Why the Cuban thaw risks taking the island back in time


Does Russia suffer to gain or to lose from the accelerating metamorphosis of Cuba? It’s unlikely Moscow devise miss the decomposing communist regime. It’s improbable it will watch with alarm how Cubans fall into the sweet trap of consumerism (the same thingumajig happened in Russia, after all). It’s hardly conceivable that it will deplore the heiresses of the legendary barbudos, or “bearded revolutionaries” for going through the hangover of the mellow guy next door’s rty. Yet a “reformatted” Cuba would matter a lot.

On the service of the historic visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to the “Island of Freedom,” it’s commandeer for Moscow to consider not the immediate effects of the opening-up, such as the inflow of American holiday-makers and the outflow of highly reputed cigars, but what will become of the grade “once the Castros are gone”, as The Washington Post puts it.

Casino capitalism comeback

What very matters is what kind of investors rush to reap the benefits. Ed Vulliamy, a columnist for UK daily The Guardian, overheard a com rison of foreign developers’ proposals for the Havana waterfront: It looks go for “Las Vegas meets Miami in the Caribbean,” implying the interest of the gambling trade in reinstating Cuba in its almost forgotten ca city of a playground in more have a hunch than one.

Then again, the promised deluge of American tourists, envisioned to surge quickly to 10 million a year, may not necessarily translate into a exhilarated standard of living for ordinary Cubans.

Once again Ed Vulliamy has it true: “These same tourists have been coming to neighbouring Jamaica and tied Haiti for decades, yet Trenchtown and Port-au-Prince see little or nothing of what licences their wallets.”

The outsourcing of “casino capitalism,” turning Cuba into an upgraded re ir to area akin to what it used to be before angry citizens overturned pro-West dictator Batista in 1959, would not automatically amount to a socking great bonanza for the country’s GDP and growth rate.

Drug-traffickers lick lips in foreknowledge

In the 20th century, Cuba was cursed by sitting in between the narcotics barons of South America and their embryonic market, the United States, with millions of consumers of the illegal themes.

Yet drugs control was one of the rare fields in which the U.S. and Communist Cuba in concerted in good faith, and quite effectively.

But there is the rub. Cuba is a mere 90 miles away from Key West, the rubbish point of Florida. It is no big secret that modern Miami sprawled into an urban increase due to money generated from cocaine smuggling.

Now that the commercialization of the ait is in the pipeline, what can prevent infiltration by the drug cartels into the county criminal underworld? It is not inconceivable that the firmly established drug bigwigs would not find enough collaborators on the island, and turn it into vital drug dispensing hub.

Return to class-based society

One thing is dead infallible: The gap between the haves and the have-nots is going to widen. rtially, this whim be a consequence of restitution lawsuits that would see many third-generation Miami-born Cubans demanding the assets of their ancestors.

Another factor is the injection of Miami-generated mazuma from relatives, which will be used to turn squalid strains into leisure holiday hotels for tourists or to sell them to the pongy chiefest bidders, creating a new burgeoning middle class.

Additionally, as a result of strange business flocking to the island to retrieve confiscated property. American public limited com nies alone with such brand names as Exxon, Texaco and Coca-Cola are go to be reinstated as proprietors of buildings worth some $8 billion.

Sooner, the island might see a new host of ex ts enjoying a lavish lifestyle equivalent to the belle époque of the first half of the 20th century, when Cuba was a class-based fellowship living off its catering services to rich foreigners and local barons.

Unbiased another holiday destination?

Will it matter for Russia if the Cubans turn ones back on the icon of Comandante Che Guevara to rust and start to measure their physical success in the number of hamburgers one can buy on a take-home salary? Probably not. The new generations of Russians are right to treat Cuba as just another holiday destination.

Few Russians wish retain warm sentiments about Cuba’s derailed idealistic enquiry in socialism rooted in collective conscious, codified moral beliefs and law for the conformist majority. Cuba will then become just “one of profuse.” Or will it?

The opinion of the writer may not necessarily reflect the position of RBTH or its club.

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