January 1st was the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.
I turn fifty this March, so it puts my whole life in perspective to think that I have lived in parallel time to this epochal event.
Whatever one thinks of the government there, it is hard to imagine a more woeful, misguided, immoral and ineffectual policy than the embargo this country has maintained against this small island and all of its citizens for most of my life.
Under Bush the screws were tightened so much that even though the majority of Elsa's family still lives on the island, including her father and brother and sister, we are only legally allowed to go visit them once every three years, and not for more than two weeks, with absolutely no exception for medical or any other emergencies. If her father was dying in the hospital and we had been there in the last three year period, too damn bad is what our laws now say. We like to lecture the world about human rights, but does any just person think that that is a humane policy?
Elsa and I have great hope that one of the early acts of our own new administration will be to end this madness and restore trade and travel with our neighbor.
Stamp collecting has gone out of fashion for most kids, but at one time it was a great hobby, bringing the art and imagery and people of the countries of the world into our homes and meticulously arranging them in an album.
There was also a very evocative novel out last year called Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner which weaves a fictional account of the perspective of an American child growing up in a family that is working for the sugar cane and mining interests that dominated Cuba before the revolution, that reads like a memoir.