Have you been to Cuba?

Download audio file (cuba1.mp3)

First English Bloke: Have you been to Cuba?
Australian Guy: No, I would like to go. I really like Castro.
First English Bloke: It is an incredible country. It is just aah.. Everything is run by… because tourism is a such a massive part of Cuba now.. you know.. and it has become kind of like a cheap Caribbean Island to get to… as I say … all the resorts are owned by Castro.
Australian Guy: Right.
First English Bloke: And they are all very contained so you don’t really get to see a lot of Cubans as such..
Australian Guy: Mm.
Second English Bloke: Well that is purposeful isn’t it? The way they have actually tried to segment “decadent western tourists” away from “honest Cubans”…
First English Bloke: It is. It is. I mean it is amazing. I found the attitude towards Castro amazing. The attitude towards Castro is amazing. How they aar…
Australian Guy: They love him.
First English Bloke: Yeah.
Englishwoman: Yeah.
First English Bloke: They talk about him like their own grandfather;
Australian Bloke: Yeah Yeah Yeah.
First English Bloke: They literally talk about him like he is a family member and they won’t have a bad word said against him.
Australian Guy: Is it true that everyone uses their first name? … Like when a six year old child talks to Castro he calls him “comrade Fidel”. He doesn’t…
First English Bloke: Fidel. Fidel.
Australian Bloke: He does not call him “Mr Castro” or “Senor Castro”.
First: English Bloke: No, I would say they talk about him…They talk about him as “Fidel”. Yeah. If they were talking to you they would talk about him like that.
Australian Bloke: Cuba has the highest literacy in the Americas?
English Woman: Yeah… Female illiteracy…
First English Bloke: It has the lowest female illiteracy rate anywhere in the world apparently. Including like any western country.
Second English Bloke: And it also has got one of the highest …highest kind of longevity rates as well.
Australian Guy: Medical as well. Medical systems. Best in the world
Englishwoman: Compared to its neighbours too. Mexico and places like that…
First English Bloke: They have so much which is really good and so much that …communism; it makes you think it is actually almost working in Cuba.
Second English Bloke: Well it never ..it did in a way… did it?
First English Bloke: …but there is so much which isn’t working as well because there is so much poverty.
Second English Bloke: As soon as Russia collapsed I mean they were buying all the sugar. They were buying all kinds of exports and the rest… At beautiful rates.
Australian Guy: Mm.
Second English Bloke: And as soon as Russia collapsed they were plunged into poverty.
First English Guy: When Russia collapsed …Everything was imported because they were the last communist country so they had chickens and stuff from Bulgaria. Everything.
Second English Bloke: Yeah.
First English Bloke: Everything was imported. Once communism collapsed and they carried on, they had nothing. No-one was giving them food. They lived on bananas for a year. Pretty bad. Bananas were all they could get.
English Woman: (?)
First English Bloke: And it was terrible. America gave them free passes and that’s when thousands died trying to get over to Miami on like home-made rafts and stuff
Second English Guy: Yeah.
First English Bloke: But it was awful. America said we open our gates but you get your own way here.
Australian Bloke: Yeah. Yeah. But I mean… Look at things like… Israel. When Israel was a new country, there were a lot of like Russian Jews, like Russian intellectuals who moved down to Israel and they started the kibbutzim…..
First English Bloke: Yeah.
Australian Bloke: A kibbutz was basically a kolkhoz, like a collective..
First English Bloke: Yeah.
Australian Bloke: You know? The same as the Soviet thing; that was a really good thing and it worked for thirty or forty years when they were building a nation…
First English Bloke: Mmm.
Australian Bloke: And now that Israel is a rich country and everyone is selfish and wants to do their own thing and go the disco and all that; now they don’t work any more.
Second English Bloke: The kibbutzim still exist though, don’t they?
Australian Bloke: They have stopped. I think the last one… They are nearly all gone now.
Second English Chap: Really? I didn’t know that.
First English Bloke
: The reason why it has worked so well in Cuba is because of Castro though.
Second English Bloke: Well Castro’s brother now has taken over…
First English Bloke: There is a real feeling is that if the country gets richer, we get richer.
Australian Bloke: Mm.
First English Bloke: And Castro still at his age now will stand in a square for four hours and give like four hour speeches to people. They have huge water trucks to keep everybody hydrated and once they finish the speech they all turn into free rum trucks and everybody has free rum. (laughter) And they love him.

Vocabulary is the Key