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Letter: Crumbling Cuba

Sir: Terence Blacker ("I have become a sentimental Communist", 7 December) may have enjoyed visiting the other reality that he found in Cuba, but it is a reality of his own wishing.

The poignancy of the country, which he may have missed, is that a system which held out economic advancement as the only good is a colossal wreck, failing absolutely to deliver the simple objectives of its founders or its people.

Cubans live in fear of their government and their government in fear of them. As a result they are not free to travel even quite short distances within their own country and resort to pathetic, suicidal attempts to escape. Their system cannot provide adequate transport, food or clothing. The countryside is littered with ruined industrial projects and abandoned works. The government blames all of this on the Yanquis; however the people understand well the scale of the failure.

It is tempting for us to be nostalgic for simple poverty, particularly on holiday. The sight of a crowd of children fighting each other to get hold of a ballpoint pen reminds us to have better sense.