HAVANA TIMES — Whenever there is talk of Cuba’s camp facilities in any of our media, everything is looked at through rose-colored glasses. The reality, however, is quite different.
This past Friday, August 29, campers who arrived at the Las Cuevas recreational center were able to confirm the deficiencies of the facility in person. Upon arrival, they were informed there was no running water because the pump was broken. The swimming pool – the one source of entertainment for visitors – had not yet been filled.
The cabins had their own, private bathrooms, but some didn’t have doors and were equipped merely with one, plastic bucket for fetching water. There were no basic cleaning products such as floor mops or brooms.
That day, the menu was less than interesting: a bit of fish with rice and beans for lunch, minced meat, wieners in sauce and poor-quality rice for dinner.
At noon on Saturday, several water tanks were installed on the premises so that campers could wash themselves (many had to go off into wooded areas or nearby cabins that have long been abandoned to relieve themselves).
The menu also suddenly broadened. They began to sell pizzas, served pork fricassee for lunch and rice and beans, white rice, yellow rice, roasted chicken and other main courses for dinner.
Thanks to campsite employees, people found out this sudden change in conditions was due to a visit by the Minister of Tourism, who, we can assume, does not know what is actually taking place at Las Cuevas.
At cabin no. 48, located at the back of the campsite where the police are based, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages (extracted from the rum factory in Santa Cruz del Norte) are sold illegally.
The prices of the cigarettes sold there are:
H.Upmann: 1 CUC, or 25 Cuban pesos
Popular (filtered): 1 CUC, or 25 Cuban pesos
Hollywood: 2 CUC, or 50 Cuban pesos.
At the campsite, the State establishments did not have cigarettes. Rum bottles were sold at 40 Cuban pesos.
Cabin 56 was devoted to the sale of beer. A bottle cost 30 Cuban pesos. A 24-pack (in very high demand) was sold there at 720 pesos. They also sold cigarettes and food that was better than that being offered by the campsite.
The people in these cabins were not campers. Apparently, these individuals live in the area during the summer months.
Campsite employees know of this: it is they who tell campers where to find the products they’re looking for, and none of them seem bothered by this network of illegal activities.