Cuba Fantasy Island.
Posted: 25 June 2007 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Yes, that is what Cuba has become - fantasy island.
Why?

Well for starters, the Cuba government pretends to pay Cubans a salary and the Cubans pretend to work.

The government also pretends to run all the commercial industries and retail businesses yet very little is produced and not much is available for Cubans to buy.

The government pretends to offer universal health care to all Cubans which includes pretending they can do so without providing actual free medication.

Raul Castro pretends to offer 5 star all-inclusive tourist hotels for real cheap. Then the Cuban workers pretend they never heard about that deal but they just happen to be able to get hold of some water, toilet paper and other Cuban luxuries provided the tourist will give a “tip.”

To get tips the Cuban worker will pretend to even like tourists to gain their confidence and pull on their heart strings. Then once the tourist’s guard is down the Cuban sells them a blank CD purported to be their latests hits from their Cuban combo or they hustle a box of banana leaf fake cigars to the tourist suckers.

Then the tourist pretends to understand and not feel violated by these frauds, pick-pocketing’s and bag snatching. Also the tourists pretend that their tourist dollars and euros are not arming Raul’s goons so he can oppress the Cuban people .

They pretend Cubans don’t want democracy or the most basic consumer goods like toilet paper or human rights like freedom of speech. Some pretend that Cubans actually can speak freely while ignoring the hundreds in dungeons for doing just that.

They pretend they know everything about Cuba so they don’t even bother looking at all of the widely available information about 49 years of total tyranny under Castro.

Then the tourist is abused on their vacation in Cuba and either pretends to know the reason for their bad time (loosely referred to as the embargo or blockade, for the more dramatic) and simply forgets it.

But a few raise hell about their bad trips on some tourist chat board. So to counteract this bad PR the Cuban government also goes onto these chat boards and pretends to be satisfied tourists to Cuba and raves about such normal things as “the elevator worked all week long!”

So new prospective tourists read all the glowing fake reviews from the Cuban government, pretend they know what they are doing and book a holiday to Cuba.

Some Cuban pretends to give them some bottled water that is actually Havana tap water, the tourist becomes violently ill and pretends he know what got him ill - the spicy food or perhaps the fish.

So the cycle begins all over again. These tourists continue to pretend that they do not keep Raul in power with their tourist hard currency.

However, soon tourists will start to die from this third world treatment disguised as healthy accommodations and then maybe these tourists will finally grow up and quit pretending.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Interesting post. Any idea just how big the problem is or in what part of Cuba? I’m sure these things happen but is it like 10% of the industry or more?

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Posted: 25 June 2007 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Which service ?
Those are hard cold facts all over Cuba

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Posted: 26 June 2007 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Wajiro..

I have to agree with your post, although I’m not sure if the Cuban authorities would be busy posting hoax reviews on web sites. (I know a few restaurants that do that kind of thing in the UK)...

My last three visits to Cuba, (the first one I went solo) gave an insight into the reality of life in Cuba, more especially in Havana…I was lucky in that I hooked up with sound people. I never experienced any mugging or thieving, sure one or two people asked for money to buy powdered milk for their babies etc. I obliged, after all I was in their country as a guest and I was in a privileged position…one guy’s wife waved to me from the balcony after her husband had ran up the stairs and given her the ten dollars. But I honestly get more bother in London from than I ever do in Cuba, for example I felt relatively safe walking alone back to my hotel in Havana at gone 3.00am than I would in London or many provincial towns and cities in the UK.

My impressions are always that generally the Cuban people are very dignified, I was an easy target many a time for a potential thief/robbery but looking back I never once encountered an issue or indeed picked up any uncomfortable vibes. Even though it was apparent that swathes of Havana is ghetto.
Regarding the tourism industry per say in Cuba, we must remember that Cuba is nowhere near a service economy, as we would understand it. The generation employed in the tourist industry, has never experienced the service levels that we are accustomed to say in the States or Europe, the industry is still relatively young and under funded. The surly service given on Air Cubana is a good indication of what generally awaits at the big hotels. In fact from my experiences I cannot understand why people would want to go to Cuba and stay in a tourist complex like Varadero, itís just not Cuba.

I always remember the comment made that Cubans are too busy trying to make a living to work. If I was living in Cuba I would be ducking and diving trying to make a little more here and there. I wouldnít be working 30/40 hours a week for 15/20 dollars a month, although some of them do just that.

To understand the real Cuba one must befriend the locals and venture off track, get to know the real Cubans. They may not be materially well off but they are rich in spirit and heart there is no doubt. They are stuck in the middle of a power game between their charismatic leader and their neighbours to the north. Itís the Cuban people who will ultimately do justice to Cuba.

Ed

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Posted: 26 June 2007 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Good post. I hope the Cuban people are well rewarded for their struggle.

I have heard about people from the Cuban government posting to travel sites and have read some GLOWING reviews of places that others have said to stay away from.

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Posted: 03 July 2007 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wajiro, when was the last time you were in Cuba ?  I have found the Cuban people to be honest ,dignified, and very proud people ....and I am not “pretending”

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Posted: 03 July 2007 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mako - 03 July 2007 05:48 PM

Wajiro, when was the last time you were in Cuba ?  I have found the Cuban people to be honest ,dignified, and very proud people ....and I am not “pretending”

This past Friday and Got back today, people are very upset , that no changes have taken place, except more police presence and persecution of those that sell goods.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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“Very upset” ????  Perhaps many are .
The emotion I see more of is resignation. I see no imminent insurrection on the way. The people appear more resigned to the fact that there will be little or no change until the brothers take the long hard “dirt nap”

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Posted: 05 July 2007 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Will the announcement of Fidel’s death spark an uprising and/or influencing factors from the outside to pressure Raul to mishandle the situation? Mako, I know you have commented on this but I am curious to hear what Mako thinks about my thoughts of chaos in Cuba after the announcement of Fidel’s death as I posted here http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/why-there-will-be-chaos-after-fidel-castro-death-prediction-9875/

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Posted: 09 July 2007 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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you’re right in some ways and way off in others in my opinion.
True 4 and 5 star hotels in Cuba often do nowhere near compare with their counterparts in, say Mexico.
Things do break, run out and are sometimes more run down than should be.
Some tourists complain, others accept things; some come back, others don’t.

Never stayed in one of those 4 or 5 stars so cant give from personal experience. I stay in a 2-1/2 star hotel and find I get good bang for the buck. Been twice and plan on going back.

Am sure some hotel managers/employees post raving reviews for their hotels - don’t know if it also happens from further up the food chain.  Am equally sure that some American interests post damning posts to these same forums.

Although many people do feel that the food isn’t one of Cuba’s greatest assets, don’t beleive that nearly as many get sick as you paint.  Am sure more tourists become ill from over drinking at the all-inclusive resorsts rather than from the food.Same with water.  Yes a scam is that some people sell bottled tap water as mineral water, but thats the exception rather than the rule.

Yes tourists do support a totalitarian regime, but then did so in Turley and Greece when the junta putsched there; also they had no problems taking holidays in Spain and Jugoslavia when dictators Franco and Tito were running those countries - Cuba is just another example.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Also we are used to sophisticated holiday destinations with all the trappings you would expect of the west. People who go to Cuba and come home complaining about food/hotels/service etc frankly are a gtad ignorant and would be better off in Cancun or the Maldives.

In time it will improve however, the tourism industry in Cuba is relatively young.

You can’t beat good home cooking, my mother - in - law cooks up the best frijole negro, pork and tostones you will taste anywhere in Havana.

grin

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Posted: 09 July 2007 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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in another forum i coined a phrase (actually tolen from a canadian beer add with minor modification):

those that love it, love it a lot.

You don’t need to make excuses to enjoy cuba as a tourist, be it at a 5 * resort, or if you go native and enjoy CPs - but you do need to make adjustments - tehn your experiences will be much more richful.
But if you’re blinded to teh problems of this island, you’re definitely a visitor to Fantasy Island.

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