I have read through the forum and through many books and I have 8 remaining questions. If possible, I'd appreciate a direct-as-possible response. I know these are complicated questions, but I'd love to understand Cuba better and your help will be appreciated:
1. Regarding private taxis, if what is enabling them to be granted licenses to practice privately is the fact that they own private vehicles (unlike the vast majority of the population), then is it logical to assume that these drivers probably acquired the vehicles illegally? If so, then it would seem like although the government knows this, it still grants private licenses for taxis? Perhaps money is talking in this case! Probably.
2. Both before and after the Special Period, were/are Cubans of the same/similar profession making basically the same wages in different provinces or did/do wages vary province to province? If they vary according to province, then what stopped/stops everyone from simply migrating to the country’s ‘highest-paying’ province?
3. How is it determined how many people live in any given home in Cuba? Also, what if someone wants to relocate from, let’s say, Santiago to, let’s say, Havana? Is such freedom of movement allowed and if so, then who determines where this person will live and with whom he or she will live (let’s say he or she is single and relocating alone)?
4. Regarding religion in Cuba , since support for the Catholic Church dwindled following the Revolution, what use was made of all those churches on the island that were not being attended by churchgoers? I know Castro cannot be likened to Stalin, but has he-generally or ever-closed down church institutions and converted the buildings into functional shops of some sort (like Russia did)? To what extent was the Catholic Church restricted following the Revolution? How would you say the church was affected by the Revolution, its aftermath, the ‘Special Period’ and its aftermath?
5. Before the Special Period, who were the Cubans that afforded jewelry and other forms of ‘prestige’? After all, I am imagining that before the Special Period, things were not so lawless and hence, wages among the population did not vary so much like today. If true, then I imagine that before the 1990s there didn’t exist many places (restaurants, clubs, etc.) of a ‘higher caliber’. Am I understanding this correctly?
6. Do you have the phone numbers, addresses and even websites of any private apartment casa particular in Havana Vieja?
7. Was/is private ownership allowed in Cuba before and/or after the Special Period? I am talking about owning a mechanic shop, restaurant, retail store, etc. How do things work with profits? Do all gross amounts go to the government and then the government gives everyone a flat salary or do the store 'owners' or workers somehow divide the profits?
8. For those unemployed in Cuba and/or choose not to work, does the government still supply them with any money whatsoever?
8 Random Questions Regarding Cuba
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