An engine breakdown that said it all
Over the years, Cubans, in the U.S. and on the island, have come up with some rather amazing jokes about the death of Fidel Castro.
For example, Cubans have joked about the inefficient Cuban bureaucracy by saying that Castro died years ago, but they are still doing the paperwork.
Another joke going around is that refugees from hell will soon show up on Florida's shores. Fidel's newest exiles from hell!
Another joke is that Che greeted him in hell and then lit him up.
However, no one could have foreseen what we saw in Cuba over the weekend. Yes, the car taking Castro's remains to his resting place broke down:
The vehicle hauling the trailer carrying Castro’s remains broke down on the road near the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba during Saturday’s procession.
Please don't blame the U.S. embargo, because this is not a 1950s car. This is probably a small truck built in the USSR or somewhere in the old Soviet bloc. Maybe the Castro government forgot to pay the Russian equivalent of roadside assistance.
Overall, it was a reminder of just how much harm Castro did to Cuba.
As my parents, born in the late 1920s, will assure you, Cuba was not a perfect country, nor the land of casinos that so many people talk about. It was actually a very dynamic place – a good place to live and the beneficiary of many immigrants who went to the island because they heard it was full of opportunities.
Just a few days ago, I saw this in National Review:
Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically.
Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant.
The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita.
Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility
How else do you think Castro contacted Cubans almost nightly by TV? Well, there were lots of TVs spread out throughout the island, with Cuban-owned stations broadcasting.
Again, it was not a perfect country, and politics had always been challenging to Cuba. But let me tell you about two things that did not happen in pre-Castro Cuba:
1) People were not taking homemade rafts to the U.S.
2) Funeral cars did not break down on their way to the cemetery.