Originally Posted by Donna
How was Cuba, can you give us some details, did you visit shops, beaches, casinos, etc.?
I've been there. Can't really divulge how I got there, but I did go. It's not the idyllic setting that has been romanticized from the '50s we've heard about. Fact is, it's more run down than you can imagine. There are lots of vestiges of 1950s Cuba (yes, including American cars for the era). But, decades of U.S. sanctions have taken a toll.
Still, Cubans are wonderful people. That much hasn't changed. They've adapted to the sanctions. The ones who didn't support the dictatorship have long since left (and settled in Miami, for the most part). It's still as beautiful as any other Caribbean island.
I actually broke my arm while I was there. EVen though I wasn't supposed to be there, I was taken very good care of by there world class medical people. NO questions were asked, no answers were offered.
While politics there is something that's not outwardly talked about, it is whispered. For the most part, those who still live in Cuba view the issue with blame placed on both sides.....Castro's and the U.S. Gov't (Bay of Pigs is still whispered about, as well as the U.S. assassination attempts on Castro).
I was there a little over a week. But, I already knew people there. EVen though it's clear I'm not a Cuban native, I was able to walk around quite freely. I'd get a sideways look from the "policia". But, that was about it. I assumed they thought I was Canadian.
Getting in (and more importantly, getting out) can't be done without having someone there you know well. For Canadians, it was easy and could be done through normal channels. For U.S. Citizens? You had to bend (and break) the rules and get in through non-traditional channels.
I look forward to the day our two countries can be friends again. There's just too much water under the bridge...especially since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall
In order for that to happen, the Cuban-Americans in Miami are going to have to "forgive and forget"....to quit lobbying the U.S. to continue sanctions. And, Cuban leaders are going to have to forgive and forget, too.
It would take a brave leader....in Cuba, and in the U.S. to normalize relations. I just don't see that happening any time in the next decade (or two).
Off the soap box.
If you can go, go. Great people to have as friends.