Archive for February, 2015

Dr. Che

February 6th, 2015


It is no coincidence that the current thawing of relations with Cuba came exactly when I was on a visit to that so interesting country.

Buena Vista, both in music and in sights. Such warm people, despite the strange atmosphere in which they live.

There appear to be 3 levels of society: those who are connected to the tourist industry, who understand the value of money, of marketing, of smiling just at the right time.

Then there are those who have family in Florida, and who receive valuable dollars monthly, enabling them to live a relatively high standard.

And then there are the masses who somehow survive, get on with their lives, despite their dollar-a-day existence.

They don’t know better. They eat, they do some work, get paid by the state, they are looked after by the state, with minimum education and relatively high standard of medical care. (There is even an export industry of medical manpower.

I mentioned the Dollar, but in fact, until now, the American currency has been only reluctantly used, with far more reference to the Euro, plus, of course,  the Peso and what is called the ‘kook’, which is the convertible Peso,. whatever that means. It’s very confusing, especially when shopping ‘in the street’, where our ‘cent’ is worth almost a ‘Euro’ to them.

You may know that Che Guevara is buried there, in Santa Clara. He was executed after being captured while helping rebels in Bolivia. This Argentinian, so popular in so many countries, became the adopted son of Cuba. His images are everywhere, usually together with his friend and mentor, Fidel Castro.

His mausoleum is magnificent. This is the main statue outside.

Inside, one can see and experience the man himself. It is a sombre place, demanding much quiet and respect.
Then, in one corner, images of his work on the battlefield as a doctor and, yes, as a dentist! Who would have imagined…
These are some of the instruments – and an inhaler – used by Dr. Che, the dentist. There’s a picture of him working – and he who holding the poor patient’s head looks remarkably like Fidel himself, although there is no confirmation of that.

So now you know. Being a dentist