Viva La

We spent Christmas in Cuba this year. It was a strange experience visiting the socialist paradise just days after Corbyn was so soundly beaten in the December election. Corbyn is well known for his admiration and solidarity with Cuba, reliant as it was on the USSR until its collapse and then more recently Venezuela.

Cuba offers visitors a vision of how a socialist state runs (or doesn't really).

The place is dilapidated and inefficient. People are poor and there is a lack of innovation, whether home grown or imported. Most commodities are in short supply and there is a lack of motivation to progress from many people as progress seems impossible to them. Monopolies and centralised planning make basic needs difficult to meet and as a consequence many shops are empty or lack variety, pricing is unrealistic and queues are endemic.

The sale of new cars are banned so vehicles are kept running way beyond their useful lives and 2nd hand values are enormous compared to any other country.

On the other hand they have more doctors per head than any other country and enjoy a life expectancy of 80 which is not dissimilar to ours. People are generally pretty happy and friendly and you certainly don't see the level of homelessness that you do in the UK or USA.

There is no brand advertising, just political propaganda and most of that harks back 60 years to the revolution and the US disaster shortly after at The Bay Of Pigs.

Sooner rather than later when Castro and Trump hand over control respectively and Glasnost prevails which I think is inevitable Cuba will become a hot investment target, ripe for redevelopment. Meanwhile, it serves as a fascinating and enjoyable holiday destination and as an example of what we might have wound up with here if the election had gone the other way. Highly recommended for a holiday but not so great as a permanent societal shift.

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