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Archive for the ‘Castro’s Cuba’ Category

No ‘chinos’ in Havana’s Chinatown

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(You can listen to my show (Canto Talk), (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.)

My American Thinker post

Like many other Cuban-Americans, we grew up listening to stories of pre-Castro Cuba. 

My father was a young banker in the 1950s who was eventually promoted to a large branch in Havana.  He worked “downtown,” as we would say here.

One of my favorite stories was about the Chinese in Cuba and the well known “barrio chino,” or, loosely translated, Chinatown. 
It turns out that there was an important population of Chinese immigrants in Cuba.  They came to work in the first 30 years of the 20th century.  Like other bank customers, they would drop by my dad’s branch to make deposits and do banking business.  Some even sent money back to their families in China.  These people had a reputation for working hard, and their word was as good as gold, as my father used to say.  “Never lost a centavo [a cent] with my Chinese clients,” added my father.

My father died in 2015.  He would have mixed feelings reading this story about the old Chinatown in Havana

“The barrio chino? Not even the Chinese go there.”
In Havana’s barrio chino, or Chinatown district, this is not an uncommon phrase. One of Latin America’s oldest Chinatowns is a shadow of its former self: the stone Paifang gate and a few waitresses in red cheongsam (or qipao), all that distinguish it from the rest of the city.
Yet Cuba itself is awash in Chinese tourists and, increasingly, investors. China has become the main export destination for Cuban goods, as well as the main importer on the island. 
Yutong buses carry tourists and locals alike, and Huawei is set to be the main provider for the country’s growing internet ventures. 
Yet the capitol’s barrio chino is noticeably lacking in Chinese diaspora, most of whom fled the island soon after Fidel Castro nationalized businesses in 1959. Those that remain have long since scattered into other districts or left Havana altogether.

Why aren’t there any chinos in Havana’s Chinatown?  The answer is simply communism. 

Most of those chinos were hardworking entrepreneurs who literally got to Cuba with nothing and worked their way into prosperity. 

My father told me he’d walk by the Chinese section once or twice a week.  He would often eat lunch in one of the many restaurants there.  There were shops, medical clinics, grocery stores, and all of the businesses you would see in a capitalist economy.

Cuba’s Chinatown?  Los chinos are not there, but China is expanding its influence 90 miles from the U.S. 

Who would have believed any of that when my father was having lunch with some of his Cuban Chinese customers many years ago?

Another sad chapter of the communist story.







Written by scantojr

July 16, 2017 at 7:31 am

One dissident speaks of confusion in Cuba

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(My new American Thinker post)

We saw celebrations in Miami but we live in a free country.   

We did not see much of anything in Cuba beyond official statements. Cuba is not a free country.

Yoani Sanchez, a blogger in Cuba, described the early hours like this:

“Still many in Havana have not reacted, the streets are empty in my building. Silence,” she added. 

On that silence, Sanchez reflected: “The silence extends, it is dawn, but the fear is felt in the air. Harsh days are coming.”

She also tweeted an image of the television hostess reporting on the event: “An erratic and nervous Tv female voice-over, dressed in black, talks about reactions to Fidel Castro’s death.”

Sanchez founded Generación Y, a blog in which she recounts how the life of a Cuban under the Castro regime that is so notorious that she won the Ortega y Gasset award and Maria Moors Cabot award.

From her blog was born 14ymedio, the only independent medium that is managed by Cubans, but censored within the island by order of the Government, no Cuban can read it while he is in his country.     

Also, we read via Babalu that Cuban secret police abducted the anti-communist artist Danilo Maldonado. His mother told the Diario de Cuba that her son had taken to the streets late Friday to celebrate the death of dictator Fidel Castro.    

My guess is that he is not alone. There are probably other examples of young people in the street celebrating Fidel Castro’s death.

The quiet street is primarily due to a call for a nine-day state of mourning announced by the dictatorship.     

At the same time, I don’t think that Raul Castro wants people in the streets. I’m sure that dictators have good memories. Every dictator in the world remembers how people in the street and food shortages ended up overthrowing Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania.

Cuba is now entering a very dangerous and interesting period.   

Raul Castro could go rogue and look for an exit in exchange for lifting the embargo. He could also get harsh and clamp down out of fear.

Time will tell. We will follow daily reports from dissidents.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

November 28, 2016 at 6:30 am

Will the international left call on Fidel & Raul Castro to give up their millions?

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Yes, the Castros have turned Cuba into a very poor country.  It may be true that Cuba does not have the money to compensate the aggrieved investors.   However, the Castros have the money and should be required to use it to take care of US citizens with claims in the courts……
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Written by scantojr

May 13, 2015 at 7:30 am