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Yes, amazing how that works when you convert free citizens of a nation with a higher per capita income and car ownership than half of Europeans, who enjoyed the 3rd highest protein consumption in Latin American, into penurious half-starved serfs. “One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class,” documented a report by the UN’s International Labor Organization in 1957.
In Pre-Castro Cuba the abundant lobster, grouper and snapper that so enchanted Cooper and Guggenheim on their scuba dive served as dietary mainstays of the humblest Cuban, who owned boats, fishing gear and were perfectly free to use them at every whim and then consume their catch. For Cuban landlubbers, pre-Castro groceries stocked seafood in abundance. Now these delicacies are reserved mostly for tourists, regime apparatchiks and valued foreign propagandists. Catching and eating a lobster can land a Castro subject in jail. And owning even a dinghy is the stuff of dreams — of escape.
“In 1996, the government of Fidel Castro, a diver himself, made this area one of the largest marine preserves in the Caribbean. Almost all commercial fishing was banned,” explains a smug Cooper to his 60 Minutes audience.
Yes, amazing how that works in Stalinist Cuba: Castro decrees his favorite diving and fishing site a preserve that prohibits his subjects from doing there what he does. Lider Maximo (translates into German almost precisely as Fuhrer) then presents the proposition to his “parliament” and lo and behold, the “parliament” agrees.
There’s just something about running a KGB-tutored Stalinist regime that jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s, murdered more of them than pre-war Hitler’s, and outlaws dissent that encourages this type of instant and gung-ho parliamentarian team-playing. Many among the tens of thousands of Castro’s prison, torture and firing squad victims were his former comrades, onetime regime officials. Unlike food, clothing, shelter, feminine napkins and toilet paper, one thing there’s never any shortage of in Stalinist Cuba is rubber stamps.
Apartheid South Africa, by the way, did a bang-up job of wildlife conservation. The segregationist governments set up many national parks and nature preserves where vigilant police kept poaching to a minimum. After the end of apartheid and the enfranchisement of South Africa’s black population, poaching has become rampant, with the populations of many endangered species (rhinos in particular) plummeting.
But I searched the media records in utter vain for, say, a National Geographic (which has run multiple specials extolling Castroite conservation) that extolled Apartheid South Africa’s conservation consciousness. Apparently, in the view of enlightened opinion worldwide, the vileness of that government’s segregationist policies negated the virtue of its conservation policies. If only Stalinist policies were regarded similarly by enlightened opinion worldwide. If only a totalitarian Cuban regime that jailed and murdered political prisoners at ten times the rate of an authoritarian South African regime provoked a tiny fraction of the revulsion as the latter among the “enlightened” worldwide.
On his site Dr. Guggenheim also hails Stalinist Cuba’s protection of sea turtles: “The [Cuban] project also includes a comprehensive sea turtle research and conservation component focused at Cuba’s westernmost point, Guanahacabibes. Through strong community involvement and education, it has dramatically reduced turtle poaching” (emphasis added).
I bet! And “education” indeed, Dr. Guggenhiem. Just ask the former inmates of the area’s Che Guevara-imposed forced-labor camps. That sort of incentive program will get you “community involvement” every trip of the train.
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