Organic farming may be trendy in the United States, but in Cuba it’s a necessity – not by choice but mainly because they can’t afford to buy pesticides. The State controls the media and you can’t leave the country without a permit. Welcome to Communist Cuba.
These are one of many reasons why people in Miami took to the streets this week, celebrating the news that Cuban leader Fidel Castro had handed over temporary power to his brother Raul before undergoing intestinal surgery.
Just shy of 80 years old, Castro has already surpassed the life expectancy of men in Cuba(75.1 years) and has been at the helm for 47 years, since he and a small army overthrew the previous dictator in 1959.
Shortly after he took power, the U.S.cut ties and trade with Cubaas Castro aligned himself with the Soviet Union, the U.S. Cold War nemesis. The Soviet Union supported Cuba financially for years but stopped when it broke apart in the early 1990s, sending Cuba into a recession.
> Timeline of U.S./Cuba relationship
After 44 years of an embargo it remains to be seen what will change if Raul, the current defense minister, takes the reins. Some analysts think Raul’s more committed to Communism, yet he embraces some capitalist ideals. Hey, even those coveted cigars may be legal to import one day soon.
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(Interesting side notes/links):
Classic American cars still line the streets in Cuba because they can’t get newer ones. It’s like stepping back in time.
Castro offered to send doctors to the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. said thanks but no thanks.
It’s just 90 miles between Cuba and the U.S. In 2005, U.S.
patrols picked up 2700 people trying to flee Cuba, many on homemade rafts according to the CIA.
A quick synopsis of Cuba under Castro
Colorful Cuba: Get a look inside Cuba with these photos
>Photographer Erin Beach traveled to Cuba with a permit
>Inside Castro’s Cuba