The luxury Dîner en Blanc scheduled for this Saturday, aimed at foreign tourists as part of a 3-to-5-day package ranging from about $550 to $1000 (presumably per person), is completely beyond the reach of Cubans except the island’s privileged ruling class. It’s not just that ordinary Cubans cannot even dream of living in luxury, but that they’ve been reduced to a miserable survival mode heavily dependent on outside charity–for those lucky enough to get it. Massive emigration has been the result, a situation never seen in Cuba’s entire history prior to the Castro era.
The “logic” behind this event is akin to that behind building ever more luxury tourist hotels in a country with a serious chronic housing shortage and increasingly deteriorating and even crumbling existing housing. Tourists, of course, generate revenue which the regime needs to stay in power, while regular Cubans (except those exported as slave labor) cost the regime money and only generate what amounts to ransom money from their relatives abroad. Needless to say, since this sort of event is not meant for the natives, it’s hardly going to be covered by state media.
A connection to the infamous retort of “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake” is quite legitimate. Cuba is a disastrously failed state in terms of what its people need, but the prime directive of the totalitarian tyranny behind the disaster remains unflinchingly in place: staying in power, absolute power, at any cost, forever. Thus, this ritzy elite gathering with an aptly French origin, which could not possibly take place in Cuba without the active support of the dictatorship which controls everything on the island. And if the locals find out, well, let them eat pastelitos.