Reading the different articles in the press or watching International News programs it seems that with the reopening of the US Embassy in Cuba has resolved all the problems between the two countries which in the past years were protagonists of the so-called Cold War. The truth is quite different. And to realize it, it would be enough to travel to the Caribbean island, even for a short period.
The visit cannot but begin from one of the most beautiful islands near Cuba: Caius Largo. The airport looks like one of those reserved to Italian super lightweight. After landing, bellied policemen and cocker type little dogs will meet you at the customs. Their controls seem to be more interested in the tourists’ ‘pampering’ rather than in drugs.
The impact is pleasant: places are heavenly and people are welcoming and friendly, making thus your stay unique and charming. In this period the sun, sporadic showers, and wind will not abandon you. Besides, at any time of the day, exciting Caribbean music, that is, salsa, will entertain you.
Everything seems perfect at a first glance. The “confidentiality” of the residents, however, does not leave much room for the visitors’ curiosity and the most common answer is that “with Raul things are getting better”. Then a waiter or a skipper, perhaps under the effect of a glass of rum, which people drink as if it were water here, indulges in some appreciations on the meager salary that nonetheless allows him to lead a decorous existence on an island with a blue sea and the whitest beaches.
A hymn to life and granted seems to be also thanking good Lord who has been particularly generous with this land where He has no residence. The language commonly spoken is Spanish, but Italian seems to be their second language: in fact there are many tourists who fleeing the economic crisis in Italy (?!), do not find it hard to adapt to hotels that are far from being four star structures.
Even electricity is rationed, low lights which contribute to enhancing the holiday mood on an island that is still untouched by progress and consumerism. Whereas young people take advantage of ‘private’ houses rented with Government’s licence, which are certainly cheaper than Villages managed by tour operators.
I wonder wether Cuba is going to change when the embargo will be removed and “los americanos” will bring their heavy money but also the consumerism which goes with it… I wonder whether Che Guevara, who loved this land so much, would have preferred to keep it that way: “poorer”, but perhaps more beautiful because they respected the nature of the place and the dignity of its the people, who today, even with their meager salary, live with a smile on their face and have a “Hola” ready for anyone…
The wind caresses palm trees, the sun goes down to rest and music fills warm air: Hola, Caius Largo. I wonder whether I will have the opportunity to see you again and especially whether in a few years you are going to be El Che’s island … or become the Miami beach of the Caribbean Sea.