Remember. This is the country that those on the left love and brag about.
The Associated Press reports:
HAVANA – In Cuba, Santa’s sleigh is a Boeing 737.
Thousands of Cuban-Americans are heading to Havana this holiday season carrying everything from electronics and medicine to clothing and toiletries to help relatives back home supplement monthly salaries averaging about $20.
Isn’t communism great? Monthly salaries, controlled by the government, is around $20 bucks. Isn’t being under a dictator great?
Not only are Cuban-Americans visiting the island in far greater numbers since President Barack Obama lifted travel restrictions last year, they are bringing more stuff. One carrier says the average bag weight per passenger is up 55 percent — and many Miami-Havana flights are shadowed by a separate cargo plane just to haul the load.
“They bring you things for the family,” said Paulo Roman Garcia, a 45-year-old Havana native who makes $9.50 a month selling fruit at a market in the city’s historic quarter.
Roman Garcia was looking forward to a visit in the New Year from his older brother, who lives in New Jersey and will be coming down with stocking-stuffers such as clothing and treats, as well as big-ticket items including a stereo.
“My son has asthma, and he’s bringing inhalers for his asthma,” Roman Garcia said. “Medicines are very important. Some don’t exist here, or they’re hard to find.”
This is the health care system the left claims is better than the US health care system. This is the same health care system the World Health Organization rates higher than the U.S. Their ‘better’ health care system doesn’t even has asthma medicine. This is socialized medicine and its the system those on the left want in America.
During the administration of former President George W. Bush, Cuban-Americans were allowed to visit only once every three years and were limited to $100 a month in remittances. Those restrictions ended in April 2009, although most non-Cuban Americans are still barred from traveling to the island.
Cuba watchers and charter flight operators say travel between the United States and Cuba skyrocketed after the change and continues to climb steadily.
“About 1,000 visitors are arriving a day from the U.S., and they expect somewhere close to 400,000 by the end of the year,” said Kirby Jones, president of Alamar Associates of Bethesda, Maryland, a consulting firm that works with American companies looking to do business with Cuba.
“The U.S. is now sending the second-most visitors to Cuba than any other country,” after Canada, Jones said.
The great majority are of Cuban heritage, and the rest are non-Cuban Americans traveling for officially sanctioned activities such as academic, cultural and sports exchanges. The figure does not include the small but growing number of Americans who sidestep the travel ban by flying in through Canada, Mexico or other countries, risking a stiff U.S. fine if they are caught.
No one is ever caught by this administration.
Traffic is even greater during the busy holiday season, when charters add additional flights that quickly fill up. Miami airport officials said 55 flights are scheduled to depart to four Cuban cities this weekend, among the heaviest travel days leading up to Christmas.
At Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, Cubans crowded up against a low metal fence last week, straining to watch for loved ones as they emerged from customs pushing carts piled high with shrink-wrapped luggage, kitchen appliances, televisions, stuffed animals and cardboard boxes bursting at the seams.
Arturo de Cordoba traveled from Miami with five suitcases crammed with cookies, sweets, rice and other goodies for his son and daughter, who picked him up at the airport.
“I come here to share with my children,” said Cordoba, a jeweler who has been living in the United States for 30 years.
Tom Cooper, the president and owner of Miami-based Gulfstream Air Charter, which flies a 146-seat 737 jetliner to Havana daily, said his company’s passenger load has doubled from about 23,000 in 2009 to approaching 50,000 this year.
Also on the rise are baggage numbers.
“We track every pound that goes on the airplane. Our average bag weight in the last year has gone from 85 to 132 pounds (from 40 to 60 kilograms) per person,” Cooper said. The first 44 pounds (20 kilos) are free, and there is a $1-a-pound surcharge after that, he said.
The load is so great that for about half of Gulfstream’s flights, the company charters a twin-turboprop cargo plane to carry the excess baggage, Cooper said.
The visits are something of a lifeline in Cuba, where, five decades after the Cuban Revolution, many basic goods that Americans take for granted are in short supply — from office supplies to clothing, makeup, aspirin, batteries and even cat food.
The Cuban government blames the 48-year U.S. embargo, which prohibits nearly all commercial trade with the island, with the exception of food and medicine. A historically stagnant Cuban economy hasn’t helped.
Who does the Cuban government blame for their shortage of food and medicine? Does having a communist dictator have anything to do with the suffering?