Yoani Sanchez explains to readers of the Huffington Post how it is that having a moderately successful restaurant in Cuba is against the law.
The list of the “crimes” also contributed to my nausea: Selling “prohibited food” such as lobster and beef; having more than twelve seats in the restaurant; giving credit to the painters to eat there; becoming a patron of the arts; paying a huge electricity bill; having a lot of cash; and–what nerve–wanting to open a restaurant in Milan. As if it wouldn’t be much easier to authorize the sale of those creatures with antennae who live in our sea, to congratulate Juan Carlos for his work in promoting culture, and to allow each paladar to have whatever number of chairs and employees they decide. But no, to authorize all that would set off too strong a competition with the inefficient restaurants and cultural centers of the State. To admit that the Huron Azul would continue to progress would be to run the risk that one day its proprietor would want to found an art magazine or open a museum with his private collection.
This is the absurdist version of Cuba today, worth of Albert Camus. But there’s nothing a couple of hundred thousand American tourists (in addition to the 2 million tourists from other countries visiting Cuba annually) can’t fix, right?