There's not much Christmas cheer in Cuba outside the tourist areas thanks to fidel castro. Christmas was banned on the island from 1969 until 1997. In that year, castro began allowing the celebration as a lure to get Pope John Paul II to visit. Now Reuters reports that eight years later, there's little of the Christmas spirit.
Christmas decorations are mostly to be found in the more expensive shops and tourist spots, and there is no Santa Claus waving at children on the street corner.
Santa, viewed as a symbol of capitalist consumer society, is banned from storefront displays and can only be seen in private homes.
Proving that the PC police are the same regardless of state, Cubans, like many Americans, don't say Merry Christmas anymore - they say Happy Holidays. Carmen Vallejo, a Catholic dissident, says most of the young people don't even know the meaning of Happy Christmas.
Under a sub-heading "They Have No Money" - Reuters begins to get an idea of the problem:
Stores in Central Havana's main shopping center, Carlos III, are stacked with Chinese goods, from bicycles and tennis rackets to skateboards and roller blades.
Plastic toys made in China are expensive for Cubans, with some selling for $20, more than a doctor's monthly salary.
"There are much fewer shoppers this year. Things are very bad," said Carlos, a parking attendant. "This is the worst year since I started here nine years ago. People have no money."
Reuters points out that gifts from Cuban ex-pats are important to folks still living in fidel's workers' paradise, but wholly fails to mention that the people need these gifts because of fidel's bankrupt economic system. The average Cuban makes about $20 a month - hard to have much Christmas on that.
So while some Americans complain about the bearded Santa Claus and the destruction of Christmas by commercialism, we know Santa is a piker. It takes a billionaire bearded bastard to really destroy Christmas.