Cuba: The pearl of the Caribbean
The new center of attention
By Ray Ramos
It was the end of 1959 when a group of disheveled and wild men led by a bearded, loquacious individual, entered the city of Havana and toppled the existing regime. The entire world watched as this episode of history unfolded before the incredulous eyes of the United States Government.
For the next 3 years, the world was riveted to the small Caribbean island and its charismatic almost god like figure that Fidel Castro had become. He was the underdog that triumphed over overwhelming odds who brought the cold war to its zenith and made a happy Khrushchev grovel over his new acquired territories just a stone’s throw from his arch enemy. The siege of Turkey was avenged and the Russians proceeded to test the limits of the United States and its young president by putting nuclear head missiles on the island aimed at Washington.
Cuba was the center of attention for months to come during those early years of 1960. We were all affected one way or another by what was happening on that island. I remember my old school and how we were instructed to hide under the desk in case of a nuclear attack. The years passed and became decades and the Castro brothers turned into savages with an unbridled appetite for control and power over the population. Nothing that happened there escaped their grip. They exported their revolution and associated themselves with anyone to further their cause. But by the late 1980’s and early 90’s, the Russians stopped the flow of cash and the “Periodo Especial” began.
The brothers resorted to trading Cocaine and partnered with men like Pablo Escobar and Carlos Lehder. Such events like the Mariel Boatlift and the trade deals struck with Venezuela years later continued to sporadically place the small country in the front pages of the Media. 50 some years have gone since the so-called revolution forever changed the life of 11 million people and the only true beneficiaries were those associated with the regime. The bulk of the population has only seen misery, poor living conditions, reprisal and a kind of frozen in time situation where the country seemed to be caught in a time warp.
The architectural structure is dilapidated, the technological advances of our time are scarce and the political system remained the same for 5 decades. Is it any wonder why many Cubans are willing to risk their lives on a rickety boat to flee such dire conditions. Despite all the mischievous and the sustained malice with which the Castro brothers have governed the island, they are still very much alive and in charge. Now the circumstances seem to line themselves in a way that favors these two. Their little kingdom has become yet again, the center of attention, welcoming world figures the likes of the Pope, the president of the United States, other presidents of world countries, cheesy celebrities from USA and even the most popular Rock-and-roll band of all times.
Cuba is back on the map. Attracting international tourists and building major shipping yards. How this happened is anyone guess but one thing is certain, the resilience of this small country in the Caribbean sea to not go unnoticed is surprising. As though, it is hell bent on telling the world, I am here and I will continue to demand attention by creating controversy regardless of time. Whether it is 1959 or 2016.