HAVANA TIMES — I have just found out that Antonio Castro, one of the sons of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, was the winner of an event at this year’s Copa Montecristo golf tournament in Varadero.
I am not the type to hunt down news about the relatives of Cuban leaders, which may explain why I’ve taken so long to find out about this. I have, as it were, no stomach for the “gutter press” and, in this particular case, I am more interested in the issue of Cuban golf than in the son of the former president.
So as to give you the background, allow me to tell you that, like every year, the setting of this refined gathering was the Varadero Golf Club, an 18-hole course created along the length of a 3.5-kilometer-strip located next to the coastline of Cuba’s renowned tourist getaway, in the province of Matanzas. It was built, before 1959, by the Dupont family.
The top winners of the fifth edition of the tournament, which saw the participation of 100 golfers from 15 different countries, were:
- 1st prize: Howard Yin (Canada), who walked away with the Montecristo Cup
- 2nd prize: Antonio Castro (Cuba), winner of the Esencia Cup
- Ladies’ prize: Annie Blanco (Cuba), followed by Anna Picquet (Francia)
According to a press note published by the Diario de Cuba, “the golfers enjoyed the delectable cuisine of the Casa Club (Mansion Xanandu) during the gala dinner which closed the tournament, as well as a side of Cuban cigars of the Montecristo Open brand.”
The official organizer of the event at the Varadero Golf Club – the name is in English, as those of the pre-revolution clubs condemned by Nicolas Guillen in his poem “Tengo” (“I Have”) – is the State travel agency Cubanacan.
As you can well appreciate, the “socialist” golf played in Cuba is not too different from its capitalist brother. As part of a regressive movement, a return to the beginning, years after Fidel Castro did away with the “bourgeois” sport, the leader’s successors take on the “tiresome” task of giving it back, “touched up” to meet current standards, to Cuba’s elite.
At the close of 2011, we learned that Cuba would allow foreigners to purchase properties alongside top-notch golf courses around the island. At the time, I was of the opinion that the ultimate aim of this was to “build enormous residential, hotel and golf complexes for tourists and Cuba’s future bourgeoisie.”
We can already start to see how some privileged locals are being trained for this future. Now, we can only wait for the latest news from the immaculate world of Cuban golf, and about the multi-million-dollar investments in the sport.
The fifth Copa Montecristo golf tournament was held from April 25-27. For some strange reason, however, the National Sports News hasn’t offered us a single coverage of the event, where I am sure renowned “top-ranking” Cuban golfers once again proudly represented their homeland.