Made in Cuba: Casas particulares & Fidel Castro

In 2010 I went to Cuba with some friends and I travelled around the island for a week. I visited Trinidad, Cienfuegos and La Havana. As we are not very keen on hotels, my friends and I decided to stay in "Casas Particulares".

Since 1997 the Cuban goverment let people rent one or several of the rooms in their houses for tourists to stay. It is like a Bed&Breakfast (Cuban style). The best thing about this way of traveling around the island is that you get to know many Cubans and that the prices are very affordable. You have breakfast and/or dinner with them, they give you some advice about what to visit and they call a friend to give you a ride anywhere you want (for a fee, of course).

My friends and I were hosted by three different people: Carlos, Carmen and Maria (their names have been changes to not give them any problem). We spent several days with each and they shared a lot of interesting knowledge about their own country.

Carmen, an old lady with a nice apartment in La Havana with great views, knows clearly that she doesn't like the Cuba she is living in. Her grandsons are doctors and have problems to get medicines or some specific tools they need for their job. For her, Cuba is a beautiful country destroyed by their politicians, who force people to live in bad conditions without the hope of getting better. Carmen also blames Cubans for letting this situation be and last too long.

Maria, on the other side, is completely pleased about the Cuban government. She is a very calm woman who enjoys having a quiet live. She recently applied to get the Spanish passport due to a change in the Spanish law, that let those who are grandchildren from people who escaped from the Civil War to get the Spanish citizenship. We asked what would change for her to become Spanish, and she said that almost nothing. "I just want the passport to be able to travel. I am glad to be Cuban and to live here, and I won't change that for anything in the world".

Carlos, a 50 years old doctor married and with a teenager daughter, is not very pleased about the current situation in Cuba, but he won't say it directly. He and his wife work in the dentist clinic all day long and also attend their guests. They work hard and they help their neighbours when they can.

Talking with Cubans, we realized that quite a big amount of them support Fidel. Way more than we expected, I guess that's the reason Cuba is still a Communist country. Cubans only agreed when answering the question "what's next after Fidel Castro?". They all said. "We will see".

Pictures taken in "Cienfuegos" and "La Habana" of signs supporting Fidel Castro

Thanks Jeewaka for helping me with the text.

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