Cuba must preserve its identity

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Cuba remains one of the most idyllic and unexplored islands within the Caribbean Basin. It possesses a unique beauty, vibrancy and history that is in no way synonymous with any other country, and as such a deliberate effort must be undertaken to preserve the fabric of this nation at all costs.

Many large companies and entrepreneurs across the world are now hastily turning their attention to this once-stagnant economy. It is evident that Cuba is booming in its major sectors and industries with the rapid development of private entities such as restaurants, hotels and spas, supermarkets, among other businesses. This burgeoning private sector is the country's most notable effort at reviving its economy since the revolution.

I am extremely impressed with the recent initiatives undertaken by the Cuban Government to open its economy partially to foreign entrepreneurs and stakeholders in an effort to reinvigorate, revitalise and create more fruitful opportunities both economically and socially. It is hoped that the policies and regulations formulated by one of the world's last communist nations will remain largely intact so that the essence of its culture and history will never be weakened or eroded.

The 16th staging of the Expo Caribe International Trade Fair, being held in Santiago de Cuba currently after a break of 11 years, highlights that there is strong investor confidence and interest in the Cuban market in the international arena. Exporters and importers from over 22 countries will take part.

Cuba, despite its deep-rooted economic and social challenges, always ensures it places the interest of its people and country first. This is, in fact, how all governments should operate — country first!

There are numerous instances across the world of foreign entities operating in other countries where citizens are abused due to overwork and income disparities. These entities also, in many cases, instead of incorporating cultural facets of the host nation, seek to demolish and remodel the extravagant and beautiful architecture and landscape which speak so vividly to heritage and history.

Every country should strive to remain unique, always embracing its rich history and culture. It's how one gains the most authentic feel of any nation. Beauty exists not in sameness but in difference. If you visit several different countries, you ought to be greeted with several exclusive experiences. This, might I add, is the main key to increasing tourist arrival rates. Too many times the same replicas of hotels, inns, guest houses and attractions are displayed which are devoid of symbolism of a country's culture and triumphs.

Yes, we are required to change and adapt at times, but never to the extent that we abrade the essence of our distinctiveness.

Cuba is, indeed, a rare gem. It is hoped that Cuba's president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and his team will continue to embrace its powerful sovereignty, while responsibly modernising the economic and social model.

Tara Henry

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