It would be naive to assume it's an earthly paradise, definitely. But, I've also talked to some friends involved in organic farming and the use of widespread pesticides, herbicides, GMO's and other "improvements" are not nearly as widespread there, if they exist at all.
A large part of that is likely due to the embargo and relative poverty...although that depends if you define poverty as the poisoning of your environment. Not every place is as pristine as a tourist beach in Varadero, but I will suggest most places are a heck of a lot closer to that than not!
I think one of the key things I noticed about Cuba was the absence of advertising. What a blessing...no manufactured demand, no gaudy screaming billboards jarring your peace of mind, or any of the social ills that come from ramming consumerism down peoples' throats forcibly. There's happiness that comes from material security, and then there's happiness that comes from sources other than that...Cubans have much more of the latter than we do.
The Cuban government/ Partido Comunista de Cuba has something called DOR (Department of Revolutionary Orientation). This department is the one dealing with all the propaganda associated with the revolution so they use pretty much 99.9% of the billboards and walls. There's a lot of propaganda, just not McDonald or Nike, but communist propaganda and even in your nose, if not familiar with it, you don't see it.
BTW, the worst amount of billboards I seen in the USA is driving I-75 in south Georgia. Absolutely disgusting.
The best beaches in Cuba, IMHO, are off-limit to the typical tourist. The north coast has almost two thousand keys and most can only be reached by boat. Some have continuous beaches longer than 40km (Varadero have only 20km and many parts with rocks). Not sign of humans, totally untouched and beautiful.
I could say I miss the "Cuban Happiness" but most of my friends from college also left the country. I used to count who made it out. Now we talk if anyone still there.
That's quite a selfish view.
Originally Posted by Vaughn
Quite, but most "economical" for any particular country who practices that policy in the long run. China is catching on to this strategy, building steel mills in Brazil and having Brazilian ore refined and shipped directly to China, thus avoiding the social and environmental costs of mining and refining (and tossing that onto a willing Brazil) and slowing down the need for mining their own resources.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
The worst thing a country can do economically is to extract ones own resources and sell them to another country...basically selling for a dollar which one will eventually have to buy for 10 dollars down the road. Canada seems to be falling for this trap by selling oil (and shale oil) and natural gas to the US.
It may be selfish, but if most countries would make buying rare resources from other countries a policy and saving their own, there would less mining/resources available, a rise in resource prices, less environmental damage, and perhaps less of the endless growth (which few organisms do naturally except cancer cells) that is killing the world. Not that I see it happening...too much money to be made! A pipe dream, really.
The economic system devised at the start of the industrial age and a time of rapid growth sadly is very poor at self-regulating for long-term survival.