• Short Summary

    Fidel Castro's Cuba, where I've just been for a return visit.

    I was last in Havana?

  • Description

    Fidel Castro's Cuba, where I've just been for a return visit.

    I was last in Havana seven years ago. One spot I remembered well. I was nearly shot there the last time. Now all is quiet, more orderly -- though shops are nearly empty of consumer goods -- even things like razor blades, lighter flints and other necessities. And Communism compromises -- many people go to Church and the regime doesn't interfere with them. They're well-dressed and orderly, and there are no great outward signs of much dissent with the regime.

    They go, too, in their thousands, to Doctor Castro's marathon speeches. This one was a modest three-and-a-half hours.

    His main target of this occasion was people he didn't like in Latin America -- especially in Venezuela and Chile. He wants a militant Communist line against them.

    "In the name of the Communist Party," he said. But he also criticised the Russians -- though he still needs their tankers.

    It's part of the Castro image to be very Cuban, close to the people. He didn't like feeling cut off at the baseball game -- which is still their national sport under a regime that hates Uncle Sam.

    The schoolboys are Communist. But their game is baseball, and their heroes are not necessarily politicians but baseball players -- Cuban, of course. Work, though, is the current preoccupation -- with stress changing from the industrial efforts of the early revolutionary years back to agriculture.

    Everybody is out cutting sugar-cane.

    Nothing's wasted. The green surplus goes to the cattle. And all the time the sugar mills -- often with old American machinery -- are working twenty-four hours a day to try to produce Cuba's biggest sugar output ever.

    Fear of invasion from without is kept before the people. They're reminded of the Bay of Pigs, where an anti-Castro assault was defeated in 1961, and Cuba keeps a very big army. Beside the Bay now is a memorial Marine Training School. There are also still the hundreds of alligators which were waiting behind the Bay if the invaders had got that far inland six years ago.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
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