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Cuba along with Russia, China, North Korea and Vietnam are the last regimes who have one party Communist governments. Cuba’s President , Dias, Canel is a supporter of President Maduro of Venezuela who has ruled his country with an iron fist refusing to step down in the face of thousands of people who continue to protest in the streets with the help of his military.

Thousands of Cubans live and work in Venezuela providing military and counter-intelligence, secret police. The government leaders of Cuba sees the uprising as a threat to their Communist regime that they have enjoyed ruling for over 60 years.

A few years ago Ella and I went with a friend to Maria that is the resort town in the mountains where Fidel Castro started the revolution to free the country from the Dictator Batista.

After a day of boredom I started to interview some of the staff at the hotel using serviettes to record their answers. For the most part those I interviewed were very hesitant to answer my questions The waitresses/waiters were very sweet and obliging taking care to make sure that we enjoyed our vacation. There is free health care, education for the people along with two years of compulsory military service for young men.

The average employed Cuban earns 300-400 Pesos a month that converted into Canadian,( $1.33) is around $400. comes to around $1.00 per hour.

There were many "not possible" answers to my queries. Not possible to own your own apartment with families who are forced to share with up to seven in a two bedroom apartment.

Not possible to own your own computer. Computer access is limited to schools and it is not possible to have cable/satellite access to watch American television.

Working at the resorts with the chance to earn tips in American green back dollars makes life so much easier. The remuneration from the tourists at the resorts is much better then what a teacher, medical doctor can expect from the government.

The hotel staff arrive by bus every morning with their lunches in hand to feed themselves. Not possible to partake of the hotel cuisine while they are away from home. The children of the hotel staff are not allowed to spend a day at the resort to bathe in the ocean when their parents have their one day off.

Traveling abroad for the islanders to the US a mere 19 miles across the sea is not possible; it has to be approved by the government officials based in Havana. There is a state run lottery where the winners are allowed access to the chance of a visa to immigrate to another country. People from offshore are not allowed to become permanent residents. One way off the island is to hopefully marry a tourist and then you can leave with your new spouse.

If you dare to walk a few meters from the resort along the fence enclosure you will find very impoverished young children in tattered clothes begging. They were sent by their poor farming parents to sell sea shells or other trinkets in the vain hope that you will take pity on them.

When I was departing the island through customs I was taken out of the line by two agents who asked me to accompany them. They searched my luggage and found the notes that I had written. I surmise that a staff member at the hotel that I interviewed informed the authorities that I had broken the law.

Thank goodness for my wife Ella who raised her phone in the air yelling that "she was calling the Canadian Embassy". The agents photocopied my notes; threw them in my bag ; escorted me to the waiting room to await my departure.

Freedom of the press and then to question why is something that I have always taken for granted in Canada is not possible in Cuba.

There is a price that the local people have to pay for their stay on the island. It is no paradise. The harsh words; "NOT POSSIBLE" is a fact of life for the Cuban people.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com