Polemics & Exchanges

Many Tiers

R. Clay Reynolds’ “From Castro to Cancun” (Correspondence, May) presented a number of observations that contradict much of what has been documented with regards to Cuba.  For the sake of brevity, I am only highlighting some of the most glaring.

First, the claim that there is “no urban blight” in Cuba ignores the crumbling reality.  If urban blight means the “deterioration and decay of buildings and older areas of large cities,” then Havana, a city where inhabitants are frequently killed by falling debris and collapsing buildings, is a poster child for urban blight.  Professor Reynolds should take a look at the documentary Havana: The New Art of Making Ruins by German filmmakers Florian Borchmeyer and Matthias Hentschler.

Second, Professor Reynolds’ claim that he “detected no sense of fear or of persecution and no despair” is surprising in a country with the second-highest suicide rate in the Western Hemisphere, according to official figures.  Cubans have endured three dictatorships since the 1920’s, with a couple of short-lived democratic spaces.  Dictatorships in Cuba have gone from bad to worse.

Third, the author claims that “Cubans currently enjoy high-quality and totally free health and dental care.” ...

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