Now that the powers have deemed that the legacy of lame duck President Barrack Obama must be anchored to the return of Cuba to the fold, it has opened the floodgates for pundits all to spew the ideological and political rhetoric like there is no tomorrow. Although the froth has not receded with the exit of US presidential hopeful and Cuban American Marco Rubio, it will with a little time. In words attributed to J Cole, “The bad news is nothing lasts forever, The good news is nothing lasts forever.” Ominous words as Puerto Rico declines and we see the rise of Batista Castro Cuba!
Instead of engaging in an exercise of nothingness about the response of Fidel Castro to Obama’s legacy building, the rhetoric of the anti Cuban movement based in Florida, the release or not of political prisoners in US and Cuban jails – countries like Barbados must focus on creating economic opportunities in a post Fidel Castro Barrack Obama period. All the experts agree that Cuba is a market investors cannot wait to sink millions if not billions. Observers agree that in the face of the longest and harshest trade embargo imposed on a country by the international community, Cuba has demonstrated it is a resilient, innovative, entrepreneurial and least conspicuous consumption society. There is so much to learn from Cuba.
During the embargo imposed in 1960 Barbados and many Eastern Caribbean countries extended a friendship to Cuba. The tragic event of 1976 that saw the explosion of Cubana Flight 455 about 8 kilometres from the airport after it attempted to make an emergency landing has served to create a bond between the people of Barbados and Cuba. It is a historical footnote represented in a monument built in Paynes Bay, St. James never to be forgotten.
How many Barbadians are aware that Cuba is an International Cricket Council (ICC) Affiliate member? One can attribute interest in the sport of cricket by Cubans to the large West Indian immigrant population who visited in the 1920s to work in the sugar industry.
There is no rocket science required for the leadership of cricket in Barbados and at also at the level of government to pursue a skills exchange program to our mutual benefit. Cuba has been able to establish world class sports and health care programs and Barbados owns a rich cricket tradition and strong democratic system of government, comparatively so. With the changes in Cuba, it opens a world of opportunities for Cubans some of whom are descendants of Barbadians and other islands of the Caribbean and live on the western part of Cuba. These persons have retained an avid interest in cricket and for many years have suffered from a lack of cricket expertise, training and equipment etc. There is the opportunity!
Why not start an initiative to encourage the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) to help the Cuban Cricket Commission (CCC) by funding equipment and exchanging expertise among other initiatives? This is a country that has produced Teófilo Stevenson, Javier Sotomayor, Alverto Juantorena and many others for chrissakes and where our leaders and prominent citizens visit to have serious healthcare procedures done as well as training.
Surely we should not wait for the MCC or another English Cricket body from the Mother Country to fill the breach. Heavens forbid!