Thank God it was just the leg of the frame of my glasses. It was also a personal experience of the good side of Cuba’s Socialist system. We found an optician in Guanabo, who put on a new leg within five minutes at just one Cuban peso. Not the CUC, but the national currency used by Cubans, that is i.e. non-tourists. U.S. equivalent: a nickel (US$ 0.05). Where on earth could you be helped in this way at this price? Only in Cuba. Say what you like, despite its financial difficulties, Cuba does not turn its back on the sick and disabled. Health care is universal and (nearly) for free. Shame on the U.S.!
And to those critics who say that Cuba’s health care system is of poor quality, we answer that a non-existent health care system for the poor in other countries (even the U.S.!) is at any rate worse.
Cuba should not be compared to France or Canada. It should be compared to the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Jamaica. Cuba leaves these countries far behind, both as regards health care and education. Socialism is not all bad. Cuba certainly does care about its people.
Sense of community
Noticeable also is a much greater sense of community than anywhere else. People help each other and are very friendly. Both in cities and in the countryside they have close contact with their neighbors and people out in their street. There is much public space and a strong sense of belonging. This in sharp contrast to western countries, where people tend to be closed-up and individualistic. And, yes, mostly more selfish. Certainly there are things we could learn from Cuba.
Crime, too, is much better controlled than in most rich countries. True it is, that many things are illegal in Cuba and people do these things anyway to survive. Examples: Selling goods on the streets without a permit, touring tourists without a permit etc.. These things and anything else that might result in a resurgence of Capitalism (such as running a private business), are illegal, but in fact there are many such illegal Capitalists in Cuba. But serious crime such as theft, murder, rape and robbery is rare in Cuba. Admittedly, this is also due to the fact that there seem to be more policemen than civilians. Nevertheless, in this respect too Cuba has something to be proud of.