– Cuber

(2015)

Opposed to western travel media outlets and romantic notions of the European left, Cuba is a run down island, always on the verge of collapse. The only factories still running seem to be rolling cigars or producing rum, shop windows are empty, the countryside impoverished and Havanna crumbling. Additionally the Castro regime lost the fight against a two class society, with an emerging class of private hotel owners and tourist industry professionals who seem to be the only ones profiting from the allowance of private ownership in 2011. The romantic notion of Cuba is based on a time when the communists were not in power, a time of good life for many, including Americans who made Cuba their base for excess. This romanticism results in tourists getting driven around in Oldtimers, marveling at fin de ciècle buildings built when sugar was still a source of potential richness – and Cuba did not lay under a destructive ban by its biggest trading partner, the US. At the same time, blaming the US for all that went wrong on this island is an easy way for a regime that has its semi spies everywhere to keep up public support – or keep down another revolution that is. Exiling or killing all potential opponents, controlling media outlets, keeping the internet under strict control by making it accessible only for a few, separating average tourists from the vast majority of the Cuban people, making individual travel needlessly cumbersome and expensive all proved to be a successful way to stay in power in a country which was historically known for internal opposition to the powers in rule – a political mindset that has all but vanished. Not only the politically active mindset is lost but also culturally the island stagnates: people drinking that same old rum, smoking the same old cigars, listening to the same songs for decades – although one could argue that this is the crown of societal evolution anyhow. Marktets are ripe with vegetables, organically produced but tasteless most of the time. Decent food is hard to find. It seems Cubans themselves have lost all interest in changing their situation. To wait until the old rulers die, hoping for something better to follow seems to be the chosen line of resistance.