By Esteban Diaz

Tourists in Old Havana, photo: Caridad

What is it that attracts the average tourist to Cuba?  Is it that they’re interested in learning about the Cuban Revolution first hand?  Maybe they want to develop some bond with the island’s working class?  Or could it be that their culinary taste buds become excited when tasting lobster and Cuban rice and beans?

Who knows?

While I ask myself about this, I can see the tourists riding around in “Havana Tour” buses.  From the outside, you can see the enthusiasm inspired inside the bus, the avalanche of flashes that momentarily blind you, the passion for the unknown – which perhaps will never be known – everything combined in a “fertile” instant.  They pass by in the “little happy train” as if their dreams have been consummated.

From what I’ve discovered, their package tours are for ten days on the average.  Over that time they can “enjoy a wonderful vacation on one of the best beaches in Cuba,” “enjoy the best cocktails provided by first class service in their hotel of choice.” Likewise, “You’ll have a pool for whenever you want to enjoy a splash – 24-hours a day,” etc, etc, etc…

As is the nature of these scheduled trips – for you, Mr./Ms. Tourist -, your days will fly by, as well as your money.  But don’t be deceived; you have not visited Cuba – at least not the real Cuba.  Without biting my tongue, I must say you’ve only visited what your money was able to buy or rent.

If by chance some tourist descends from their airplane with a sincere fascination for Cuba, I can assure them that they will leave more “lost” than when they arrived.

I hope that their subjectivity doesn’t trick them into thinking that when they request that savory mojito, they developed some sort of tie with the working people of the island; it is “only” an economic relationship.

I repeat, don’t fall into the abyss of subjectivity.  If you want to know any country in Latin America, you’ll have to swing through the vines and venture deep into the nature of each society in the Third World.  Only in this way will you begin to have a more accurate vision of the place that you visit.

Perhaps in this way you will break the ice and respond to the perplexed looks between some Cubans and tourists; but don’t forget that this depends on you, unless the letters of invitation needed to leave the island become more accessible to the natives.


esteban

Esteban Diaz: I am 26-years-old and from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m currently in my sixth year of studies at the Latin American Medical School in Havana. I like to travel, which has enabled me to get to know other cultures and see what life is like in other places. In my free time I play guitar and sometimes read books about politics.

2 thoughts on “Kodak Tourism

  • “bond with the island’s working class” LOL

  • How unfortunate that the common Cuban worker is not allowed the same experiences that these tourists enjoy. I agree with you that the tourist should see the “real” Cuba and Cuban people and not only the Cuba that the communist subjects them to see. Why can’t the common Cuban worker “enjoy the best cocktails provided by first class service in their hotel of choice” because the oppressive Cuban government does not allow it.

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