By Henry Constantin (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — I was in Vedado, Havana. I urgently needed to get some writing done but my laptop battery was discharged. At a hard-currency coffee shop, all of the outlets were covered up with green tape. I headed down to the Hotel Vedado, willing to buy anything to be allowed to plug in my laptop there.
“That’s not allowed here,” the man in the lobby said to me.
“What if I pay for this?” I asked.
“Can’t do that, it’s not allowed.”
I headed over to the Hotel Nacional, hoping I’d have better luck there. But there wasn’t a single outlet in sight. However, there were plenty of serious-looking employees ready to say “no” to me. Unbelievable.
Very much put off, I walked over to L street and ended up heading up the steps of the private coffee shop Mama Ines. A petite waitress with an agreeable expression smiled at me well before I approached her. Without much hope, I tried to explain the situation to her.
“What you need is an outlet. Look, you can sit over there and work, it’s more comfortable,” she said to me.
And so it was.
Someone should tell the Americans, the Europeans, the Cubans living abroad and any living creature interested in investing in Cuba that, for the life of them, they should not even consider, no matter how much these fellows insist on it, investing a cent in this prehistoric den of frustration and lousy [State] services.
No, it’s the creative and daring Cubans, the entrepreneurs who don’t have “Party meetings,” the small business owners and the self-employed who are helpless before the State, who have to work miracles to get ahead, those are the people who deserve such help. They are the only ones who can make people on the island happier, where others have only sown incompetence and frustration.