Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro

Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro

Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro

Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro

Synopsis

This book has long been regarded as the definitive history of Castro's communist regime, beginning in 1959 through the 1990s. This updated, second edition contains a new epilogue by the author that covers the last decade, including such newsworthy events as the Elian Gonzalez controversy, the growing immigrant community of Cuban-Americans in Florida, the role of Cuban-Americans in the 2000 presidential election, the withering US sales embargo and the inevitable transition of power now that Castro is in his mid-70s.

Excerpt

When I was walking in February 2002 through Havana’s parque central, a delightful plaza built during the Colonial era, an adorable five-year-old mulatto girl joined her hand to mine. Irresistibly, I began to talk to her, and then to her mother, on the girl’s other side. It soon became apparent that the mother wanted something from me. Ambivalently, I reached to offer her a dollar. “No, ” she said. “Please buy my daughter some milk. ” I knew that the Cuban government remained committed to assuring children milk rations despite all the shortages that accompanied the crisis that followed the demise of Soviet aid and trade. Yet, the girl might want more milk, I thought. Or she might have an older sibling who was too old to qualify for the milk allotment. No matter, how could I say no to such an affable child? So, I agreed to accompany the girl and her mother to a nearby store and buy a container of powdered milk for them. the mother then asked whether I had any clothes in my hotel that she might have. After chatting with her about her hard times as a single mother who could not earn enough at a job to make it worth her while to work, I had the good sense to not become more involved in her hustling scams.

A year later, I read about the Milk Lady of the parque central. Where? in a recent edition of Fodor’s Cuba tour book. Fodor’s warned tourists about her. Although I had thought that if the mother did not need the milk she would have sold it on the black market for dollars that she could use for other needs, I had not realized until reading the guidebook that the Milk Lady had an informal, illegal deal going with the woman who worked in the store. the container of milk might well have been returned to the store after I left, with the clerk and the Milk Lady splitting the few dollars I paid. Indeed, the same container of milk might have been purchased by many a tourist before and after me, earning dollars upon dollars for the two women.

When I wrote the final words of the first edition of this book in 1994, I thought that Castro’s regime might be relegated to the dustbin of history before the printed version saw the light of day. the East European . . .

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