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The Republic of Cuba is an island state in the Caribbean. Throughout its history, Cuba has fought for its freedom and independence, first from the Spaniards, and later from the Americans. In 1959, power on the island was seized by the rebels led by Fidel Castro, who is still the head of the republic. From the 60s to the 90s, socialist Cuba was an ally of the USSR, a conductor of its policy in the region. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba received a huge economic blow, but now the situation has stabilized relatively. Despite all the difficulties, being in close proximity to the main ideological enemy - the United States, Cuba retained its system. Today, many of our compatriots are interested in the island, for some it is a reason to remember their youth, and for some it is just an exotic vacation spot. During the time when the practical relations between our countries were brought to naught, many myths have arisen about Cuba, which we will consider.
Residents of Cuba receive non-convertible pesos, they cannot purchase convertible currency. In the Kadeque network of exchange offices, any Cuban can easily exchange his pesos for convertible ones with an approximate rate of 27: 1, and also return convertible units, but for 26 pesos. So there are no problems with the exchange. Moreover, many Cubans generally receive their salaries in convertible pesos. We are talking about those who work with foreigners, rents them apartments, as well as informal settlements of people with each other. And recently, the state practice of paying premiums in convertible currency has appeared.
Cuba has a rationing system, the cards are marked with a monthly limited number of products. In Cuba, indeed, there has been a rationing system since 1962, but it concerns only the basic set of products. Also on the island there is a state trading system at free prices. According to the cards, the population receives only about half of the necessary food, but children under 6 years old are allowed a liter of milk every day. And the existence of the "black market" has not been canceled.
The card system is similar to the Soviet one in the 70s with the Beryozka currency stores. In the USSR, "Birch" checks could not be officially sold or bought, but convertible pesos can. It should be said that no one will ask a Cuban where the convertible currency came from. So in Cuba, the currency is much more liberal.
In Cuba, only foreigners can start their own private business. Small business is legally allowed in Cuba, no one bothers to rent an apartment, work as a taxi driver, open a small cafe or make and sell souvenirs. The state fixes many obstacles in this, but everything is surmountable. But Cubans will no longer be allowed to expand their business, since the state, although formally does not prohibit this, will actually limit this opportunity. By the way, there is still an article in the Constitution according to which the country can expropriate private property. True, the state reassures foreigners by guaranteeing them compensation for possible losses in convertible currency.
Cubans cannot get a passport and go to work in another state. This is possible only with the help of a government contract, which will take away almost all earnings. This measure is applicable to those whose training cost the country dearly - this applies to engineers, doctors, etc. But any other people, including pensioners, receive passports and if they have money and a visa, they may well go to any country. As for the government contract, Cubans abroad usually receive a salary of $ 150-300, while their salary is kept at home, and the flight is paid for by the country. Can this be considered a robbery? Indeed, in prosperous Canada taxes eat up 50% of earnings, and in Sweden - generally 80%.
In Cuba, locals cannot live in hotels. When on the island, do not be surprised if you meet Cuban guests at the hotel. Despite the fact that there is such a myth, Cuban enterprises send their employees to hotels for recreation, newlyweds can settle there, etc.
An ordinary citizen cannot buy a car, even having the necessary funds for this. There are private cars in the country, which means that someone is buying them. All those who legally earn sufficient funds - artists, painters, seamen of merchant ships, sportsmen, successful cultural figures, can purchase a car upon presentation of a declaration of income. But people who cannot explain the origin of their capital are deprived of such an opportunity. But even in democracies, the purchase by an official of a house worth 10 of his annual income, without papers proving the origin of capital, will quickly arouse the interest of state bodies.
In Cuba, everyone smokes cigars all the time, both men and women. More than ten years have passed since Fidel Castro decided to restrict tobacco consumption in order to improve the health of the nation. Although cigars have remained a lucrative export item. Due to specific soils and age-old traditions of making cigars, they have a unique taste, appreciated by tobacco gourmets. But the Cubans themselves smoke a little, this action is more ostentatious, thereby supporting the myth. And the cost of a hand-made cigar is at least two euros. It is worth noting that there are three categories of cigars in Cuba - those that are produced by the states and sold in stores at an expensive price, that are produced there, but were either stolen or given out as a salary, or those that look like real ones. Tourists mainly hunt for the second group, although it is easy to fall for a fake, which can only be distinguished by lighting a cigar.
In Cuba, Russian is the second state language; it is no coincidence that the country was once unofficially considered the 16th Soviet republic. It turns out that few people on the island understand Russian. Our language is close to those who once studied in the Soviet Union. Young people prefer English, as do the staff serving foreigners. There is an explanation for this - the main flow of tourists from England and Canada. Several hundred thousand people come from these countries every year, but from the countries of Eastern Europe - only a few thousand. Also in Cuba, Italian is spoken, as it is similar to Spanish and is easy to understand and learn.
Cuban girls are easily accessible, literally giving in for souvenirs. There are many myths about sex tourism on Liberty Island. There are eyewitness stories that Cubans are ready to give themselves literally for a chocolate bar or cheap perfume. Many therefore choose Cuba as their goal, hoping to get an unforgettable sex adventure. Local residents are indeed temperamental and sexy. Already in the early 90s, Fidel acknowledged the existence of women in the country who willingly engage in sex with newcomers. Such women are called hinters, they are students, housewives, young workers, sometimes even schoolgirls. Their goal is to get to know foreigners in order to spend the money they earned on the joys of life that were previously inaccessible to them - clothes, food. The standard price for a night with a mulatto is from 10 to 50 dollars, although a girl may well refuse money if she likes the man. The average salary is slightly less than $ 10, so the girls are looking for opportunities to earn extra money. In general, Cuban women should not be considered some kind of loose, for them such a way of life is a measure of survival. Only now there is a ban on open relationships between local residents and foreigners. So if a Cuban coyly refuses a close continuation of acquaintance, then, most likely, she simply wants to continue communication in a more secluded atmosphere. After all, a girl caught meeting a tourist faces up to a year of correctional labor. Therefore, girls often go on an evening hunt walk accompanied by a young man or parents, who will quickly disappear if a foreigner pays attention to her. It should be noted that it is easy to get acquainted with boys, young and not so. There is also a danger of being caught by transvestites. By the way, recently women's tourism has begun to gain popularity, it is not uncommon to meet an elderly European woman in Havana in the company of a slender mulatto. Even if his services cost 3-4 times more expensive than women’s services, this does not stop wealthy tourists.
Cuba is a socialist country, so the attributes of the social system are present everywhere. In fact, there are no red flags and banners in Cuba that were present in the USSR during a stagnant era. There are no calls to fulfill the five-year plan in 4 years, the heroes of socialist labor are not glorified. In some places there are images of Castro, you can see here and there heroic inscriptions like "Motherland or Death", which remind of revolutionary romance. It is worth saying that there is an image in Cuba in which both ideology and business have successfully combined - this is Ernesto Che Guevara. His image can be found everywhere - on badges, flags, mugs, T-shirts. Tourists are happy to buy souvenirs with this image, bringing a good income to the treasury. But getting a T-shirt with Fidel is unlikely to succeed, praising living leaders is not in fashion here.
Cuba is a poor country, where you can have a cheap vacation. First of all, it should be said that the flight to the island itself will be quite expensive. Poverty and squalor are felt, the shops are reminiscent of perestroika. But there is nothing shortage for foreign tourists. True, and the prices are quite European. Coffee costs 1-2 euros, a mojito cocktail - 2-3, lunch in Havana may well cost 10-15 euros, car rental - up to 60 euros per day. The way out is to thoroughly prepare for the trip, study the experience of predecessors, and readiness to contact with local residents. Then you can rent an apartment cheaply, provide yourself with inexpensive food and a means of transportation. In a semi-legal hotel, you can rent a room for $ 20, groceries can be purchased on the black market, and Cubans can offer trucks converted to transport people for transportation. Tourists often buy machetes for an inexpensive $ 14-16, and mahogany furniture is also popular - a rocking chair can be purchased for $ 40, and a kitchen for $ 200. Only now there is a question with transportation.
There is poor health care in Cuba. Almost 800 thousand doctors live on the island, and all medical care, from consultations to complex operations, is free. You can safely go to the polyclinic with any disease, it is well equipped, laboratories work in an eight-hour mode. Almost every district has its own doctor, so 95% of the population is under constant medical supervision. Doctors treat their patients with care; it is no coincidence that the average life expectancy on the island is 76 years. Cuban doctors have developed unique practices for resolving blood clots, preventing heart attacks, and performing laparoscopic surgery. In the country, 30 thousand cataract operations are performed annually, but in neighboring Venezuela, only about one and a half hundred.
There is poor education in Cuba. UNESCO, having awarded Cuba with its award, indicated that this country has the best education among the states of Latin America. Congresses of teachers are regularly held, at which they exchange experience. All education, from kindergartens to universities, is free. In the first grade, children become pioneers, professing principles similar to Soviet ones - to study well, to help adults.
The country is renowned for its culinary possibilities. Quite the opposite, like any island, Cuba is limited in food choices. The main diet is rice and beans. If you want to taste meat, you will most likely be offered chicken, and in extreme cases - pork. But there are fears that the "chicken" was in fact an iguana, and instead of pork, a village rat could be slipped. Of course, you will not stay hungry, but you should not expect a feast of taste. The approach to food is quite socialist - eat what they give. Of course, there is an opportunity to use clandestine restaurants, including those that send food to your home. In this version, there is an opportunity to really enjoy an unforgettable taste, but no one will give guarantees of quality. It is also worth paying attention to the quality of the water, drinking tap water, even in the hotel is strongly discouraged, so it's better to use bottled water
Cuba is a safe country. The state guarantees the absolute safety of tourists in places intended for their rest, near hotels, on beaches. It is worth fearing that close contact with a girl may end up in the loss of valuables, and it is still worth going for a walk around the city at night. Regarding natural factors, it is strongly recommended to use a cream with high protection from the sun, you should not be afraid of bites from harmful animals or insects. On wild beaches, the bottom can be dotted with corals and sea urchins.