Cuban Tourists: Filling-in the Gaps / Miriam Celaya
Posted on September 17, 2014
The truth is that I don’t know all the numbers, but I have been browsing
the ad pages of Cubatur, Havanatur and all the Cuban “tours” and I found
that this year the “all-inclusive” offers have increased which, since
the restrictions for Cubans to stay at hotels were lifted, better-off
Cubans have been taking advantage of them.
I’m not criticizing anyone for wanting to enjoy a vacation –usually
short– at a beach hotel due to lower prices. After all, shortages and
discriminations for decades have created a thirst for consumption and
pleasure in the Cuban population that manifests itself as soon as the
luckier few have an opportunity to escape the everyday filth and misery
for a few days.
So, the number of regular Cubans who regularly take advantage of
all-inclusive packages has been creating a clientele that feeds on the
assorted neo-affluent sectors, corresponding to the most diverse groups
and backgrounds: owners and employees of private restaurants,
professionals who often have foreign contracts, employees of
“enterprises” and shops that operate in hard currencies, the managerial
caste, and even black marketers. Everyone wants their piece of Varadero
to live the illusion of “I can”, despite the sorrows. And, of course,
“everyone stretches out his feet as far down the sheets as they will
reach” like my granny used to say, so there are those who save all year
to spend a couple of nights at a three-star hotel, up to those who visit
a five-star hotel in the outlying resort islands several times a year.
It is, definitely, the realization of a long-cherished dream.
Well, it turns out that this year the “offers” to Cubans have
skyrocketed. According to an accredited source (with the obligatory
reserve), although some press reports state that foreign tourist
participation has increased, the truth is that, in order to increase
their income and fulfill quotas, tourist operators have had to extend
and enhance the offers that so many well-off Cubans purchase. Cubans
also serve to fill the gaps, so they will continue to collect fees,
making use of what was, until recently, taboo: enjoyment.
This is not disclosed in the press, but it is so. That’s why the media
publishes an occasional report in the news and on the regular press
where there is a reference to “Cuban workers who enjoy camping
facilities and beaches and recreation centers”; but I am absolutely sure
that they never have dedicated one to show wealthy Cubans basking in the
sun at hotels in Varadero or the outlying islands: we all know that they
have already decriminalized the differences among us, but they should
not be displayed so brazenly. These are the conditions to enjoy the
benefits of Raúl-type socialism, aren’t they?
Translated by Norma Whiting
22 August 2014
Source: Cuban Tourists: Filling-in the Gaps / Miriam Celaya |
Translating Cuba –