Dear US travelers: Please don’t come to Cuba until you’ve understood these things

Doug Williams

With the melting of ice between American and Cuban governments in the recent years, the need for a renewed policy and a progressive narrative has become the need of the hour. Most of the North Americans know Cuba as a land of unfathomable animosity and hatred towards Americans.

Very few Americans know anything about Cuba other than Fidel Castro, Bay of Pigs and of course the Cuban cigars. Despite the fact that there is no limit to learning about a country and its culture following are some key points to remember before setting out for Cuba.

As you will notice most of the points mentioned here will be focussing on the hard-wired stereotypes that North Americans in general and rest of the world, in particular, have adopted and are not willing to let go anytime soon. So here is the bombshell; no matter where you travel to there will be people, maybe a bit different in complexion with strange cultural norms, they will be people very much like you.

Cubans are no exceptions; despite the widely held notions that Cubans are a bunch of brainwashed commies, most of the people are hard working class people who simply want to get on with their lives and enjoy a tranquil life.

Having said that, you will be surprised to see the influence of the so-called ‘western norms’ on the lives of ordinary Cubans. For instance, you can easily find a Game of Thrones fan sitting in a café next to you or traveling in the local bus. The infiltration of American icons such as Rocky, Monroe and Charlie Chaplin into the contemporary Cuban arts says volumes about the strange marriage of west with the Cubans’ collective psychology.

Sure Cuba is poor by the western standards however Cubans are not poor at all. The average monthly wages of a Cuban are predicted to be somewhere between $20 and $25 which surely raise a few eye brows in the west. However, this equation is missing some crucial information that once put in place changes the structure of the conclusion.

And that crucial factor is the presence of health benefits, subsidiaries on foods and utilities, housing benefits and all that with much less autocracy and hassle. Experts agree that considering the collective benefit an average Cuban receives it is safe to suggest that in most cases a Cuban lives a much prosperous and peaceful life than those living in America and rest of the western world, Matador Network reported.

This may come as a surprise to many, but travel enthusiasts are well aware of the fact the Cuba is already functioning well above its capacity when it comes to tourism. Though North Americans kept their curtains down on Cubans for most part of the last six decades for Cuba’s defiance to Capitalism and its political inclination towards Soviets; however, the rest of the world operated in a slightly different scale and visited Cuba in scores every year.

Cuban Tourism industry is thriving with more and more facilities and hotels being built around the coast and other famous tourists resorts. People understand the significance of tourism and are more than willing to go the extra mile to keep the guests pleased and fulfilled.

Do keep in mind that the whole narrative of Cubans living in the past is not just flawed its outright false. There is no shortage of intellectuals and academics who refer to Cubans as essentially the living fossils from the 50’s who haven’t progressed much and are living in a mentally secluded state.

The reality is far from it, however, it’s not how we perceive it to be. The life of Cubans stems out of necessity more than choice, but surely the progress is evident and is visible wherever you go. It is just that the idea of progress in the western world is very limited and confines it to a certain ‘ticking the box’ mentality which practically doesn’t hold any water in most part of the world.


fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival