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Books for Cuba 
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 Books for Cuba
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George Orwell on Trump and Putin, in 1945: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Steven King
Tweet 7/19/18 2:19 pm

That final line from Animal Farm is extremely powerful. My wife and I are going to Cuba in a few weeks, mainly to help some of her relatives who are still struggling after Hurrican Irma last year. That tweet gave me the idea "Wouldn't it be awesome to bring a Spanish copy of Animal Farm to Cuba?" Another book I'd like to bring is Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution by T.J. English however I can't find that in Spanish.

Do you have any other suggestions for books to take to Cuba? We are bringing a huge amount of material, from bicycles to vitamins and everything in between, so there is not much room left for books, but I'll try to sneak a few...



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Chris OConnor, Harry Marks
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:10 pm
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
LanDroid wrote:
Do you have any other suggestions for books to take to Cuba? We are bringing a huge amount of material, from bicycles to vitamins and everything in between, so there is not much room left for books, but I'll try to sneak a few...


No suggestions for books, but on a trip to Cuba a couple of years ago I spoke to a few musicians who expressed a great concern with acquiring parts to keep their guitars and other instruments in good playable condition. Guitar strings, metal and nylon, were mentioned as one example.



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Harry Marks
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
You're probably already in Cuba or have returned. But I'm happy for you and think this Cuba trip is commendable and exciting. I've wanted to visit Cuba but from what I have heard you have to be on some sort of educational or humanitarian mission to be allowed into the country.



Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:09 am
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 Re: Books for Cuba
Yes travel to Cuba is restricted to about 12 reasons including the 2 you mention. We're going end of this month because my wife has relatives down there. Her family was visiting Cuba in January of 1959 and claims to have been on the last boat out before Castro closed it down.

LevV mentioned a shortage of guitar strings and parts for instruments. I'm sure that's true because in fact there's a shortage of nearly EVERYTHING. We are even bringing powdered milk, evidently they don't have a dairy industry? They have running water, but it is turned on only certain times during the week, so they have to fill up buckets for cooking and showers. It's almost 3rd world. Visiting such places can change your perspective and priorities.



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Chris OConnor
Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:55 am
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
LanDroid wrote:
They have running water, but it is turned on only certain times during the week, so they have to fill up buckets for cooking and showers. It's almost 3rd world. Visiting such places can change your perspective and priorities.
I sort of had to laugh. Having lived for 3 years in Africa, I am kind of wondering where your ideas of the Third World come from. I assure you such problems getting water are completely Third World.

I was in a fairly prosperous country, at least by African standards, but there are still many villages with no internet service and limits on affordability of things like refrigeration that we take for granted. They have mostly solved the problems of having enough electricity to meet demand, but to do that they had to raise prices of electricity by a lot. Now even middle class people feel like they have to be very careful not to waste power, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Infrastructure can still be a real constraint in the rural areas. Like, a hefty share of secondary schools have no bathrooms. Go out in the trees or don't go at all. It does put your life in a better perspective, in my opinion.



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Chris OConnor
Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:31 am
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
Travel in general is educational and teaches perspective and empathy. Once you realize that people are pretty similar no matter where you go in the world you become less inclined to want to go to war over petty political issues.

It sickens me when I hear a certain demographic say things about how the US should turn the middle east into glass by using nuclear weapons to just wipe out the whole region. If you don't hear this sort of talk then congrats for avoiding the sort of people I'm referring to.

My next door neighbors and good friends are from Lebanon originally, and all over the middle east at different times in their lives, and they continuously share their stories and food and culture with me and my family. I'd like to think we're more worldly and better people for it. They want us to one day visit Lebanon with them and we're considering it.

I'm veering off course here but to me it ties in with the Cuba trip. Any time we can immerse ourselves in other cultures it is a good thing. So I am excited for you and your family, LanDroid. I hope you bring back some great stories.



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Harry Marks
Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
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I sort of had to laugh. Having lived for 3 years in Africa, I am kind of wondering where your ideas of the Third World come from. I assure you such problems getting water are completely Third World.

Well I'm not quite sure where one draws that line. In Cuba they get "free housing" - it's may be falling apart, but they have a roof. They get "free education" - you want to be a doctor, go do it (and be proud of the 30 year old car you're able to afford). You get "free food", but actually it's about 10 days worth of rice and beans. Those who work do so for up to 60 - 70 hours per week for something like $75. USD per month.

So compare that to places where there is no running water - bring your buckets to the village well - no free housing, education, or food and no work. Are both situations 3rd world? OK fine, I'm not an economist. :)

I hope to learn a lot more about how the Cuban economy works this time. As Chris said, this does change your perspective. For example, I luv my 11 year old Camry with two damaged bumpers. :-D



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Chris OConnor, Harry Marks
Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:11 pm
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
You won't go wrong with Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am a Cuban-American and I've been traveling to the island for years. They love those writers there...the writings/poetry of Jose Martin, of course, is a no brainer. Good luck.



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Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Books for Cuba
Update since we just got back yesterday. We took so much stuff - everything from two bicycles, school suppliers, and powdered milk - we had no extra weight to carry books. Sorry 'bout the drama on books we did not take, but I'll try again next time. I really wanted to take a copy of Animal Farm, but now I'm worried books like that could get people into serious trouble, not worth it...



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Harry Marks
Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:32 pm
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