It's the embargo
If you believe the Castro regime and its apologists, the US trade embargo is the reason why the Cuban economy is in such a mess.
And why those “free” Cuban hospitals lack even the most basic of medicines.
And why Cuban school children are not allowed to access the Internet.
And why most ordinary Cubans live in crumbling houses …
But I bet you didn’t know that the embargo is also to blame for the fact that Ernest Hemingway’s old property just outside Havana, Finca Vigia, cannot be fully restored to its former, capitalist glory.
According to an article in today's edition of the left-leaning London daily The Guardian, a group of American organisations has been working over the past couple of years to restore the “battered house” and save the manuscripts and books.
But that awful George W Bush has interfered again.
The paper says that sanctions against the Communist island “have hindered the group's attempts to collaborate with the Cuban government”, which wants to turn the restored site into a major tourist attraction.
It seems the US administration thinks that American funding should not be used to help the Castro brothers rake in the profits from all those international tourists likely to visit Finca Vigia once it's in ship-shape condition.
Outrageous, isn’t it?
There are plenty of quotes in the article from well-meaning, outraged Americans who love their Hemingway and who think the dispute is silly and that it merely highlights the absurdity of the US trade embargo, etc, etc.
Of course, they may be right …
But there is one point that is not mentioned in the lengthy Guardian article: the fact that Finca Vigia is actually owned by the Castro regime.
The property and all its contents was confiscated in the early 1960s – along with all other private property on the island.
For the best part of 50 years, the regime that is now so keen on using US money to restore and preserve the site was quite happy to let the house (and its valuable contents) simply rot away.