By Maurice Halperin
An insightful own memoir that contrasts firsthand the dream of the Cuban Revolution because it used to be within the early Nineteen Sixties with the deprivations, hardships, and lack of wish that hang-out Cuban society this day.
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Extra info for Return to Havana: the decline of Cuban society under Castro
The stench was unbearable. " Back in Moscow, concert and ballet tickets were hard to come by. So we did a lot of walking, weather permitting, and sightseeing on foot. The Kremlin was a jewel; Arbat Street and the GUM shopping galleries had a quaint nineteenth-century flavor; Gorki Park in summer was pleasant. But most of Moscow was unattractive, and people seemed Page 20 to reflect the city's grayness. They wore stained and ill-fitting clothes and rarely smiled. " In great contrast for someone coming from Moscow, Havana was an astonishing city in the summer of 1962.
In a twenty-five-story building, this made for long waiting periods and crowded cars. Waiting in the airconditioned lobby was not too difficult, though annoying; but on an upper floor, after a long walk in an oppressively hot, musty corridor, a five-minute wait for an elevator was distinctly unpleasant. A particularly depressing demonstration of austerity in socialist Cuba took place in the men's washroom. A third of the urinals were out of order on any given day. Meanwhile, sitting just inside the entrance to the facility was an attendant handing out single sheets of toilet paper to patrons in need.
But to where? I was blacklisted in the United States and did not relish peddling encyclopedias as a way to make a living. I wrote to an old friend in Ontario about finding a university job in Canada. " At that point, my appetite for adventure took over. Why not take advantage of my peculiar situation and try to find a job in the Soviet Union? There would be nothing to lose. I had no pension to protect, and I had already been labeled a Communist and Soviet spy. On the one hand, it would be the experience of a lifetime.
Return to Havana: the decline of Cuban society under Castro by Maurice Halperin