A tropical vacation in Cuba for tourists versus the socialist vacation for Cubans

Apartheid is alive and well in communist Cuba as foreign tourists enjoy luxury accommodations and endless food buffets while vacationing Cubans get crumbs and mistreated.

Alejandro Rios explains in CubaNet:

A Vacation versus a Socialist Vacation

Domestic tourism in Cuba leaves a lot to be desired because it lacks propriety and mistreats its clientele, while foreign tourism rests on the repression and poverty of Cubans.

Out of the 30 years I lived under a communist dictatorship, I remember only two occasions in which we took what could be described as “vacations” in a government facility.

The first was pleasant, although rare. Sometime in the 1960s, my abnegated and hard-working father was awarded one week’s vacation in Varadero, all expenses paid, something similar to what today we know as the successful “all included” modality in other Caribbean tourist destinations.

I remember that we were lodged at the luxurious Dupont neighborhood, a ghostly experience due to the absence of the original owners of those mansions that had been occupied by Castro’s troops.

The so-called “vanguard workers” would make up a quasi-middle-class for seven days, where the real middle-class had been either decimated or had taken the road to exile. After those seven days, the workers and their families would return to the torment of daily shortages.

The second revolutionary vacation I remember was not pleasant. It was the eighties, and workers already had stopped enjoying privileges, except those described by a revealing documentary, titled Fin de siglo, that shows how overwhelmed sugar-cane workers were allowed to do some cockamamie shopping – house dresses, shampoo, arts and crafts, underwear- in the once famous department store in Havana.

The tyrant required more sacrifices from his followers. He excommunicated them from the hotels and tourist centers in order to make room for foreigners, who would be called to bring Cuba those much-needed US Dollars. And then he invented a plan called “camping”.

On mountain slopes and close to rock-lined coastal reefs, the government built tiny cabins, more like dog houses, with common bathroom facilities. The food was mainly canned goods, snacks and other miserly provisions officially called “factura”.

Between the months of February and March, there are a lot of birthdays in my family, which we celebrate in freedom. We have made it a habit to go to places near Miami to enjoy those occasions. México and other Caribbean destinations have become the sites for quick but charming vacations.

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