IS IT TRUE  since President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, we thought it would be fun to reveal fascinating facts about this intriguing nation?

IS IT TRUE in Cuba healthcare is free and seen as a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the state. Despite spending a fraction of what the United States spends on healthcare (the World Bank reports Cuba spends $431 (£303) per head per year compared with $8,553 (£6,000) in the US) Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the US and a similar life expectancy?

IS IT TRUE despite not having much access to the internet, Cubans are a smart bunch. In fact, there are so many doctors in Cuba they’re often sent to other countries that have a shortage. The country has 90,000 of them to serve its population of 11 million. That’s eight for every 1,000 citizens – which according to the World Bank is more than double the rate in the US (2.5) and the UK (2.7).

IS IT TRUE while reports vary on whether it’s actually illegal or not, taking photos of anything associated with the police or military is certainly frowned upon and could result in you losing your camera?

IS IT TRUE that Cuba is the most populated country in the Caribbean, with more than 11 million residents?

IS IT TRUE while many of us use search engines a dozen times a day to find out everything from the weather to how to cook a steak, Cuba is one the least connected countries in the world with only 5% of Cubans enjoying access to uncensored internet at home.

IS IT TRUE that the  average state salary in Cuba is just $20 (£14) per month even though the cost of survival runs around $50 (£35) a month?


IS IT TRUE that Cuba has not one but two currencies. The Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) are both legal tender on the island with the latter worth 25 times as much as the CUP. While most Cubans are paid in CUP, nearly all goods are priced in CUC, making the gap between the haves and have nots glaringly obvious?

IS IT TRUE In 2012, current Cuba president Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother) reinstated Good Friday as a public holiday at the request of Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since the 1959 Cuban revolution?

IS IT TRUE In recent years, the government of Cuba has eased its stronghold on internet censorship with more than 40 government approved wi-fi hot spots around the capital city Havana and other major cities. Although the price of wi-fi access in public places has recently dropped to $2.25 (£1.58) an hour, it is still prohibitive for the vast majority of Cubans.

IS IT TRUE CUBA has one of the lowest birth rates in the Western Hemisphere. Falling dramatically since the 1970s, in 2013 only 9.51 babies per 1,000 Cubans were born?

IS IT TRUE in Cuba Christmas did not become an official holiday in Cuba until 1997. This was introduced by former leader Fidel Castro as a gesture of goodwill in honor of Pope John Paul II’s visit.

IS IT TRUE that the United States pays Cuba approximately $4,085 (£2,875) a year to lease the 45 square miles that holds the controversial Guantánamo Bay Naval Station. Cuba has reportedly only cashed a check once, and by mistake, according to an essay written by Fidel Castro.

IS IT TRUE in CUBA blowing your nose in public in Cuba is considered extremely rude?

IS IT TRUE Cuba is often called El Caiman or El Cocodrilo (Spanish for alligator), because that’s what the island resembles from an aerial view?

IS IT TRUE Bacardi, the spirit maker of rum, Dewar’s Scotch and Grey Vodka, was actually founded in Cuba. However, the brand moved its operations to Puerto Rico after Fidel Castro came to power.

IS IT TRUE in Cuba sex change operations have been permitted since 2008.?  ….they’re also covered under the National Health Care System for qualifying citizens?

IS IT TRUE in 2015 the half-century ban on purchasing Cuban cigars as lifted,?  …it was revealed that then US President John F. Kennedy bought 1,200 Cuban cigars for himself hours before he ordered the US trade embargo?
IS IT TRUE that Cuba is one of two countries where the sale of Coca-Cola is prohibited?  … when the Castro government began seizing private companies in the 60s Coke made a swift exit, with not a drop being served in the country since?

IS IT TRUE some say former president Fidel Castro grew his signature beard because the US stopped exporting razors, other reports say he did it as a time-saving measure, boasting that he saved himself 10 working days per year by not shaving his beard?

IS IT TRUE that two of Cuba biggest passions are baseball and ballet. The latter is funded by the government, which pays for ballet training and subsidizes tickets to performances.

IS IT TRUE on New Year’s Eve, it’s tradition for Cubans to burn dolls in order to symbolize forgetting bad times and looking forward to new and good times during the New Year?

IS IT TRUE It’s said that when Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he immediately ordered all sets of the game Monopoly to be destroyed?

IS IT TRUE one of Cuba’s most distinctive anachronisms has always been streets full of classic cars like Chevrolets, Buicks and Fords.  …the reason why is because up until 2014 it was forbidden to purchase cars manufactured abroad?

IS IT TRUE in Cuba you can forget buses because lots of Cubans engage in the Nationalized Hitchhiking system which came about in the 1990s?  … at the time buses were scarce and it was illegal to buy cars with the only automobiles running with regularity being state-owned cars and trucks?  …the government made it mandatory for government vehicles to pick up hitchhikers?

FOOTNOTES: Our next “IS IT TRUE” will be posted on this coming Wednesday?

Please take time and read our newest feature article entitled “HOT JOBS”posted in this section are from Evansville proper.

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Todays “Readers Poll” question is:  If the election was held today for the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional seat who would you vote for?Copyright 2015 City County Observer.

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  1. It’s refreshing to see a lot of the right wing lies unraveled. If you still think American for profit Healthcare is the best system, you’re totally hopeless and not even worth my breath.

  2. Really? Which Cuban health care system are you talking about?

    The foreigners-only facilities do a big business in what you might call vanity treatments: Botox, liposuction, and breast implants. Remember, too, that there are many separate, or segregated, facilities on Cuba. People speak of “tourism apartheid.” For example, there are separate hotels, separate beaches, separate restaurants — separate everything. As you can well imagine, this causes widespread resentment in the general population.

    The second health-care system is for Cuban elites — the Party, the military, official artists and writers, and so on. In the Soviet Union, these people were called the “nomenklatura.” And their system, like the one for medical tourists, is top-notch.

    Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.

    A nurse spoke to Isabel Vincent of Canada’s National Post. “We have nothing,” said the nurse. “I haven’t seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.”

    The equipment that doctors have to work with is either antiquated or nonexistent. Doctors have been known to reuse latex gloves — there is no choice. When they travel to the island, on errands of mercy, American doctors make sure to take as much equipment and as many supplies as they can carry. One told the Associated Press, “The [Cuban] doctors are pretty well trained, but they have nothing to work with. It’s like operating with knives and spoons.”

    And doctors are not necessarily privileged citizens in Cuba. A doctor in exile told the Miami Herald that, in 2003, he earned what most doctors did: 575 pesos a month, or about 25 dollars. He had to sell pork out of his home to get by. And the chief of medical services for the whole of the Cuban military had to rent out his car as a taxi on weekends. “Everyone tries to survive,” he explained. (Of course, you can call a Cuban with a car privileged, whatever he does with it.)

    So deplorable is the state of health care in Cuba that old-fashioned diseases are back with a vengeance. These include tuberculosis, leprosy, and typhoid fever. And dengue, another fever, is a particular menace. Indeed, an exiled doctor named Dessy Mendoza Rivero — a former political prisoner and a spectacularly brave man — wrote a book called ¡Dengue! La Epidemia Secreta de Fidel Castro.”

    Of course the pro abortion Democrats will approve of how Cuba achieves lower infant mortality.

    “When Castro seized power, almost 50 years ago, Cuba was one of the most advanced countries in Latin America. Its infant-mortality rate was the 13th-lowest in all the world, ahead of even France, Belgium, and West Germany. Statistics in Castro’s Cuba are hard to come by, because honest statistics in any totalitarian society are hard to come by. Some kind of accounting is possible, however: Cuba has slipped in infant mortality, as it has in every other area (except repression). But its infant-mortality rate remains respectable.

    You might suspect a story behind this respectability — and you are right. The regime is very keen on keeping infant mortality down, knowing that the world looks to this statistic as an indicator of the general health of a country. Cuban doctors are instructed to pay particular attention to prenatal and infant care. A woman’s pregnancy is closely monitored. (The regime manages to make the necessary equipment available.) And if there is any sign of abnormality, any reason for concern — the pregnancy is “interrupted.” That is the going euphemism for abortion. The abortion rate in Cuba is sky-high, perversely keeping the infant-mortality rate down.”

  3. Cuba’s per capita income is about $7,000. That is up from $3700 in 2005. Maybe since the government now allows Cubans to own the food the grow they are fairing better.

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  4. Here is an observation on the low,cost of healthcare per person year in Cuba vs. the USA. That $20 per month salary in Cuba requires a Cuban to work 21.5 months to pay for one years healthcare. In the USA our per capita income of $28,011 covers the annual healthcare costs in 4 months.

    It is all relative people but if you would like to go to Cuba for medical care I expect they will be open for business soon so head on down. If Cuba would allow those doctors to leave there would be no doctors in Cuba.

    The difference in a free country and a dictatorship is in their immigration policy. Free countries have laws to keep people out. Dictatorships have laws to keep people in. I think it is ironic that a Fidel Castro hat sells for more here than a Cuban worker makes in a month.

  5. And just for the record, I have no problem with Obama attending a baseball game after the Belgian bombing’s and think opening up top Cuba could be a good thing. We need to deploy our most affect diplomatic tool against Cuban socialism…Wal*Mart

    • That’s heartless. Beyond the pale. Blue-vested Associate Ernesto couldn’t feed the kids, he’d have to have public assistance…oh wait…nevermind.

      A quicker and more effective result could be obtained by re-Secretaryizing The Beast and turning her loose on our southern neighbor. Could cause Fidel and Raúl to take one last big greedy hit from their blunt and expire.

      • Push us and I will call for sortie from our local McDonalds on the Cuban economy. Think about that while toking your Cuban.

  6. I’m just looking forward to visiting Cuba. I’m waiting for more merchants to be able to process credit cards, so I have about a year to wait. As a kid, I heard my parents and aunts and uncles talk about how much they loved it there, but the revolution came along before I was old enough to go.

    • I’d suggest that you and all of the other CCO readers check out the ordinances that are proposed for tonight’s City Council meeting. Those are pretty monstrous, but there us no question about whether it is true that Eight Vote Mosby is wanting to pull the curtain on transparency once again.

  7. I heard from a dependable source that John Zody. the Indiana Democrat Chair, had a meeting with local Demos about how to restore party unity in Vanderburgh County last week. Tony Long was there, with most Democratic office holders, party officials, and appointees in attendance. Absent were Weaver and Mosby, and no union leaders showed up. Rumor has it that after about two hours of a typical pep talk, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Connie Robinson stood up and shared a piece of her mind for all to hear, concerning the trouble with a lack of leadership within the party and the treatment of minorities. With that, she walked out and slammed the door behind her. Sounds like the pep talk is two years too late, and should have been aimed at Mosby and Weaver.

  8. Cuba – The Ultimate Frog Follies.

    John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama need to take a back seat to Mr. Death, the Ultimate regime changer.

    As far as health care, I could care less about what Cuba has because our costs and evidently the way our system is set up is our greatest financial liability and our greatest threat to our financial security now, and certainly in the future.

    Since I’ve switched back to the Republican Party this election, I say carpet bomb all obese Americans, anyone with diabetes or Hepatitis C should be transferred to concentration camps in Occupied Manchuria and Born Again Evangelical Christians who can’t wait to meet their maker but change their mind at the last minute, should be aborted before they have the audacity to ____ up our system.

    Other than that, I’m cool….


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