Cuba is safe and beautiful
Cuba is safe and beautiful ... a bit of petty theft and fraud is Ok
I ended up befriending a Cuban musician in downtown Habana. He gave me the story of the wife and kids, and I visited his place a day later when our paths crossed in the street. Yeah he wanted money, and I gave him 10 or so CUC. No big deal. He meets up with me later at a club, and knows that I want to see something of the "real" Cuba. An any rate, to cut a long story short he thinks I want sex with a local and takes me to a rundown street level dwelling with mud floors and a not terribly inviting smell. The people in it are friendly, and out comes a young woman, (who is about 20 years old, and I am 52.) Tempting yes, but I backed out, leaving 20 CUC out of sympathy for those living in such conditions. He asked me what I wanted, and I said, "I want to see the real people of Cuba, the culture without the tourist overlay." In a manner of speaking he did show it to me, though not the way he thought. I saw that a definite class structure exists between people who succeed in micro-capitalism enough to own quality casas, and those who live in squalor.
The Cuban people are a proud family and local community focused people. It would be nice if they had the opportunity to raise the overall standard of living, and especially for the poorest.
My friend asked if there was anything else he could do, and I said, "No, I just want to go back to the casa." I ended up giving away a few CUC, big deal. I also hoped that the beautiful young woman who was offering herself could have a chance to rise above the poverty. I was under no illusions, and I took no advantage. There is more to life than sex.
The Cuban people and culture has a richness despite the low material standard of living. I hope that the transition which eventually comes will allow the positives of Cuban life to not be lost in the aggressive competition and criminal onslaught that befell the former Soviet Union.