Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adam Lewis
Reporting from Havana

Cuba Libre!

Cuba’s economic system is more complex than any place I have ever traveled to, let alone researched in school. The strange mixture of capitalism and socialism would make even the most liberal politician in the United States shudder. Not only is it totally ineffective – most Cubans live on roughly $20 a month – it lacks any sort of consistency.

It also creates an environment in which Cuban hustlers harass any sort of tourist who walks near them. By the third day of the trip I was already tired of hearing my own voice reject everyone I spoke to, whether they offered a cab ride, a cigar case or illegal drugs. Thank Jesus – that’s with a soft j – “No” in Spanish translates to “No” English.

After drinking a few “Cuba Libres” – the Communist version of a rum and coke -- one night in the hotel lobby, I joined our pack of WSU students for dinner. While en route to a local Italian restaurant a man approached me and offered to sell me whatever it was he was selling.

“No gracias,” I said, my voice sounding more agitated than I probably intended.

His response can’t be printed. Let’s just say it would make the late comedian George Carlin blush.

Nothing like a little hospitality to start my night off right.

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