Golf Courses / Regina Coyula

A little less than fifty years ago, it was decided that a splendid school for the arts would be built on the Country Club golf course – why keep such a symbol of the bourgeoisie.

But now I have to let my friend Tony know that, if he waits a bit, he’ll be able to buy a little house for his retirement next to one of the 16 golf courses that are planned and approved to be built here in beautiful little Cuba. Some very nice, and judging from the plans, very expensive condominiums, with which we are betting on the arrival of the longed-for American tourists. They will be part of that Cuba shown on postcards, and will have a perimeter fence and security guards at the entrance.

I learned with amazement that these artificial paradises, so green and harmonious, are the opposite of sustainable development, as they require for their maintenance 800 gallons of water a day per acre – and this water does not come from the idyllic ponds that are so characteristic of such places. Each course would require, on a daily basis, the equivalent of the amount of water as that used by the population of a city like Camagüey.

Why Cuba? Because it doesn’t have the environmental laws that would prohibit this madness.

I don’t understand anything. The nuances of high politics and finance escape me, but the first two things that came to mind were questions of geography: Florida, whose swampy conditions have made it into the world capital of golf, and Santiago de Cuba, awaiting its promised water for fifty years.

September 5, 2010