Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wish you were here. Again.

When it comes to enticing those all-important, cash-carrying tourists, it seems the Castro regime will do whatever it takes.

Separate tourists-only hotels? No worries. Don’t want to queue at restaurants, cafes and cabarets like ordinary Cubans? Just flash your euros and walk right in. Not happy being approached at the beach by Cuban kids asking for a dollar? It’s fine – we will send more police on patrol.

Now there is news that the regime has decided it will allow cruise ships back into Cuban ports, despite earlier criticism from none other than Fidel Castro himself.

According to a report out of Havana, the Minister for Tourism, Manuel Marrero, confirmed that cruise ships will be welcomed back to Cuba - provided they do not damage the environment, leave some money behind and result in “cultural exchange”.

A far cry from remarks made just two years ago by Castro, who described cruise companies as parasites.

“We have these floating hotels, with their floating restaurants and their floating entertainment, visiting poor countries just so they can leave behind their rubbish, their empty cans and used toilet paper, for a few miserable cents,” the 80 year old dictator said then.

Asked by a foreign journalist about the obvious shift, the Minister hurried to explain that while it might look like movement, the new edit was definitely in line with the views of the Comandante en Jefe.

“There is no contradiction,” he added. As you would expect ...


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