Ivan & Anya, Jim & Sally

Just suppose with me for a moment that an Ivan and an Anya could find themselves, say, in a waiting room, or sharing a shelter from the rain or a storm with a Jim and Sally, and that there was no language barrier to keep them from getting acquainted. Would they then deliberate the differences between their respective governments? Or would they find themselves comparing notes about their children and what each other did for a living? . . . They might even have decided that they were all going to get together for dinner some evening soon. Above all, they would have proven that people don’t make wars.

Ronald Reagan

25 Years of Castro, Part 2

Today’s Seattle Times article referred to the 1969 Zafra de los diez milliones as a turning point for Fidel Castro. His charisma was no longer enough to ensure miracles (such as the eradication of illiteracy, and the success of programs to train doctors on the island) would continue. It was not just the Cubans in Miami who opposed the Castro government.

Prior to the 1980s, the majority of Cubans in the United States came from middle and upper class families. However, two decades after the revolution – 10,000 lower income Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy in April of 1980 seeking asylum.

The Mariel Boatlift refugees, unpopular both in the United States and in Cuba was the ultimate result of the Cuban dissatisfaction. Approximately 125,000 Cubans entered the United States – including unskilled workers, and those labeled by the Castro government as criminals and mental patients.

25 years after the Cuban Revolution, Castro is “on the defensive” according to the Times. The government has matured, though, and should be able to weather the next 25 years.

Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey (1981)

25 Years of Castro, Part 1

The Cuban Revolution ended on January 1, 1959, 25 years ago, when Batista fled the capital and Fidel Castro’s 26th of July movement entered La Habana.

Today’s Seattle Times shows the smiling faces of three of Castro’s barbudos, Camilo was 26, Che was 30, and Raul was 27.

Tomorrow, the special feature will continue, and promises to look at Cuba in 1985 and the changes since the revolution.