Sunday, July 4, 2004

Let Freedom Ring!

 It's the 4th of July! Independence Day I'm sure means a little something different to each of us. As a country still in the early after math of 911, we are reminded just how significant this celebration really is.

        The Parades, the fireworks, the barbecues, represent our gratitude for the freedom we are reminded, not every body has. The following is an entry I've been thinking about for a while now. Today seems like the perfect day to post it, as a reminder to myself to be grateful on Independence Day and every day.

        Ever since a friend of mine started visiting her husbands family in Cuba, I have had a growing interest in this island of Castro's. Cuba's 1959 revolution marked the beginning of the US trade embargo on Cuba along with the beginning of Castro's 1 party rule.

         Her husband's family is among the 60% of the population, considered non dollar holding Cubans. The poorest of the poor. The average monthly salary in Cuba is between $7-$12 along with a guaranteed allotment of 2000 calories per day in dietary intake. Yikes!!!

        My friend comes back with stories of houses with no floors or beds. Showers, etc.. (if you know what I mean) are taken outside. The cooking is done outside as well. (speaking of cooking, whole roasted pig is a celebration meal. Hmmm... I would be happy to stick to beans and rice if ever I were there). I'm not sure how long I would survive without cold bottled water.

        One thing she talks about that I have never read anywhere else, is the rationing of utilities as a means of power and control. It is bad enough that he payshis people so little that they would never have time to organize and rise against him. They are to busy figuring out how to live on pennies per day. But when he want's to flex a little muscle, he holds back the electricity and water. Last year when she was there, water was only being turned on for a very short time at 4:00 in the afternoon when the men came in from work. Wow!!!, that's control. Not to mention the monitoring of the mail, the phone and E-mail, forget it. Thinking about these things makes me so proud to be an American.

        All political and economic issues aside, Cuba is a place that I have a great desire to visit. I would love to visit with my friend and experience first hand what it is like for the people that live there. Also the artistic side of me is deeply attracted to the thoughts of seeing Cuba through the lens of a camera. WOW!!! it would be like stepping inside of a time capsule.

        Havana's early 1900s architecture with it's attention to detail is host to an amazing array of beauty and art. The balcony's over the street, the light house, the bell tower, the Cuban cigar rollers, the out door market places, the street musicians, the parades, the colorful painted buildings, the horse drawn carriages, the street vendors, the amazing sunset's, the brilliant Cuban art but mostly... The Classic American Muscle Cars of Cuba <---click here.       

     It would be one of my hearts desires, to see, to photograph these; Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers and Caddilacs of long ago. There have been no American cars imported to Cuba since 1960. The few later model cars on the island belong to Castro and the Cuban hierarchy. Just imagine, the beautiful old buildings,together with only the early model cars. It would indeed be a site to behold in my book. 

        It is amazing to me how people so repressed have found way's to preserve, protect and cherish these amazing gas guzzling relics. They have had to improvise to keep these cars not only running but in tip top shape after all of these years. 

        With no trade there they have had no access to American parts for these American cars. They have had to learn to create them from scratch and become creative in finding way's to keep them in repair. We could all learn a lesson here on how to be a less disposable society by loving, repairing and maintaining what we already have. Happy 4th of July all!

                                        *** Coy ***





merelyp said...

thanks, ***Coy***!  u2

billbinford54 said...

Just as Nixon took the gamble and opened China to America, Bush has missed his chance (he only has six months left), to open up Cuba.  While he needed to go visit the island, bring Bill C back a few cigars back for his enjoyment, encourage trade, he has done the reverse with this latest fiasco of limiting trips. Fifty years of isolation has not worked. Two years of Madonna and the Dixie Chicks would have brought Fidel down. I remember taking a flight from St. Petersburg to Krasnodar Russia soon after the collapse of the evil empire. Our Aeroflot flight took a circuitous route in order to find jet fuel.  At one layover, my friend and I stayed on the plane and we were bombarded by a 20 minute loop of Madonna's greatest hits for about 3 hours. The Russians got off the plane but one look at the terminal convinced us we had it better on board.  I tried to find a picture of myself on that flight but it will take a while.

lucylouladybug said...

Happy 4th of July, and a timely reminder of how fortunate we really are!
Love, Penny

ryanagi said...

There was a fantastic article in a recent National Geograhic about all the rare species of wildlife found only in Cuba...there are many protected and nearly inaccessible places there. It looked so serene and beautiful...but I know looks are deceiving. Cuba used to be one of those "in" places to vacation too. Such a loss. Tourist dollars could help the economy. Castro can't live forever...but I fear who will take his place when he is gone. (and thanks for visiting me!) -B

goldenchildnc said...

Happy Fourth Coy! And call me a whimp (go ahead!), but I just would never be able to go to Cuba and see ANY of that stuff first-hand. Eeek! Reading about it gives me the willies. :-)