Sixty years after Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries defeated the Cuban dictator, Batista, and assumed the reins of power, Cuba remains a backward, desperately poor country, sustained only by its thriving tourist trade. Fidel, now deceased, has little to show for his efforts. He replaced a dictator only to install his own brutally-dehumanizing form of dictatorship-communism. Fidel was mainly interested in power. He cared about little else. His brother, Raul, was the true communist, even though he happily lived in his brother’s shadow, but was given enormous responsibility and power. Raul’s idol was, and is, Joseph Stalin. Carlos Franqui, a once close influential colleague of Fidel, reveals this inside information in his book, Family Portrait with Fidel, (1980). Franqui, wrote the book 12 years after he left Cuba to live in Italy. In it he graphically describes why he became disillusioned with, and highly critical of, the Castro government.
According to Franqui, it was Raul, a courageous revolutionary fighter, who, with his like-minded associates, implemented their very own version of a “classless” society where the state assumed complete control of people’s lives and nationalized everything, even individuals’ houses. Fidel did not stand in their way. They ended up destroying their entire economy, including Cuba’s agriculture, businesses, industries, and private initiative. The results are obvious for all to see, if they care to look. All that remains is a robust tourist industry, thanks largely to a superb climate and foreign ownership deals whereby outsiders are allowed to build and operate attractive tourist accommodation along the island’s spectacular shoreline beaches.
For one week, in February, 2017, my family and I booked a tourist resort, Memories Jibacoa, on the north coast, half way between Varadero and Havana. We were transported to our destination in a sleek, modern, air-conditioned bus and were delighted with our choice of holiday resort. The fabulous, all-inclusive getaway, surrounded on three sides by steep hills, and facing the Caribbean Sea, is an immaculately-manicured oasis with a striking resort lobby-restaurant and a series of low-rise accommodation units, radiating out from the main building and containing an immense outdoor pool. It felt like walking into a modern Garden of Eden. The long, crescent-shaped sandy beach, warm sea, good food, and the friendly service were first-rate. Numerous activities, such as tennis, ping pong, billiards, massages, snorkelling, paddle boat and catamaran rides, sun bathing, ocean swimming, and nightly entertainment were available to all who wished to participate. It was truly a vacationer’s paradise after the cold February winds of Canada.