My mind is still on Cuba | Letter

Dec 11, 2013

Editor, The Beacon:

These was some things I forgot to mention at the interview [“Retirees scratch Cuba off bucket list,” The Beacon, page 2, Dec. 4]:

Because of the Cuban socialist government, everybody makes 25 to 45 pesos per month, including doctors, engineers, musicians, etc. But the good news is most things are provided (free) by the government.

We did not see any panhandlers, unlike Seattle, although some were trying to sell stuff like cigars. The country is dependent on tourists, and most people work part-time jobs in the tourist industry.

Even doctors work at the hotels for tips that tourists provide.

We walked in one large grocery store, and many of the shelves were empty with limited variety items in the store.

After some research, I learned there is a lack of basic medical supplies, like aspirin.  We brought down bottles of aspirin and ibuprofen.

Because baseball is the No. 1 sport, I also donated my son’s old catcher's mitt and some baseballs.

The hotel nurse gladly accepted all the items and was extremely grateful.

We ate dinners mostly at family-run restaurants in their homes and not the "state" sanctioned places.

Our pink taxi ride around town was a fantastic experience. The sisters who owned the car provided lots of historical information about Havana and the revolution.

The Cubans were very friendly and helpful. We even talked a little politics and about their upcoming election. This the the first time a Castro won't be on the ballot.

In my opinion, people-to-people is the best path to a change in Cuba. Americans going there will only speed it up.

I hope to return some day.

Paul Luczyk,


Comments (1)
Posted by: Lynn McKinney | Dec 13, 2013 01:42

Exactly. For me, the top destination I have always wanted to visit, and still do, is Cuba.  I read a great book recently, "Havana Twist", that reignited that desire, The people of Cuba have been suppressed and deprived for so long, but there is a raw beauty there (like going back in time), rich with history, culture and arts, and a spirit of the people that can't be broken, only strengthened.

For American's to visit or even purchase Cuban cigars in another country is considered coercing with the enemy. There was a great article about Arnold Schwarzenegger who allegedly purchased and lit up a Cuban cigar in Canada. His spokeman said somthing of the sort, "Did Arnold purchase and smoke a Cuban Cigar?.  Well, we will never know, because he smoked it!"

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