When a person writes anything, they have to have a point of view, or their work will be boring. It is said that a POV is a factor of a person's perspective. So what is mine?
Cuba is very, very confusing - almost nothing is as it seems.
While the people are about the poorest in the Americas, they do manage to survive, in a fashion. They have apparently excellent health and apparently can be well educated.
But again, it is not as it seems.
First off, the Castros lie. I write about this in Mojito!. So anything you read from there is untrue; appatchiks will always write that whatever the Great Chief or his brother say or do is terrific and any civilian that is interviewed knows that they can only tell things that reflect positively on the revolution.
The health care success is at least partly due to the paucity of money to buy drugs or even rum or for that matter food that makes us obese. Local residents have a little access to health care, but even aspirin is unavailable without a special source of cash. But it is for sale to foreigners.
Young kids only get 1/2 day of school a day and a lot of this is devoted to Young Pioneers propaganda training. A person's family or personal history decides whether they can get a post-secondary education. Children of dissidents have no chance of seeing their kids becoming more highly paid anythings. Lucky people in the right families might get the opportunity to see other parts of the world by having their services sold in USD, while they are paid in pesos plus benefits like a better place to live or a coupon to allow them to buy a car, if they can somehow come up with the money.
So, compared to many of the so called intelligentsia here in Toronto, I would be seen as an anti-Castroite, or is that anti-Castroista. I suppose I wear that badge with a degree of honour, but from a lot of knowledge.
We had Islamic terrorists establishing a base in Cuba in early drafts of Mojito! - probably 2005. We needed the plot line for suspense, but it also made sense. The Islamists need a base closer to the USA to continue their terrorist activity and Cuba needs the money. Turns out we were prescient...
Here's the news story:
HAVANA - The Italian daily Corriere della Sera is reporting that Hezbollah is setting up a base of operations in Cuba in order to extend its ability to reach Israeli targets in Latin America, ostensibly to avenge the death of terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyah. Mugniyah, a Lebanese-born Hezbollah terrorist leader, was killed in February 2008 by a car bomb. Though it has not been proven who was responsible, it has been reported that several Arab states aided the Israeli Mossad in carrying out the killing.
Mugniyah was believed to have been involved in planning the 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks, as well as two attacks on a Jewish synagogue and a community center in Argentina in 1992 and 1994. The U.S. State Department said upon his death: "The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a coldblooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost. One way or another he was brought to justice." Hezbollah has sought new alliances in Latin America since attention was brought to the terrorist group’s redoubt in the Tri-border area at the intersection of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, as well as numerous reports of training camps in Venezuela. According to the Tel Aviv daily Yedioth Ahronoth, three members of Hezbollah have already arrived in Cuba to set up the cell, which will allegedly “include 23 operatives, hand-picked by Talal Hamia, a senior member tasked with heading the covert operation.
Heres the News Story: (Below is a passage from Mojito!)
The 'Hezbollah landed in Cuba "Prepare new shares»
Are three. One of them uses a strange nickname: Agave Tequilana. Belong to the 'apparatus for operations "outside" of' Hezbollah, Lebanon's pro-Iranian movement. The trio has recently moved from Mexico to Cuba with the task of establishing a bridgehead on the 'island. In a few days followed by 23 other guerrillas Hamia selected by Talal, the 'highest exponent of' Hezbollah conducts clandestine activities. The posting of three is here to stay. Hamia, with the 'approval of the Secretary Nasrallah, has decided to open a "base" in Cuba and has made available to the plan - known as the Caribbean dossier - a robust budget. Over a half million dollars. The landing at 'Havana is not surprising. For years, the 'Hezbollah, often on behalf of' Iran is acting in the countries of 'Latin America. The strengths are in Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and in Brazil, but the extremists have been installed in many border towns and Venezuela. Raise funds, and trafficking of cells stand ready in case you need to act against opponents. Twice Hezbollah, assisted by 'Iran hit in Argentina' s Israeli embassy and the headquarters of the 'Jewish association. The 'Cuban outpost will, initially, a logistics role. Hezbollah will have to create points of 'support, acquire and produce documents of Latin American countries, recruiting informants and come in contact with the traffickers that move people and things. Once you create the network, the guerrillas will be held ready for new missions.From Cuba, can be reached along the routes of 'illegal immigration, Mexico and the U.S. from here.Or other countries. Hezbollah still have to avenge the 'killing of Imad Mugniyeh, the head of' clandestine apparatus removed to Damascus, and may try to do it in South America, attacking an Israeli target. In their analysis, the region provides. The security measures are relative, porous borders and in some areas, plagued by organized crime, it is possible to find explosives and weapons. Opaque areas that seem tailor-made for those who want to attack and disappear.
Together they moved silently toward the camp, Kate forcing her adrenaline levels down; maybe this was her Pulitzer. It wasn't the risk of getting killed that bothered her. It was her not getting her story on air.
As they drew closer the sounds of the camp got louder. They came up to a collection of underbrush, with enough light to reveal the encampment. They crept to the edge and looked through the foliage, being careful not to disrupt any.
Before them was a small camp, about a dozen structures, mostly four-man tents, some away from the sleeping area; likely an armoury near the edge of the jungle. In the clearing, there were about two dozen possible combatants, all dressed in rough clothing, a few casually carrying weapons. The men were all swarthy and dark haired, which only meant they weren’t Swedes.
Boyd carefully started shooting long range footage. Kate took out the digi-cam and silently moved around the perimeter. As she left Boyd three of the men in the camp began firing into the jungle on the opposite side, obviously checking their weapons. Kate saw a hooch nearby and crawled past the edge of the jungle and into it. It was filled with crates and she shot about thirty seconds of footage and carefully withdrew back into the foliage.
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.