Starving in Paradise
Cubans struggle to survive on an average wage of less than ｣10 a month to supplement the state rations which provide them with basics such as rice and beans and either one small bar of soap or tube of toothpaste a month.
Visiting foreigners can spend almost double that on a taxi ride to the airport or a meal in one of Old Havana's state-run restaurants.
"It sticks in the throat," says Oscar Espinosa, an independent economist and dissident who was jailed in 2003 for criticising the regime's economic strategy and is now confined to his home on conditional release.
"Such obvious inequality in a country where for decades the people have laboured in the mistaken belief that they are creating a classless society. The truth is we have created a paradise for tourists and those that live off them, but for the rest of us, daily life gets worse," he said.....
Published: 06 November 2006
He also paid tribute to the health services and education provided by the Cuban President, Fidel Castro.
Mr Livingstone was speaking at the weekend during a visit to Cuba on the first leg of a Latin American tour. He called Mr Castro's Communist revolution "one of the high points of the 20th century" and praised Mr Castro while on a trip to see a cricket match on the island.