Full piece here (Link may not last)
Totten, in this blog’s opinion, is at his best discovering new places as a travel writer/journalist. Some pictures included:
‘I’ve seen cities in the Middle East pulverized by war. I’ve seen cities elsewhere in Latin America stricken with unspeakable squalor and poverty. But nowhere else have I seen such a formerly grandiose city brought as low as Havana. The restored part of town—artifice though it may be—shows all too vividly what the whole thing once looked like.’
Havana wasn’t just another 3rd-world and/or typical Carribbean capital, it was a Spanish-style city of genuine character, class and wealth, showing American/English influences as well.
Now, unfortunately, as Totten explains, it’s the capital of a rotting, totalitarian police state, with its citizens still forced to live under a maximum salary of $20. Even if one had $20, there’s nearly nothing to buy, as many stores have only a few items on the shelves. Cubans are still forced to live this way.
‘He told me about what happened at his sister’s elementary school a few years after Castro took over.
“Do you want ice cream and dulces (sweets),” his sister’s teacher, a staunch Fidelista, asked the class.
“Yes!” the kids said.
“Okay, then,” she said. “Put your hands together, bow your heads, and pray to God that he brings you ice cream and dulces.”
Nothing happened, of course. God did not did not provide the children with ice cream or dulces.
“Now,” the teacher said. “Put your hands together and pray to Fidel that the Revolution gives you ice cream and sweets.”
The kids closed their eyes and bowed their heads. They prayed to Fidel Castro. And when the kids raised their heads and opened their eyes, ice cream and dulces had miraculously appeared on the teacher’s desk’
Look at where that gotten them.
Towards a theme-Apparently, memory is short. Some people in America have taken-up romanticized notions of Communist revolution (no more Che shirts, please, even if done with ironic or iconic cool). Unmistakably, from Moscow to Beijing to Pyongyang, the same totalitarian impulses are there, the same rigid State and party control, the same centrally planning, ruthless junta living according to very different rules from the “People.’
North Korea has been frozen in time since 1948, when the first Kim was installed by the Soviets. Since the Korean War, it’s grown into a cult of personality, headed by the divinely inspired, thoroughly repressive Kim dynasty and in its wake, a totalitarian State. It is bizarro world, but still has a large military, with missiles pointed at Seoul, and virtually little else. Like a sick dog on a rusty chain, it growls when it needs food.
Take a trip to the Hermit Kingdom:
What about value pluralism…positive and negative liberty?: The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”
What set-off the Spanish-American war and a good run of yellow journalism? The 1898 destruction of the Maine in Havana, which led to Cuban independence a few years later in 1902, until the revolution in 1959.
Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon