Cuba Past and Present

New York, N.Y. People in Cuba were humble and happy people

At the beginning of September 2018, “The 2nd World Onnetsu Therapy” was realized in Havana. Hosted by the health minister of Cuba, doctors and academics in more than 20 countries at the Havana Conference Center gathered for three days.  It was valuable opportunities to present the New findings of Onnetsu Therapy. 

I  recall the first time I visited Cuba in 2009.

I flew from Lima to Havana via Panama City. At that time, one could not fly directly to Cuba from the mainland of the United States. The opposite was also true. I stayed in various inns for experiences and tried to exchange with the Cubans as much as I could. The diplomatic relationship with the United States has become somewhat better now, but actually  no visible sign of improvement.

This  is a retrospective about that time

In the past,I visited, most of the former communist countries zones, I found that  the currency had the official rate and black market rate. But Cuba was different from other countries. Cuba created two currencies. One was for tourists (CUC) and the other was for local Cuban people (CUP). There were two kinds of peso banknotes for Cuban and foreigners, which clearly differ in design. We foreigners can NOT use local pesos(CUP) anywhere. . Foreign pesos (CUC) are more than 25 times the price of local pesos. That means that the Cubans (CUP)were one-twenty-fiifth of CUC Cubans  could buy any necessities buy CUP, but they were not even allowed to carry a CUC.

For  foreigners conveniences, the cost of most of CUC was fixed, the room cost was 30 pesos per night (about US $ 30) in Havana,  25 pesos in other cities, the breakfast was unified with 5 pesos All Hotels, including B&B ,all restaurant, shops for foreigners taxis etc. were carried out by CUC
The most significant difference of my experiences between past  communist countries’s experience and Cuba’s experoemces was that the Cubans seem to be less afraid of the Government threat. The citizens of other countries were afraid even of meeting with foreigners. In Cuba they very much wanted to talk with foreigners and the conversation was always bright and free. There seems to be little oppression of speech and human rights. The Cuban who is exiled in America  naturally does not tell the truth.

Huge signs and posters depicting political slogans often seen in other countries were not on the street of Havana or the expressway in Cuba.. Sometimes I see the poster of Choi Guevara, but it was surprising that there were no posters of Castro in souvenirs  or ordinals shops, restaurants, and offices. Running on the highway from the city of Havana and outskirts was a very refreshing feeling. Because there is no advertisement trying to sell something like in the West.

One evening, I went to a performance by young dancers most Alicia Alonso Ballet Company (Cuba National Ballet Company). I was surprised by the wonderful ballet team. Especially, there are many talented male young dancers! I have been in promotion for more than 25 years, so I am confident in my judgment.. Bringing the Cuban National Ballet Company to the U.S was once my dream. Of course as I could not convince the US Department of State and it did not come true …. The legendary Alicia Alonso was a blind dancer, she made one of the best ballet team in the world. In Havana this  tradition still lives.

Everyone we met in Cuba was very nice people. They were  kind and compassionate and thankful to everything, and they were  humble and did not have western-style monetary greed. I did not see any hungry people either. They were all well educated.  Sick people are well taken care of., Basically the citizens were well cared for. This was the first visit of my impression in 2009 and many visit afterward till two years ago.

Cuba has changed now. I am here in Havana in September 2018.  The Old atmosphere has changed now, since two years ago, Cubans can exchange CUP to CUC. It seems to me that this is creating  incredible harmful effects, but let’s talk about this later. (Next issue will be published October 13)

Originally published as Vol. 43 in Weekly Biz, September 8, 2018; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz



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