Of Euphoria in the Streets and the Cuban Reality / Juan Juan Almeida #Cuba

This Monday, January 14, many news agencies paid special attention to the implementation of the anticipated migratory relaxation that eliminates restrictions for Cubans to take trips abroad.

And it was logical, although I doubt that “the exit prohibition” will stop being applied by the Cuban government as a control, sanction or coercive measure to those citizens whom I will not mention now because you are quite familiar; it is interesting to know that Cubans may (at least according to the law), travel abroad with only their passport and, if appropriate, the visa that the destination country may demand.

But look, let’s put everything where it goes, we must not confuse this euphoria in the streets with the Cuban reality. The Government, using this measure as an anti-depressant for desolate times, is returning to its owners what it should never have stolen from them: the basic right to emigrate and to travel abroad. It is not a change of policy, it is a Kafkaesque metamorphosis.

Charity is good business. It is true that this measure seems an act of generosity, but it is purely economic. We are only witnessing another usual uproar of marketing and deception, organized by the same people who spent years trafficking mercilessly in the illusion of the Cuban people.

Let’s look at a little history. A while back the low demand of passengers and the worse direction of the country caused a big impact on the operational costs of Cuban Aviation. The country’s air transport was completely broke. Cuba was without airplanes and had to sell its sky, its transoceanic and domestic routes.

It was then that foreign businesses (and exiled Cubans) helped resuscitate a dead man who did not want to close his eyes. The matrimonial well-being of these foreign companies lasted a short while with the olive-green monarchy, on feeling itself reanimated but very pressured by international companies, and intense and voracious in their ambitions, remembered that its “business” was not in the price of the letter of invitation, the white card or the exit permit, but in the juicy earnings that the sale of passages in a monopolistic regime could bring in.

The refrain says it well, “The rooster never remembers when it was a chicken.” It is because of that that today, with the obscene quantity of millions of dollars annually that come from Venezuela, Cuba restores its air park and stimulates, through “the approval of this migratory maneuver publicized as human decency,” an urgent flow of desperate travellers obliged to buy round-trip passage.

And, being poorly planned, maybe that is why last November they withdrew the travel permits of the Airline Brokers agencies, whose company operated seven weekly flights from airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale to Havana and Cienfuegos; and of C&T Charters.

Does it seem a coincidence that, after thousands of Cubans have become nationalized Spaniards, Friday, December 7, the giant Iberia would announce the cancellation of its flights to Cuba because of poor passenger traffic heading to Spain?

No, it is all a question of money. I do not need to go to Africa to recognize these vultures who from the cross prefer the nails.

Translated by mlk

January 15 2013