State-run stores in Cuba are empty. Blackouts lasting hours or days are the norm. The island’s healthcare system has collapsed. Yet the Castro dictatorship continues building hotels for foreign tourists. No one can doubt what the Cuban regime’s priorities are, which is focused solely on bringing in hard currency to ensure its continued survival. This is socialism in action.
Sancti Spíritus: Tourism Monopolized the Construction Budget in 2023
Of the 390 million pesos that Cuba’s Ministry of Construction (MICONS, by its Spanish acronym) assigned to the province of Sancti Spíritus in 2023, close to 227 million ended up in tourism, especially for the construction of the Meliá Trinidad Península Hotel. This amount represents approximately 60% of the budget allocated to the province.
In contrast, a report published by the daily Escambray indicates that, for the housing construction plan in the province, only 35 of the 100 projected dwellings have been finished.
Rislander Torres Díaz, an engineer and director-general of Empresa de Construcción y Montaje Sancti Spiritus (the Sancti Spíritus construction enterprise), acknowledged that housing in his province, as in the rest of the country, “has been among the most neglected sectors”.
To explain it, he stated the reason for this included fuel shortages as well as a lack of finishing materials, problems with production of aggregates and prefabricated concrete, indispensable resources required to build houses and other buildings.
Initially, the budget for the province was 283 million pesos, but the “commitment” to finish the hotel as soon as possible made the Cuban regime disburse even more money.
Torres Díaz stated: “We have a commitment to finish this hotel facility in time to celebrate the 510th anniversary of the founding of Trinidad, which is a World Heritage city.”
He also stated that, in spite of a minimal production of asphalt, they are still working on some of the roads and we aim to meet the objective of patching up streets in the city proper.
There is also a commitment to finish the main highway, Carretera Central, and the rock embankment now under construction in the Ancón peninsula, where 4,500 tons of material (produced in the neighboring Cienfuegos province) have been poured.
The rise in hotel investment in detriment of the recovery and development of the Public Health and Education sectors has been greatly criticized by Cubans both inside and outside the island. The regime has tried to justify its decisions by arguing for the need to garner hard currency. However, and in spite of excessive hotel investment, tourism in the Caribbean island remains stalled.