11/30/2016

Lives of the rich and famous

Fidel Castro had his own private island, where he kept a couple of yatchs, plus 20 other homes. 

Aerial photos of Cayo Piedra, Fidel's private island

When I lived in Russia, I moved into a "dacha" (a country house outside the city) located in Barvikha. This dacha was located on a property assigned by the KGB to a very senior officer. The property was large, about 300 meters by 100 meters, fenced with a tall wooden fence facing the road, and a lower fence in the back, which allowed a view of the woods and the Moscow River. 

In 1991, as part of the reforms, the government issued a law which gave title to the dweller of whatever property they had been assigned. This gave the guy who now owned the property a gift worth several million dollars. I'm discussing my first hand experience because Raúl Castro has issued a decree giving ownership of real estate to whichever person was dwelling in or controlled the property. 

And guess what? The communist party elite and upper military caste just happened to end up owning mansions, penthouses and nice country estates. This is the new "hybrid system" which peddles communism and its irrational economic principles as it creates a fascist dictatorship which keeps slaves and schemes to spread its cancer. 

Now I'll return to the Moscow dacha so you see a teensy bit about how socialism works in real life: 


The KGB guy used this ownership rights to borrow from a bank owned by one of the oligarchs, split the property in two, and built a new two story dacha with a full finished basement (about 600 square meters total) on one of the halves. The other half held the old dacha, a 400 square meter very nice wooden paneled home. 

As it turned out, my company rented the new dacha from the KGB gentleman, who moved to Sweden and lived from the rental of this very valuable and other properties he had snagged. I heard a rumour the Swedes gave this guy a visa because he was spilling a lot of information on their spy network. So he seems to have lucked out and lived his last days in luxury. 

The dacha I lived in, like the older dacha next door, had very nice woodwork and all Finnish fixtures, including triple pane windows and a very nice kitchen, plus a basement sauna. It had been built as per the usual custom with a separate garage, and a small (about 80 meter square) house for the guards. 

The deal included four guards, a maid, and a gardener. These people lived in the village, that is the old Barvikha. The village had been used since Stalin's days to be the home of servants, guards, plumbers, electricians and other staff working for their upper caste masters. Their existence was a secret, the area wasn't even shown on maps, and any villager who refused to work was either shot or sent to the gulag. 

I know many of your friends think communists like Castro are romantic figures. I just read an eulogy by Trudeau, the Canadian PM, which made me vomit, and I see the BBC and other media publishing about the great man's "accomplishments". What you guys don't realize is that all of these communist leaders, with very few exceptions, were and are megalomaniacs, corrupt, and genocidal. And yet we see what's supposed to be decent and educated people condoning their existence, and even socializing and eulogizing their lives.

As far as I'm concerned, having a few rich guys hiding money in the Caribbean is a very minor problem. I see the moral rot and growing menace of anti democratic forces as the most serious threat we face.

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