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Castro’s Illness causing flutters internationally

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Editor: I quite liked Diane Abbott’s article on Fidel Castro that appeared in the Jamaica Observer on Sunday, August 6.

Fidel Castro has, indeed, done a lot more good for the Caribbean and has not looked back for anything – this is far more that we can say for the western world which has always looked for rewards in one way or another from the Caribbean, after dishing out a little kindness to us.{{more}}

When I lived in the Caribbean I was fortunate to have done short courses in Cuba made possible by a few NGOs and funding agencies. Cuba may not have all the modern amenities that we as a people look for as we embrace materialism, but the love and affection that foreigners receive in Cuba is par excellence. We were exposed to the cane field and other industries in Cuba, not as a punishment, but for us to appreciate and understand that the hard work of the people in the cane fields and other industries was what made it possible for us to study in Cuba.

I was in a British store on the weekend and on seeing jerseys with Che Gueverra printed on it I proceeded to ask the clerks serving if they knew of this person who on the jersey was. Hardly any one knew, I took it upon myself inside the store to inform anyone who was listening who Che Gueverra was. The younger persons were intrigued and the jerseys were selling like hot bread. I almost did not get any for myself and I wanted quite a few.

I must add here that I have had experience in the past while working with Caribbean regional and international NGOs of travelling to different countries in the Caribbean and North America, and I could not wear “revolutionary” jerseys into these airports without being harassed or having to change my jersey in the airport toilet. These countries were especially Barbados and Dominica. I remember travelling to Belize via Miami in the late 1980s with a “Maurice Bishop International Airport – A Must” sticker on my briefcase when I was ordered by the Immigration Officer in Miami to take it off or go back on the next flight. This is the level of ignorance of a people steeped in misguided political ideologies.

Thanks to the United Kingdom for giving us a chance to wear our clothes in peace. Hopefully George Bush will not ask Tony Blair to curtail our freedom in this regard.

Jacqui Riley

London.

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