Cuba may be a poor country but it’s wealthy in many other ways. It’s people are kind, generous, happy and, from what I’ve seen, healthy. Some may argue it’s because they aren’t distracted by material wealth. But what happens when the U.S. embargo is lifted?
Last week my Honey and I returned home from visiting Cuba. It was my third time visiting this country and his fourth. We love the Cuban people and that’s why we keep going back.
(Here’s a pic of me and Joaquin, a new Cuban friend I met on this last trip. We had a very interesting discussion and I learned a lot about his life, family and what it’s like for him living in Cuba, a communist country.)
When visiting Cuba, we generally choose remote hotels, such as Holguin and Cayo Largo, because we prefer the peace and quiet to relax. This time was different because we got a last minute deal to Veradero, two hours away from Cuba’s capital, Havana. It was definitely more livelier!
Besides the hotel being more populated compared to the others we’ve stayed at in Cuba, I noticed something else. The Cubans looked stressed and were slightly overweight. The hotel staff at the quieter resorts were tired, yes, but they didn’t seem stressed and were all obviously well within a healthy weight range.
Question: Could this be because these Cubans lived closer to a major city, saw more tourists and were influenced by more wealth?
Based on these (limited) observations, I couldn’t help but wonder now that President Obama is in power and there’s a good chance of the U.S. embargo being lifted, how this change will affect the Cuban culture and, particularly, the health of Cubans.
I understand that there isn’t an easy answer to this question. There are many factors influencing the health and well-being of any country’s population.
In this case, some people partially blame Cuba’s poverty on it’s nearest and wealthiest neighbour refusing to trade with them. (Source: Metro) They say that the Cuban people ultimately suffer from the embargo because they lack vital medicine for the health of the population.
Then there are others (particularly, Cubans living abroad) who say the poverty in Cuba is because of governmental control. They state that Cuba has many other trade partners and if their government really cared for Cubans, they would have more.
Update: Here’s an article published just yesterday about a Cuban historian who publicly claims internal government corruption is Cuba’s greatest threat.
For more opinions on the U.S. embargo against Cuba, click here and scroll down to the bottom where the author has included emails from people all over the world.
What do you think, Readers? How will the lifting of the U.S. embargo affect the health of the Cuban people? For better, or worse?