Holiday in Cuba – Insights – Part 1

We spent 3 weeks travelling around the western half of Cuba speaking to people, visiting shops, sightseeing and trying to form an unidealistic, realistic opinion about the country.

The simple conclusion. The system has failed most people.


The agrarian, socialist, communist, “good of the people” ideology are words but the country is misdirected and mismanaged. There are many things that can be blamed on the “tyranny” (America) but there are many more failings of the country’s leadership that need to be addressed internally.

What was good 60 years ago might have been good then but it’s not today!

It is monstrous that America should pick on and bully a tiny island with a population of 11 million people. But as we’ve seen on our travels throughout Asia … it seems to be the American way.

If Cuba chooses a system that is doomed to failure there is no point in America choosing to set itself up as the “enemy”. It’s time for America to stop its kindergarten vindictive behaviour and start acting like a world leader.  

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are gone. All that remains are fragments of the Revolution. The Bay of Pigs nuclear crisis was over 50 years ago.

It’s time to move on!

Cuban self-sufficiency requires competent leadership. Slogans, posters and songs will not feed, sustain or develop a nation.  

There are people in the country who can do it if they had a chance. They’re already proving that you don’t need much to do a lot. We saw it ourselves with two sporting examples. A karate studio with the bare essentials in Trinidad and a group of and kids getting their boxing coaching on the sidewalk in Cienfuegos.

Why not apply these initiatives to business and life in general?

Cuba Propaganda

Slogans and statues don’t make a successful nation. Why is it necessary to trot out propaganda if the system works? Are the people satisfied?

We saw an event in Cienfuegos celebrating Jose Marti’s birthday. He died in 1895. It was raining on his birthday on 28 January so the celebrations were postponed until 6 February.

There were propaganda songs blaring from large powerful speakers. The propaganda bus set up and moved off. Gigantic flags adorned a building. There were massive bouquets of flowers. Lots of school children walking along unenthusiastically waving flags … happy only because they didn’t have to attend school.

The museums are full of one sided views. Glorification of the Revolution and the past. Slogans smeared on roadside fences. Billboards praise the revolution.

There’s a lack of focus on the present and a vision for the future.

Cuban leaders would do well to remember that “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

About the Author Patrick Millerd

So much to see and do so little time! Following a dream. Who knows where it’ll end? Passionate about learning, about embracing the changing world, adventurous, skeptical but optimistic. My glass is half full and I’m grateful for my life.

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