Russia will be the Guest of Honour at the Cuban Tourism Fair, Whatever Happens in Ukraine

The Tourism Fair announced Russia as the host in 2019. (Mintur / File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, March 2nd, 2022 – Just as if nothing had happened, or, even worse, taking advantage of the moment in which everybody is rejecting Moscow to position themselves as an unwavering friend, the Cuban tourism authorities are more than happy about having chosen Russia as the invited guest of honour at FitCuba 2022.

The tourism fair had announced its host in 2019 with the idea of exploiting a market sector which was then growing vigorously, but with the arrival of the pandemic the event was cancelled for two consecutive years and finally will take place between May 3rd and 7th in Varadero.

At a time when Russia is marginalised both in the cultural and sporting spheres, Cuba is a long way from reconsidering  who should be the guest of honour  and neither is it worried about whether or not the guest will be able to get to the island, now that nearly all the country’s airlines have cancelled their flights because of the sanctions which forbid overflying most of the northwest hemisphere.

The decision to bar Russia from social, cultural and sporting events has provoked derision from those who consider that it is a ridiculous measure, but it has hurt the Kremlin. This very morning, chancellor Sergei Lavrov has recognised that they can expect sanctions because of the invasion – or, military operation as they call it – but not that it would be extended to artists and sportsmen. According to the experts, these kinds of decisions are powerful in symbolising isolation but also have a practical effect: in making it clearly visible to Russian people that something is happening.

In a press conference about the nautical events expected in 2022, the authorities were asked by FitCuba about the possible repercussions of the “international context” on the Russian  tourist presence in Varadero in only two months, but sources close to Moscow authorities – according to Cubadebate – consider that there won’t be any problem.

The answer did not refer to the remote idea of being questioned before an international community committed to supporting Ukraine against its aggressor, but rather to the fact that, although the guests cannot travel, it is clearly demonstrated, thanks to the pandemic, that online events can work just as well as face-to-face ones.

“The whole world has managed virtual events and, if there can’t be physical presence, there can still be professional and commerical interchange” says the official press.

The position fits with that of the government in the conflict, although finally Cuba has decided to abstain in voting on the United Nations General Assembly text against the Russian invasion which was overwhelmingly approved this Wednesday in New York.

In his address this Tuesday, Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuban permanent representative to the United Nations, again rejected any use of force by NATO and blamed it for its “expansionist efforts” which provoked the Russian response. And although he did not go as far  – at least publicly – as Nicolás Maduro, who called Vladmir Putin to convey the “firm support” of Venezuela, nor recognised the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk which brought about the outbreak of Russian hostilities, the Cuban regime’s media and diplomatic deployment continues to be in Moscow’s favour.

Among the nautical events presented yesterday, there is a new offer: a new diving centre developed by the Russian company Siberian Diving and the Marlin Marine and Nautical Company of Cuba.

Nevertheless, in the current scenario, when the Russian stock market has been closed for three days to contain the bloodbath resulting from international sanctions, the Russian partner is wobbling as a source of supply.

Translated by GH


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