"If you are Jamaicans studying here, we have a responsibility to all of you. Therefore, I intend to arrange that no matter what was the source of your scholarship, once you are here as Jamaican students, you are to be included in the programme of financial support that we offer." -- Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, while on a state visit to Cuba, May 4, 2008
No independent media is more pro-Castro than Jamaica's. It might be possible to say that its local media are even more pro-Castro than Communist Cuba's official media. The Cuban media, which is read worldwide through the internet, is somewhat constrained in its mendacity by that fact; but no one is monitoring Jamaica's media, and, therefore, there is no lie too big for them to report about Cuba. Nearly 50 years of such deceptive reportage has achieved near-unanimous support for the Castro regime among Jamaicans. Yet, there is this little thing that gives me hope, however. Jamaicans no longer flock to Cuba, as they did before 1959, in search of jobs and opportunities closed to them at home. In that respect Cuba was to Jamaica then what the U.S. is to Mexican migrants today. No longer. It is Cuba that is poor now and Jamaica that is (relatively) wealthy, thanks, no doubt, to the imposition of Communism in Cuba, which did more to spur Jamaica's development than any other factor in its history.
Obviously, Jamaicans do have some inkling of the truth beneath the hard veneer of respect for the traditional regional hagemon. Ironically, the couriers of the truth about Cuba are the Jamaican students sent there to study on scholarship. They live very close to the Cuban people, that is, they are not immured like Europeans from the misery of their existance but eat (or don't eat) at the same table.
The regime hopes these becados will be good-will ambassadors and staunch supporters of Cuban-Jamaican solidarity in the future, that is, when the degrees they acquired in Cuba secure them lucrative employment at home as doctors, engineers and government officials, something, incidentally, which the same degrees won't do for their Cuban counterparts unless they, too, leave Cuba.
In the meantime, however, the Jamaican students must survive their stay in Cuba and they have grown tired, it seems, of doing in Cuba as the Cubans do. The becados have used the occasion of Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding's ongoing three-day visit to Cuba to petition their government for more financial assistance. Those on scholarship who were sent there under an agreement with the Jamaican government and Castro regime are already receiving assistance, but those sponsored by Jamaica's former ruling party under an agreement with Cuba's Communist Party were not. The prime minister has promised that all Jamaican students in Cuba will henceforth be entititled to participate in his country's programme of financial support (i.e. welfare). He has also pledged to raise the annual stipend above the current U.S. $1200 per annum, which he called "inadequate."
Consider that the average Cuban earns $180 per year and Jamaican welfare in comparison seems almost princely. The Jamaican Gleaner, in reporting this news, was careful not to elaborate on it. Perhaps it hopes that Jamaicans will think that their government is only now providing for its students what Cuba has always furnished to theirs. A great deal of propaganda about Communist Cuba involves not only reproducing the official lies but withholding any information that would expose the lies. In this case, however, the facts speak for themselves. To live as Cubans do has now been deemed "inadequate" by Jamaica's own prime minister. Castro offers Jamaican students everything that Cubans students get, including meals and lodging. Yet not only is this "inadequate" for Jamaicans but US$1200 on top of that is also deemed "inadequate!"
There are several hundred thousand Cubans that are descendents of Jamaicans who arrived in Cuba before 1959, many of these sons and daughters of Jamaicans (and hence holding dual nationality). Prime Minister Golding will be meeting with representatives of Cuban-Jamaicans today. I hope he offers them the same generous assistance that he has extended to Jamaican students in Cuba.
Also of interest:
Cuban Ambassador Puts On Fashion Show In Jamaica to Mark "Cuba Day" There (Updated)
Notable & Cretinous: Cubans Have Enemies in Their Backyard, Too