Leave this neighbour alone

One neighbour, a long time ago, had a rough time getting out of a long-term relationship. Things got violent.

One neighbour, a long time ago, had a rough time getting out of a long-term relationship.

Things got violent. A nearby neighbour stood by, basically just looking over the fence until almost the very end. Late in the struggle the watchful neighbour decided to help.

As the long beleaguered neighbour soon found out that assistance came with strings. It seems the over-the-back-fence neighbour had always coveted a corner of her back garden.

Fine, he could have it. He also wanted a key to the house just in case things got out of hand again even though her previous partner was in no shape to try to come back.

And by the way he wouldn’t be leaving for a while.

The neighbour stayed for a few years. When he finally left he told her that he would not allow her to have a really close relationship with anyone else and she would have to keep a balanced household budget.

Needless to say, he didn’t leave for long. Soon he was back, this time for three years.

He left again only to return three years later for a brief stay. He never seemed to be on his side of the fence for very long. Five years on, he was in her house again.

Eventually he had enough since he had taken on similar ‘obligations’ further down the street.

He trained a live-in surrogate to watch over things for him. This situation of having a yard and a house but never really being in control couldn’t go on forever especially when this relationship kept her poor as well.

Finally the long-abused neighbour threw her appointed guardian out. The across-the-fence neighbour didn’t like that at all and came storming back.

He tried to break in but she had learned a self-defence lesson or two and beat him off.

The belligerent neighbour then tried to cut build a high fence all around her yard and essentially starve her out. She found friends to help her get by.

Now, almost 50 years later, the neighbour is looking over the fence again.

As early as 1823, US Secretary of State John Quincy Adams wrote that Cuba couldn’t help but “gravitate only towards the North American Union” when it fell from Spain’s imperial tree.

La fruta madura or ripe-fruit theory led the USA to shake the tree during the 1898 Spanish American war.

The Platt Amendment, Roosevelt’s corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, and other empire building measures tried to tie Cuba firmly into the USA’s sphere of influence.

Cuba had broken free from Spain but it took 60 years then to shake off the States.

In 1959 under Castro, Cubans began to chart their own course. The USA resolved to make it as difficult as possible, though, to do so.

Cuba has weathered an invasion, sabotage raids, a nearly five decades long trade embargo, CIA-backed assassination attempts and a host of other dirty tricks.

Cuba is home to just over 11 million citizens — that’s five per cent of the population of the USA.

The per capita slice of the Cuban domestic product is a mere tenth that of the USA. But still the very existence of an independent Cuba seems to rankle the USA.

An ailing Fidel Castro celebrates his 80th birthday next week amid nearly jubilant regime change speculation in the USA.

However Cuba’s stability isn’t really at issue. During Castro’s watch it has developed social policies that “have set it apart,” according Canada’s department of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs website.

“Public investments in education and health, for example, have resulted in social development indicators that meet and even surpass those in some developed countries.”

This has meant that whether you are born in Havana or Miami, you can expect to live 77 years.

Cuba is struggling economically but supports more than twice as doctors per 1,000 inhabitants as the USA or Canada.

Currently it sends more than 25,000 Cuban doctors and health technicians to work in humanitarian missions in some 66 countries.

Is Cuba an island prison just waiting for the opportunity to free itself?

Hardly, the USA ranks first in the world in real numbers and per capita rates of people imprisoned.

Granted Cuba has focused on collective rights rather than individual rights and needs to put effort into developing the later, it ranks way behind the States in percentage of people behind bars.

When will one big neighbour just leave one little neighbour alone?