Vicente Morin Aguado

The Hilton Miami Downtown

HAVANA TIMES — I arrived in Miami a few hours ago. Like almost all other passengers, I applauded when the plane landed.  I went through the airport without any problems and got into a taxi headed for the Hilton Miami Downtown (where I was to await the beginning of the 24th Annual Meeting of the ASCE, an association devoted to the study of the Cuban economy).

As this was my first trip abroad, I was naturally quite excited. However, I tried to conceal this part of my experience in order to observe my surroundings better, particularly while conversing with others.

One need not know how to speak English in Miami, but it is advisable to use this language from time to time (Miami being located in the United States). I see a great many skin color gradations in the employees around me, which include a number of compatriots (for the most part young). They are still Cuban, but they looked somewhat different to me. I’ve been to hotels all across Cuba, and I can tell you these particular employees are completely different from what I’m used to seeing.

I don’t know whether their bosses are watching them somewhere, but I still haven’t heard any reprimands. I don’t need to ask for anything, there’s always someone at hand anticipating one’s needs, no matter how trifle they are. What’s more, everyone greets you, as though saying: “Here I am, friend, don’t forget: I am here to serve you.”

The Hilton is an English-styled hotel, a tad boring from the standpoint of anyone looking for Cuban flair. It is a splendid place with an overabundance of luxury, but without any kind of exaggeration. The crucial thing is that everything works, not even the water in a fountain ceases to flow at any point during the day. That said, the best thing the hotel has are its employees.

Now I can confidently say that laziness, insensitivity, irresponsibility, contrived problems and other symptoms of an ill society do not have a genetic origin or some connection to tropical climates, as I once almost believed. A woman from the Cuban province of Camaguey, the head of the reception who welcomed me my first morning on US soil, accompanied me to the Internet room and set up a new email account for me, using her own cell phone to confirm the registration.

Now I am ready to report on the work sessions of the ASCE, where numerous professionals, including many who have come directly from Cuba, are to participate. It will be a forum open to all who wish to share their opinions. I will keep all of you posted on a daily basis so that we can all become better informed about the complex situation our country faces today.

There will be plenty of time to express my emotions. For the time being, at this hotel, without a single political slogan around me, I see that many of the things called for in my country have been accomplished here. Incidentally, I did not perceive any kind of distress in the faces of the busy employees. For the first time in a very long while, I feel that there are people whose job truly is to serve me.

Vicente Morin Aguado.   [email protected]

20 thoughts on “A Cuban at the Miami Hilton

  • Rigor mortis means it’s already dead. I don’t agree with that. Stricken with a deadly virus and near death, probably. Still, my comment was simply to correct your earlier comment that the “Dream” is about getting rich. That is not the case.

  • NBC/Wall St. Journal poll out today. 76% of Americans do not believe they will attain their parents standards of living. The American Dream has rigor mortis.

  • You have been misinformed Dan. The “American Dream” is not about getting rich or voting per se. The ‘Dream’ is simply to live better than your parents. The US remains, despite naysayers like you, the most popular final destination for immigrants the world over. We have screwed up a few places, no doubt, but not everywhere and yet they come from everywhere anyway. In spite of our challenges, malcontents like you remain. You are not jumping in a raft to cross the Florida Straits to Havana just yet, are you? That’s proof enough for me that you know, whether you’ll admit it here or not, that you know where your chances to live better are best.

  • No. They come here because their societies and economies have been destroyed by the US empire. Not because they ever believe that they will become well-off or because they want to vote.

  • I am not so sure you want to compare a Harvard-educated Obama to Venezuela’s Ma-burro. But, you are helping to make my point. Not on your list which obviously includes China and Venezuela as well is Castros’ Cuba. While access to the ‘American Dream’ has certainly narrowed, it is clearly not dead. The boatloads of Cubans and busloads of Guatemalan and Honduran children make my point. If the “Dream” were dead, they would flee their countries and go to Mexico or anywhere else where language and other hurdles do not exist. They continue to come, legally and illegally, to the US because they believe “in that American Dream stuff”.

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