Speaker: Ian Lange

Cuba 2003 and Now

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, 7:30 pm

Admission: By Donation

Suggested Donation: Adult $15, Youth NA

Cuba a Land of Beauty, Diversity and Contrasts

Cuba, beautiful and diverse, has changed little, except for the better, since my wife and I visited it in 2003. Perhaps strange, but Cuba is similar in some respects to another totalitarian country, Iran,which I visited in 2015. Folks in both countries: (1) are friendly, like Americans and want the two countries to grow closer, (2) would like to see governmental differences settled (and are truly not worried about "face saving"), (3) yearn for what western societies offer (freedom of choice, internet access, cell phones, good-paying jobs, etc.), and finally,(4) desire change (young people more so) and want their country to "move on".

Cuba, a colony of Spain until the Spanish American War in 1898, was granted independence from the U.S. is 1902. It has about 12 million citizens. Under the Castro regimes, this Spanish-speaking country has become more tolerant of people of color, by allowing interracial marriage. It also has a literacy rate of 99.7%, one of the highest in the world. However, salaries are still capped; for example, doctors can make much more money working in foreign-owned hotels or driving taxis than practicing medicine at $67/month.

While the Cuban minimum wage is five cents per hour or about $30/month, citizens receive some free food, and have subsidized alcohol, gasoline, and utility expenses. Education and all medical costs are free, there are no property, goods, or service taxes, and most Cubans own their own homes. Finally, a growing number of Cubans own small businesses like B and B's and home restaurants. And if you like old Spanish colonial architecture and pre-1960 classic American cars, Cuba is a "must visit" country.

About the Speaker

Ian Lange, a graduate of Dartmouth College, with a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in geology and stable isotope geochemistry, taught for over 30 years at the University of Montana while also working for the Alaska Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey.
In addition, he has consulted for mineral exploration companies in the U.S., Canada and Peru. Ian has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and written two books: "Ice Age Mammals of North America, a guide to the Big, the Hairy and the Bizarre." His newest book, recently published, is entitled: "Volcanoes, What's Hot and What's Not on Earth and in our Solar System."

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Lopez Center