They Deceived Us With Tourism

Luxury development along Varadero beach (

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marta Requeiro, 29 May 2017 — There was a time when I saw it as natural. I understood, to say it in a certain way, that Varadero beach was not ours despite its being in Cuban territory.

My unconscious viewed the image of that strip of land, like many, as if it were part of another country to be destined to the enjoyment of the foreign tourist. Economic progress was needed and in an island with favorable climate and geography the resources are mainly provided by tourism, hence even feeling proud of it.

But the years go by and as part of a macabre plan the areas where ordinary Cubans live are deteriorating, and in contrast every day the are more tourist centers supplied with amenities, luxuries and the latest technology to better serve the foreign visitor. They put make up on facades so that people who come to visit don’t see how the rest is falling down little by little.

Once, with my family, we “dressed like tourists” and started to enjoy the, until then, unknown part of Cuba. We arrived with the children who we’d warned ahead of time about how to behave and carry themselves, and we got there on transport from Havana, planning to spend an exquisite day.

The place was full of persecutors and police who did not hesitate to return a ball to the son of a tourist but at the same time were “programmed” to detect and prevent Cubans and their children from swimming in the transparent waters of the spa.

Before long, we were detected by two police officers who ordered us to leave the area, as if we were criminals, and told us to go to Santa Marta, the village beach.

Today, Varadero is even more elitist, restricted and impassable.

Today a citizen struggles to get some bricks or some cement to repair their crumbling house and, even more painful, foreign companies are hired to carry out the construction of tourist hotels, preventing a professional or a national worker from earning a better salary.

We were deceived and it is time to stop believing that the profits that the tourism leaves will trickle down to the people and the most needy.