Are Cubans Happy?

Much as travelers may try not to make sweeping conclusions based on superficial observations, happiness is a common attribute applied to Cubans by foreign visitors to the island. In this reflective essay, writer and tango aficionado Maraya Loza Koxahn shares her experiences in Cuba and thoughts on happiness as viewed through the lens of music and dance. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Keep the Americans out of Cuba

by Patricia McGregor

Now that the US ban on Cuba travel seems about to disappear, and hordes of American travelers are poised to save Cuba from itself, I say, keep the ban. It will make very little impact on the average Cuban’s lifestyle and merely serve to line the pockets of the rich.

photo via Flickr by Robyn JayFor periods of time over the last four years I have lived with a musician in Havana. Because of him, my Spanish improves and his friends become my friends. I live like he does. I become Cubana.

Parties and discussions are our entertainment. His friends feel that they have nothing to gain by having American tourists in the country. Tourist money will not filter down to them.

Although there are many hotels, with the current tourist numbers it is often difficult to make a reservation. An influx of Americans (one estimate is 1 million per year) will put pressure on the tourist infrastructure.

Where will they stay? If they bump out tourists already on a Cuban holiday routine, hostility will surely grow.

New hotels will have to be built. Most Cuban hotels, like the Sol chain, are financed by foreign interests. Are these companies stretched to their last euro in this time of financial difficulties? Will they start up dozens of projects only to abandon them half-built? Will American companies be allowed to invest? Construction workers and such might be busy for a while, and then it will be back to the old life. If they are thrifty, they will save the money. There is no unemployment insurance.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...