Monday, July 16, 2007

From bad to worse

You know how the Cuban economy is supposed to be going from strength to strength now that all that Venezuelan oil is pumping in? And the Chinese investment. And all those European tourists ...

Well, all that growth is obviously not having much of an impact on ordinary families.

At least that’s the impression left by a report filed over the weekend by the normally very careful Mauricio Vicent, the long-standing Havana correspondent for the Spanish daily El Pais.

Under a headline that could best be translated as “Cuba Hits Rock Bottom” (what? again?), Mr Vicent provides an extensive list of everyday complaints by ordinary Cubans.

From low wages to non-existent public transport to crumbling housing, here is a lengthy catalogue of the failures of the Castro regime.

Two statistics jump out.

The first is the fact that the Cuban public transport system, which is the only form of transport for 99.9 per cent of the population, is now carrying as many passengers as it did in 1964. Read that again - 1964!

What about this second set of statistics: at least half of the three million dwellings on the island are described as being in either a “bad state of repair” or a “very bad state of repair”. And they are the official figures, which means the real numbers are a lot higher.

Read the report here, in Spanish.

Photo: Reuters


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, well, you see, it's the US embargo, obviously. It's always the embargo. Or something to do with the empire. The Cuban system is actually flawless, let alone its leadership. The problem is those evil Americans. There's absolutely nothing Cuba itself can do to improve the situation in any way. Except, of course, kiss up to Hugo Chavez or anybody else willing to give away free oil or free whatever. If only the Soviet Union hadn't folded and stopped subsidizing everything! It's that damn Gorbachev's fault!

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