Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How the other half lives

Just in case you were under the impression that egalitarianism was alive and well in Fidel Castro’s island paradise ...

A former British diplomat who spent time in Cuba in the late 1990s, Sue Kay, has just written about her family’s accidental (and very pleasant) encounter back in May 2000 with Raul Castro at Cayo Las Brujas, an isolated luxury resort off the coast of Santa Clara.

Situated about 500 kilometres from Havana, the exclusive resort would have been out of bounds for ordinary Cubans at the time ... even those few Cubans able to afford the rates.

But obviously, Las Brujas was not out of bounds for the revolutionary elite.

On the contrary.

As Ms Kay tells the story, Raul Castro had a huge entourage with him, including family, bodyguards, assorted generals and handful of high-ranking Communist Party officials, including vice-president Carlos Lage and “Commander of the Revolution” Juan Almeida.

And in true revolutionary style, they simply commandeered the entire resort so they could relax in private, exercising on the beach and then frolicking in the Caribbean waters.

In her article, which appears in the Left-leaning London newspaper, The Guardian, Ms Kay explains how Raul Castro barbecued his own seafood and what happened when he and his pals wanted a drink.

“Behind me a waiter is preparing drinks at the bar,” she writes. “Balancing his tray at shoulder level, he descends the wooden steps of the restaurant and solemnly sets off across the sand. Fully dressed, he wades in up to his waist, towards the generals. He waits patiently until the glasses are emptied, then returns to shore.”

Nice, no?

Read the article here.


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