Luxury Resorts for Cuba’s “New Man”

Martin Guevara*

Model. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Sitting for hours on end before the many screens of our new technologies – PCs, Ipads, smart-phones, cutting-edge TVs that connect you to the Internet, as intercoms, microwave ovens and even blenders will surely do in the near future – is a sure way of ending up in a bed with a major case of lumbago.

If used to spread knowledge, however, these technologies can be incredibly useful tools. Yesterday, as way of an example, I was able to watch a segment of the Spanish-language CNN broadcast that targets hispanics in the United States (and catch a report that could give you a heart attack) thanks to these technologies.

These reports are probably less believable for members of the opposition, dissidents or those who are simply disillusioned with the Cuban revolution than for the architects of this cruel and enormous lie.

The report showed an ad for a high-class tourist resort located near Cuba’s Guanahacabibes peninsula, in the far west-laying province of Pinar del Rio, designed for the use and enjoyment of multimillionaires.

Nestled in an area that is home to some of the island’s hidden and unadvertised natural treasures, the complex is called Punta Colorada & Marina.

The exclusive (and exclusivist) resort encompasses more than thirty kilometers of white-sand beaches and covers four thousand hectares of land, the equivalent of eight thousand football fields. Boasting a nine-kilometer marina designed for the mooring of mega-yachts, the complex will be equipped with shipyards, numerous golf fields, horse-riding areas, luxury residences, high-end recreational, sporting and spa facilities, cabarets and five-star hotels.

Not even Cuba’s immediate capitalist Caribbean neighbors have places like this. I also saw a promotional video about the already-completed Marina Gaviota, located at the tip of the Varadero peninsula, in the province of Matanzas, more popularly known as Punta Frances. Cheap golf, rum and girls for industrialists, bankers and international rogues, good friends of the revolution!

That this should be taking place while Fidel Castro is still alive, in the lifetime of someone who imprisoned, exiled, marginalized and drove to insanity anyone who expressed the desire for the material things of the capitalist world, is so cruel and perverse I can’t find the right words to describe it.

In the report, one of the interviewees referred to the Habana Libre hotel and mentioned it was once the residence of the relatives of revolutionaries. He was probably unaware of how well he hit the nail on the head in his intention of establishing a comparison between the hotel and resort for, in addition to serving as the temporary home of several relatives of Che Guevara and the families of numerous, distinguished revolutionaries from around the world, the hotel was also the place where the first pilot dollar-store, aimed exclusively at Cuba’s foreign visitors, was opened in 1976.

The ironic twists and turns of history made this comparison much more eloquent than the interviewee ever intended.

These immense marinas, designed for the enjoyment of multimillionaires, are the “grandchildren” of that small segregationist store pioneered in the Habana Libre hotel.

That this should be taking place while Fidel Castro is still alive, in the lifetime of someone who imprisoned, exiled, marginalized and drove to insanity anyone who expressed the desire for the material things of the capitalist world, is so cruel and perverse I can’t find the right words to describe it.

Perhaps I am simply being cautious and holding back the first impulses that bubble up in my guts.

It’s always been evident that you could put everyone in Cuba’s leadership together and not find a single virtue there, that they would end up wrestling in the mud for a slice of power when all was said and done, but not even the most fruitful imagination could have pictured this complete abandonment of all principles once held sacred.

We must denounce the practices of these repressors, who today lust after capital secured through any conceivable means.

Let us try and imagine who the mega-yachts parked in these beautiful marinas belong to.
Could they belong to communists who struggle in the name of proletarian internationalism?
Could they belong to exemplary Cuban workers?
Or do they rather belong to the exploiters of the people of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, France and to a good many of the worst criminals who live in those countries?

We can’t be sure at this point. We’ll have to be patient and keep our eyes open and our ears perked to confirm it. I cannot help but ask myself: what could be going through the head of someone like Huber Matos, who fought next to the most committed revolutionaries to bring democracy back to Cuba, to spread social justice in the country, to bring freedom and dignity to the people of Cuba, who was later imprisoned for twenty years for refusing to accept Fidel Castro’s sudden decision to become aligned to the Soviet Union?

As in the former Soviet Union, between the keepers of the capitalist pie and the destitute, militant masses, the Party nomenklatura will have a head-start in the vertiginous marathon of capitalist accumulation, towards which they are already heading at breakneck speed.

What could those whose properties were taken from them for belonging to the perfidious national bourgeoisie, a bourgeoisie that was doubtlessly far less wealthy than the guests of this “internationalist” resort, be thinking?

Perhaps they are feeling the opposite of what one may expect, a sense of profound relief, a certain degree of joy, prompted by finally getting a taste of the true ethical fiber of those who once portrayed themselves as the very incarnation of moral superiority.

I’m sorry to have to admit I am not in a position to assess this situation with the sociological, literary or journalist objectivity that it demands.

Others will likely analyze the “tsunami” effect common to revolutionary processes, whereby, following the painful erosion of the dictatorships that usually sustain them, the return to capitalism is often accompanied by an unprecedented collective and individual consumerist voracity, an impulse to acquire properties and show off wealth, and the shedding of all modesty or restraint, of all moral inhibitions that could regulate or hinder this excessive impetus.

As in the former Soviet Union, between the keepers of the capitalist pie and the destitute, militant masses, the Party nomenklatura will have a head-start in the vertiginous marathon of capitalist accumulation, towards which they are already heading at breakneck speed.

Though we shouldn’t expect them to shed their habits of old and let the people in on these new gold mines, it would not be surprising in the least if they chose to christen one of these mega-hotels or mega-restaurants for the traffickers of Capital and proletarian suffering as “The New Man.”

This time around, the name won’t invoke the socialist values they trumpeted in the old days, but will be a kind of tribute to all current and future leaders of this more pragmatic sequel to the revolutionary saga.
(*) See Martin Guevara’s blog in Spanish.

8 thoughts on “Luxury Resorts for Cuba’s “New Man”

  • Are there any updates on this project? I was really sad to find out about this as Punta Colorada is, or was, a natural gem of the island. It appears to have had a history with idealistic architects at one point as the three constructivist schools and hedgerows scattered around the lagoon attest to. At a guess, someone back in the 60’s or 70’s had a plan to expand Ciudad Bolivar into a tropical version of a socialist ring city. A quick look at google earth can show you that the service roads laid out, the workers housing was built in a grove by the beach, the schools and farms were built, and they were getting started on the blocks right about the time the Soviet Union collapsed. It would be too much to ask to complete that vision. But anything, even doing nothing, would be better than a golf resort.

  • And why would the millionares come to Cuba, rather than to such already existent places in Santo Domingo, Mexico, the West Indies, etc. etc.? Of course the 1% (and their 5% to 9% retainers) is always searching for novelty, but for Cuba to put faith in such projects is not prudent. (Much like the town fathers of many post-industrial towns and cities up here hoping, expectantly, that new manufacturers will once again open their empty and moldering factories, and almost as pathetic as the “cargo-cult” tribes on New Guinnea.) Instead of going whole hog on such pie-in-the-sky projects (they remind me of the failed “Castles in the Woods” project of Dawn Powell’s 1939 novel “Angels on Toast,”), I would suggest that the government go for the middle- and lower-end market, for example, by rehabbing all those now-empty “schools-to-the-countryside” buildings (in such desirable places as the Isla de Juventud, for example) into winter condos (or year-round retirement condos) for snowbirds and retirees from Canada, the U.S., and elsewhere. The hard-currency $$$ these folks could bring, though more modest than what the northern millionaires, would be more stable in the long-run. Also, the level of resentment by the locals would not be as great, since the distance between middle-class snowbirds and retirees and the local residents would not be as great. Also, perceptive middle-class retirees/snowbirds have a tendency to integreate with their new communities, rather than insulate themselves behind gated communities.

  • Firstly I would say that decisions made sixty years ago aren’t binding for ever. The world is a very different place from back then.

    Secondly this is an extension of a policy that has been going on for a while of building up the tourist industry. It just happens to be that golfers and yachters are big spenders and so have a bigger return for a smaller investment and presence. However, as someone brought up in an area dominated by tourism, I appreciate the issues. It is a double-edged sword in that it also creates a lot of social problems. It creates a lot of jealousy and hate making people really two-faced and resentful as well as undermining the fabric of communities and cultures. For that reason developments like these cause quite a lot of controversy in Wales.

    It really does need to be handled well otherwise it will come back to bite. A fair share of the revenue needs to benefit the local communities and the Cuban economy and not siphoned out (as when the mafia owned everything) and not pocketed by corrupt officials. It should remain self-contained and not spread unregulated and doesn’t become a free-for-all where outsiders can buy up farms and houses anywhere and everywhere and practically evict the locals.

  • On the contrary, I hope Fidel does live long enough to witness a high-stakes casino operating in a luxury hotel alongside a mega-yacht marina frequented by millionaire foreigners and serviced by high-priced Cuban prostitutes. A bittersweet deja vu for the old goat before croaking. When all is said and done, the Castros will have gotten rich from 50+ years of ‘revolution’ and little else will have changed. Certainly not for the better.

  • I think this project is an appalling waste of money and continues the cynical exploitation of the Cuban people. If nothing else, the marina reveals the utter fraud and hypocrisy of the Castro regime.

  • This is such a shame, i can try to understand the “pragmaticism” in it, but its very hypocritical and disgusting none the less, unless it shows any signs of benefit to cuban population i am not in anyway for this

  • It’s always about power and money, ideology is just how the politicians “sell” it to the “consumer”

  • I bet all you foreigners love this news.

    Poor Cubans… more EXTRANJEROS.

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