Hotel Apartheid

Yanisleydis Borges Lara

Dr. Darsi Ferrer, one of the loudest voices in Cuba against the dictatorship’s apartheid treatment of the Cuban people, reports on the heavy price two teenage girls are paying, for having the nerve to visit a Havana hotel:

Officers with the “social scourge” (Lacra Social) of the Ministry of Interior, arrested Yanisleydis Borges Lara, 19, and her friend, Gretter Hernandez, 16, for the “crime” of walking along the outside of the Spanish firm Sol-Melia’s “Havana Libre” hotel.
The hotel, like all facilities in the tourism sector, are reserved exclusively for the enjoyment of foreigners and members of the power elite. Both youths were detained while under investigation, and today were to be prosecuted in court on charges of “social dangerousness,” which under the penal code carries a sentence of 1 to 4 years in prison.

In fidel castro’s Cuba, some Cubans are less Cuban than others. Voices in the United States and elsewhere, clamor for the American government to lift what passes for an embargo of Cuba. But they are silent about the embargo the dictatorship places on its own people.
Most Cubans don’t enjoy the same high-quality health care enjoyed by the decaying dictator and other elites.
They don’t have access to the Internet and other unfiltered sources of news and information about Cuba and the world.
And as Ferrer’s report reveals, they can’t go to whatever hotel or beach they want to.
Read the rest of Ferrer’s story, in Spanish, here.
And be sure to check out his new blog, “Enough of Apartheid in Cuba.”

3 thoughts on “Hotel Apartheid”

  1. Nicolas Guillen, poet laureate of the Revolution wrote “Tengo” in 1964, praising the Revolution for opening doors to blacks that had been previously closed. A couple of stanzas are more than apt today:
    Tengo, vamos a ver,
    tengo el gusto de andar por mi país,
    dueño de cuanto hay en él,
    mirando bien de cerca lo que antes
    no tuve ni podía tener.
    Zafra puedo decir,
    monte puedo decir,
    ciudad puedo decir,
    ejército decir,
    ya míos para siempre y tuyos, nuestros,
    y un ancho resplandor
    de rayo, estrella, flor.
    Tengo, vamos a ver,
    tengo el gusto de ir
    yo, campesino, obrero, gente simple,
    tengo el gusto de ir
    (es un ejemplo)
    a un banco y hablar con el administrador,
    no en inglés,
    no en señor,
    sino decirle compañero como se dice en español.
    Tengo, vamos a ver,
    que siendo un negro
    nadie me puede detener
    a la puerta de un dancing o de un bar.
    O bien en la carpeta de un hotel
    gritarme que no hay pieza,
    una mínima pieza y no una pieza colosal,
    una pequeña pieza donde yo pueda descansar.
    Is it deliciously ironic, or what?

  2. A beach? Habana Libre Hotel is in the middle of La Rampa not a beach. Cubans can enter the hotel, eat at the cafeteria, etc like in most hotels in the island. There is something missing from that report, La Rampa is full of people all the time, the sideway is full of cubans, where else are they going to walk?

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