collapse.

Many people in Ecuador think of Castro as a hero in his time. Of course, things have changed with age and power. But then what could he have done given his circumstances? And just how bad is Cuba at this point in time? Castro is near death, his brother will be soon to follow, the country is riddled with doctors and tourism, and all I can do is wait until a door opens.

How un-fun waiting is.