AuthorTopic: Classism In Cuba Today  (Read 1409 times)

Offline Eddie

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Classism In Cuba Today
« on: June 18, 2018, 11:07:12 AM »
All men might be created equal, but they don't stay equal for long. There is an elite class in Cuba. This is not politics. It is human nature.

This is from a blog by a hyphenated American from the Bronx who calls herself a "Dominican Abroad". She's a serious world traveler, who has spent quite a bit of time in Cuba, from what I gathered. She's a widely read blogger and a travel writer.

I'm sure Palloy can prove she works for the CIA.

 



CUBAN CLASS SYSTEM: WHO IS RICH IN CUBA?

November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro’s vision for post-revolution Cuba was an independent nation without classism. He preached for a Cuba where everyone has access to education, healthcare, and basic necessities. These intentions enthralled some folks, while others (most of the affluent class) fearfully fled in massive waves. While Castro did succeed in some aspects–Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world (99.8%)–he was not able to avoid the inevitable class system.

“Cubans are poor. Extremely poor.” I was sternly warned by folks who had never been to Cuba. So I couldn’t believe my eyes when I stumbled into an old social yacht club in Havana, full of wealthy Cubans playing on their iPads, and using expensive internet.

The surprises kept coming when I arrived to a new year’s eve family party, located in a tall, baroque-style, multiple-story home in el Vedado. The home’s interior had freshly painted walls and was decorated with modern furniture (a luxury in Cuba). The dinner table was bustling with an abundance of food and drinks. The women, beautifully endowed, were dressed as if they were heading to a red carpet event. I looked down at my hippie dress and withering sandals, wondering if I was in Cuba or Miami.

That night, we took to flashy bars that put Miami to shame. Cubans who frequented these bars seemed educated, gorgeous, and whimsical. I loved observing each one of them and trying to figure out their story. How did they get to be more privileged than other Cubans I’ve met? Do their parents own casa particulares? Do they have family in Miami? Maybe they’re bureaucratically connected. My mind wandered until my friend interrupted me, “Let’s play a game, tourist or Cuban?” he whispered in my ear. We could no longer tell them apart.

It is not uncommon to meet Cubans who own six-figure casa particular or paladar businesses, making more money than most Americans. But it is much more common to meet Cubans who have very little resources, zero access to the internet, no connections, and nothing to invest.

After a lot of online research, social observation, and conversations over Cristal beers with Cubans throughout the island, I concluded the following types of Cubans are generally the ones at the top of the socio-economic pyramid:


This is probably the highest in the socioeconomic ladder in terms of money and power, but it is also the hardest to quantify into words or numbers. These are Cubans who work in high places in the government, such as military generals and government department ministers. These folks are afforded certain luxuries (cars, internet, property), privileges, and opportunities  directly from the government than probably any other Cuban. To reach this position in Cuba, takes special connections and fervid loyalism to the Castros, Communism, and the Revolution.

Not-so-fun fact: I was once uninvited to a family Christmas party because in Cuba it is illegal for a foreigner to be in the same room as a military general. I was pretty bummed out, since I really wanted to meet a military general.

The Geographically Blessed (ie. Los Habaneros)

Havana Upper Class Cubans

Environment can be a deciding factor for where Cubans fall within the socioeconomic class system. In Eastern Cuba, the treatment our Havana friends got from their Santiago friends, reminded me of the way I’m treated when I go back to visit family in the Dominican Republic. I’m expected to bring gifts and take them out because I come from a place of higher opportunity and economic privilege. And as it turns out, in Cuba, Havana is regarded as just that. Folks from Havana are deemed to enjoy a better standard of living and be more financially privileged, due to the relative abundance of opportunity the capital offers (especially from tourism).

The problem here is that a Cuban cannot easily move from one part of the country to another. Cuban Decree 217 prohibits citizens without an address or job in Havana from living there. I assume this is to reduce urbanization and overpopulation. But to make matters trickier, the cost of living can be the same if not worse in regions outside of Havana. So cities like Santiago and Baracoa have less opportunity for work and less pay but just as high, if not higher, costs of living.

The Internationally Connected – Cubans with Access to Foreign Remittances


Foreign remittances fuel the Cuban economy. Billions of dollars are pumped every year into Cuba from family and friends abroad. This is a particularly special aspect to the country of Cuba. Since the 1960’s the U.S. has upheld the Cuban Adjustment Act which entices Cubans to migrate to the U.S. Upon reaching land, they are instantly granted legal entrance and qualify for an assortment of government aid programs. This has encouraged the immigration of nearly 20% of the Cuban population. That’s 1 in 5 Cubans in the United States.

Cubans with access to foreign aid are at an advantage to those without these connections. In a country where the average monthly salary is $20-30, any bit of aid from the U.S. is relatively a lot.

In addition to fulfilling basic needs, these Cubans can use foreign money to invest in the newly available Cuban private sector (2011). These Cubans, with the help of family abroad, have also been able to invest in or buy homes at ridiculously low rates. Homes in the affluent neighborhood of El Vedado can sell for as low as $20,000, and multi-bedroom penthouses have been listed for less than $100,000 (Revolico). Such homes are then renovated into Airbnbs/casa particulares for travelers to rent. These Cubans are making more money than you and me combined, while paying an extremely low costs of living.

Cubans Who Work with Tourists

Cuban workers casa particulares owners

Tourism as the engine of the country, coupled with state-owned enterprises, has turned Cuba’s socioeconomic structure upside down. It is extremely common to meet highly trained and skilled professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) who make far less money than unskilled laborers (waiters, cab drivers, hotel maids) in the tourism sector. These people are at an advantage for several reasons: they can receive gifts from tourists (to keep or sell), may become friends or lovers with tourists who can help them out, and/or can be paid and tipped in tourist prices, among many other lucrative benefits.

The most profitable types of work in the tourism industry are usually cab drivers and owners/innkeepers of bed and breakfasts (casas particulares).

The Genetically Endowed


Some Cubans were lucky enough to have inherited (or been given by the government’s expropriated stash) certain luxuries from earlier decades, such as cars. In Cuba, these old cars are now used as taxis to drive other Cubans or, more lucratively, to drive tourists. Taxi drivers in Cuba’s private sector are commonly known to earn more money than a doctor who works in the government sector.

~

Of course, there are exceptions to everything. The list above is not all exclusive. For instance, some Cubans in the countryside who raise pigs make much more money than the average Cuban. But these are the most generally recognized groups in Cuba who are more financially privileged.

Perhaps class systems are simply inevitable in a world full of different ambitions, skills, fortunes, and environments. Hopefully one day, however, Cubans will have equal access to work towards financial success.

https://dominicanabroad.com/2016/11/28/cuban-class-system-rich-cubans-elite/


Silly Millenial. You can't trump human nature.

And that last category should not be labeled "genetically endowed" . What those people are, exactly, are people who inherit intergeneration wealth in the form of a valuable asset.

In Cuba.



« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 11:21:25 AM by Eddie »
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 10:14:17 PM »
Quote
Eddie: And that last category should not be labeled "genetically endowed" . What those people are, exactly, are people who inherit intergeneration wealth in the form of a valuable asset.

In Cuba.

Yeah, that's not socialist enough for my liking.  Maybe it can be established that the revolution is too old now.  It needs another revolution to keep it fresh.  The new society is going to disallow inheritance of wealth. 

As to the army generals being treated as upper class, and being given privileged status, why do we need generals? - they only make decisions on military strategy during war-time. Often they are old and make decisions based on old wars, which don't suit the current war.  They don't know what to do about Afghanistan, and didn't know what to do about Vietnam.  Maybe all generals should be automatically sacked/demoted after 10 years or even less.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 06:25:27 AM »


Yeah, that's not socialist repressive  enough for my liking.


There, fixed that. Socialists love repression, as long as it's somebody else getting ripped off. Greatest good for the greatest number. Starving billions, etc.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 07:05:14 AM »
Quote
Eddie: Socialists love repression

That gem of bias proves you must be brainwashed.
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 07:14:11 AM »


Damn socialists.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 07:44:06 AM »
Look. This country IS already socialist (albeit a very flawed example).

Nobody gets turned away at any county hospital in this country. Once your medical bills bankrupt you here, you're eligible for free care, although it might not be the best care.

Everyone who ever had a job and paid taxes is eligible for a shitty government pension.

If you have a job and get fired, even for incompetence, you can draw a shitty government unemployment check for 180 days.

We have universal free basic education.

The idea that the US is a lassez-faire capitalist country is completely bogus.

We are basically a Nazi country. Any social welfare program is required to be a conduit scheme for big money. And it has to be really, really bare bones. Those are the rules here. Tax breaks for the super rich and a few crumbs for the really destitute, and everybody else scrambles to make it as best they can.

I'm not even anti-socialist. I'm on record here (many, many times) as saying that I think that all systems of government as practiced in the real world are seriously flawed. I think socializing healthcare and having single payer would be great. I favor other social programs, like free college for all.

In my view, people who think any political system is going to greatly improve anybody's chances for long term survival going forward are just farting in the breeze. I do expect socialism to get more popular here. Because people won't cope well with the smaller pie, and they'll demand more from the government as it gets harder and harder to get by, and voters will embrace socialism. Unfortunately, socialists can't create oil, or food, or get back all the trillions of dollars of assets wasted on wars, or do anything else to save anybody.

It'll just be exactly like Cuba. Crumbling buildings, everybody hustling for nickels and dimes, and as much black market as can still exist in a time of almost complete surveillance.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 06:49:07 PM by Eddie »
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2018, 11:42:59 AM »
Look. This country IS already socialist (albeit a very flawed example).

Nobody gets turned away at any county hospital in this country. Once your medical bills bankrupt you here, you're eligible for free care, although it might not be the best care.

Everyone who ever had a job and paid taxes is eligible for a shitty government pension.

If you have a job and get fired, even for incompetence, you can draw a shitty government unemployment check for 180 days.

We have universal free basic education.

The idea that the US is a lassez-faire capitalist country is completely bogus.

We are basically a Nazi country. Any social welfare program is required to be a conduit scheme for big money. And it has to be really, really bare bones. Those are the rules here. Tax breaks for the super rich and a few crumbs for the really destitute, and everybody else scrambles to make it as best they can.

I'm not even anti-socialist. I'm on record here (many, many times) as saying that I think that all systems of government as practiced in t \he real world are seriously flawed. I think socializing healthcare and having single payer would be great. I favor other social programs, like free college for all.

In my view, people who think any political system is going to greatly improve anybody's chances for long term survival going forward are just farting in the breeze. I do expect socialism to get more popular here. Because people won't cope well with the smaller pie, and they'll demand more from the government as it gets harder and harder to get by, and voters will embrace socialism. Unfortunately, socialists can't create oil, or food, or get back all the trillions of dollars of assets wasted on wars, or do anything else to save anybody.

It'll just be exactly like Cuba. Crumbling buildings, everybody hustling for nickels and dimes, and as much black market as can still exist in a time of almost complete surveillance.
that Eddie is by far the best descriptor of what I see coming. The starting governmental system won't matter nearly as much as the resources they have available to them. Cuba just got there first due to the embargo and having to come to terms with the Soviet collapse.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 02:58:57 PM »
Look. This country IS already socialist (albeit a very flawed example).

Nobody gets turned away at any county hospital in this country. Once your medical bills bankrupt you here, you're eligible for free care, although it might not be the best care.

Everyone who ever had a job and paid taxes is eligible for a shitty government pension.

If you have a job and get fired, even for incompetence, you can draw a shitty government unemployment check for 180 days.

We have universal free basic education.

The idea that the US is a lassez-faire capitalist country is completely bogus.

We are basically a Nazi country. Any social welfare program is required to be a conduit scheme for big money. And it has to be really, really bare bones. Those are the rules here. Tax breaks for the super rich and a few crumbs for the really destitute, and everybody else scrambles to make it as best they can.

I'm not even anti-socialist. I'm on record here (many, many times) as saying that I think that all systems of government as practiced in t \he real world are seriously flawed. I think socializing healthcare and having single payer would be great. I favor other social programs, like free college for all.

In my view, people who think any political system is going to greatly improve anybody's chances for long term survival going forward are just farting in the breeze. I do expect socialism to get more popular here. Because people won't cope well with the smaller pie, and they'll demand more from the government as it gets harder and harder to get by, and voters will embrace socialism. Unfortunately, socialists can't create oil, or food, or get back all the trillions of dollars of assets wasted on wars, or do anything else to save anybody.

It'll just be exactly like Cuba. Crumbling buildings, everybody hustling for nickels and dimes, and as much black market as can still exist in a time of almost complete surveillance.

You are using the label Socialist incorrectly if you think the US is also a Nazi country (which it is).  It CANNOT be both, as they are opposite ends of the political spectrum.  Insofar as you have two political parties, they are both more right-wing than anything seen in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  The damning of Socialism is a self-serving ploy of right-wing propaganda and you have been completely taken in.  That is why you claim to be a good person and yet come out with the abhorrent racist statements I call you out on.
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Offline RE

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 03:16:18 PM »
Insofar as you have two political parties, they are both more right-wing than anything seen in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Nonsense.  Party for Freedom in the Netherlands,  AfD in Germany, Fidesz in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece are all much further to the right.

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2018, 03:29:05 PM »
Any country which has social welfare programs is, to some degree, socialist. By definition.

And it's a spectrum, not an absolute, in almost any case you can name.

Nazi means literally "national socialist party". Nazis are really corporatists, or at least that's the way they've existed in the real world as opposed existing in theory. Theories are bullshit.

But Nazi Germany had a plethora of social programs. There was even a  special name for that. Volksgemeinschaft.

The US is a Nazi country with limited social welfare. Europe has more. Venezuela has more still, and Cuba has more still.

There is no country that has no social welfare programs at all. The US didn't, in the dim past, before the Great Depression. In modern times, though, all governments make some attempt at social welfare.

So what you're saying isn't right at all . Nazism is not exactly the opposite of socialism. It's more nuanced than that.

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 04:11:16 PM »
There used to be a Socialist Party in the US. They ceased to exist when the Democrats adopted every plank in their platform. I'm not just saying that. The guy who ran for POTUS on the socialist ticket multiple times said that. But it's changed a lot since then.

More lately the Democratic Party has been captured by the corporate interests. So yes, they are not socialist anymore. They are Corporatist. Maybe not exactly Nazi, but close enough. And the Republicans (The party of Abraham Lincoln, the anti-slavery party, if you will) are Corporatist too.

There are NO real party planks at all anymore. It's whatever the moneybags people want. The people have no say. Nobody in power cares about the interests of the people.

We have these fake party planks. Anti-immigration. Anti-drugs. Anti-gun control Anti- whatever the polls say will attract a drooler vote, basically.

Social programs are being gutted and we call it "privatization" and chalk it up to saving taxpayers money.

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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2018, 04:23:27 PM »
Quote
RE: Party for Freedom in the Netherlands,  AfD in Germany, Fidesz in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece are all much further to the right.

Because what THEY call for is no Muslim immigration , while in the US, Trump only calls for ... ?
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2018, 04:30:40 PM »
Quote
RE: Party for Freedom in the Netherlands,  AfD in Germany, Fidesz in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece are all much further to the right.

Because what THEY call for is no Muslim immigration , while in the US, Trump only calls for ... ?
"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline RE

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2018, 04:42:24 PM »
Quote
RE: Party for Freedom in the Netherlands,  AfD in Germany, Fidesz in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece are all much further to the right.

Because what THEY call for is no Muslim immigration , while in the US, Trump only calls for ... ?

The Demodopes don't call for no immigration.  You said BOTH parties were to the right of any party in Europe.

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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Classism In Cuba Today
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2018, 06:51:22 PM »
OK, you win.  But the "far right" parties in Europe are universally hated and put down by the BAU-consensus parties, and they feel the same way about all US parties.
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