My Trip to Cuba…The Reeducation of Linda Spradley Dunn
July 21, 2016 by Linda Spradley Dunn
Cuba was magical! I never understood the importance of Cuba and its beautiful, rich, extraordinary history until I traveled there in March of 2016. Everything I read and most of the stuff I learned in school about the revolution, its people and the embargo was lopsided and not entirely true. I was indeed, reeducated.
Cuba is moving at warp speed onto the world stage and its people are both excited and scared. The Cubans we met are fiercely proud and resilient. They want a relationship with America, but they are in no hurry to have us come down and build gated golf course communities, buy up all the antique cars or turn their hotspots into spring break hangouts with drunken college kids taking over their towns.
The revolution was a perfect storm that happened in a climate that sort of resembles a lot of current climates around the world: 1% of native Cubans and foreigners controlled much of the wealth and the people rebelled. Yes, there are dissidents, but the majority of the Cuban people are extremely gratified that they took their country back.
Visiting a 300-year-old sugar mill where people from China, Africa, India and other islands were enslaved to work under horrific conditions by colonials helped me understand the deep resentment they still have for multinational corporations and why they are skeptical of allowing outsiders to own and operate companies in Cuba.
The U.S. embargo not only banned American countries from doing business with Cuba, but it also forbade other countries from doing business there. As a result, we gave them no other choice but to do business with Russia and China, who ignored our embargo. I never understood how it was okay to do business with harsher communist regimes around the world, but not Cuba.
Bernie Sanders would be in heaven: education is free through postgraduate studies and 97% of their population is well educated. They produce some of the best doctors in the world and 67% of them are women! Health care is free and doctors still conduct home visits.
The embargo forced them to become masters of green spaces, sustainability, innovation, creativity and organic farming. And though many are not happy with the food basket system and low wages, few go hungry in this country, crime is extremely low and there are no homeless sleeping on the streets.