Tips for Tourists Open to More than the Cuban Paradise

Tourists passing down 23rd Street in Havana. Photo: 14ymedio

By Natalia Lopez Moya (14ymedio)  

HAVANA TIMES – I like the complicity of my terrace, especially at that time when I don’t know if it’s day or night, and the city wakes up smelling of the sea and freshly brewed coffee. In front of me the Capitol building is projected with its golden dome and its monumental architecture, which not only dwarfs us, but also hides a city that suffers from neglect, heartbreak and the incompetence of a government more interested in appearances than in realities.

Upon arrival, dear tourists, you will find buildings gnawed by 60 years of indolence. With their cracks and exposed steel descending to their foundations, weakening their structures and causing them to collapse in some cases without warning. Collapses that condemn humble and working families to live in shelters, which look more like ghettos than temporary homes.

You can search, investigate, find those families who live in deplorable conditions in marginal neighborhoods that you can’t even imagine exist in the “Cuban paradise” that was described to you by the travel agency. If you do, you will discover people whose hope dies in the archives of oblivion or in the worn-out cliché of the lack of resources produced by a ’blockade’ (the US embargo) that only seems to exist for the poorer sectors of society.

You should know beforehand that the ultra-worn excuse of lack of resources was disproved when in 1991 they squandered millions to satisfy the pride of a self-centered, hypocritical, and lying dictator. And it is an easily disproved lie if we calculate the number of luxury hotels that are now being built in a few months. From those same terraces, they will be able to appreciate with their own eyes the harsh reality that the media under the control of the dictatorship tries to hide from the world.

Just as I watch from my beloved terrace, you will witness how the cancer of abandonment and indolence devours a city left to its own devices and where the few resources that exist are sold in the currency of the American enemy. Your cameras will show the world the great scam of this failed and outdated system, designed to limit people’s progress in order to subdue and make them dependent. So, I invite you all, camera in hand, to seek and show the world the fallacy.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

4 thoughts on “Tips for Tourists Open to More than the Cuban Paradise

  • Dan, they most likely make money but that goes to the military company Gaviota-Gaesa which now has more autonomy and they have their own debts and benefits to pay. The same happened with the overpriced USD stores that some Cubans can shop at. The profits were supposed to go to buy more products for the bare shelves at the Cuban peso stores that the majority shop at. Ask any Cuban that waits in those lines what the result has been… Let the rest of us know what you find out.

  • Don’t these hotels make money which is then used to buy imports ?

  • I have walked those areas many times looking at the poor living conditions and decaying buildings, it is an eye opener for anyone

  • The vast majority of tourists going to Cuba are travelling from capitalist countries. Therefore they are very familiar with ‘marginal neighbourhoods’ and the ‘cancer of abandonment and indolence’. These are common phenomena in a great many capitalist countries. Even in most of those toward the top of the capitalist ladder.
    It is naive to imply otherwise.
    Agencies which promote tourism in Cuba do not mention the poorer parts of the country. Tourist Agencies in Capitalist countries don’t either.

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