• Short Summary

    The second of our reports on 'Cuba - Five Years After the Revolution' - deals with the virtual disappearance of the 'old style' tourist industry of this island in the sun.

  • Description

    Passengers aboard aircraft - man studies Cuban brochure.

    Passengers leave aircraft towards Havana airport building.

    Cuban shore line - monument to friendship with U.S. - Missing Eagle.

    Street scenes - girls pass Hotel - Militia on guard - U.S. cars in car park - empty beaches - empty motels, deserted hotel entrance

    The Verado Hotel - Russians dancing - Russians and Cubans on terrace.

    Bay of Pigs trenches and fortifications

    Old Spanish palace - interior - statue of Christopher Columbus - Presidential Palace - guard outside.

    Yacht Club - trophies

    Country Club

    Russian Circus artist dives into swimming pool - caddies playing golf.

    Russian girl and Cuban pilot learning Spanish/Russian

    Girl sings revolutionary song

    Monument of Jose Marti - houses built after revolution - children playing

    People and traffic in streets - interior Woolworth

    Local and Eastern block newspapers on sale

    Russians and Cubans on beach.

    Hemmingway's house - picture of Hemmingway on magazine cover - Hemmingway study, handwriting - picture of wife - painting.

    Poorer type wooden houses - small farm

    Castro poster pan down to religious statues in window - bust of Castro

    People and traffic along street evening - neon signs - people dine in restaurants - neon signs.

    Neon sign Tropicana - night club floor show sequence.

    Initials JM/V/WS/SGM

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The second of our reports on 'Cuba - Five Years After the Revolution' - deals with the virtual disappearance of the 'old style' tourist industry of this island in the sun. Before Dr. Castro came to power the island was heavily dependent on the luxury tourist trade, and especially rich North Americans, who regarded Cuba as an extension of the Florida and Miami holiday playgrounds. Then New York was only a few hours away from Havana - now they are worlds apart.

    Visitors to Cuba these days are diplomats and delegations, trade and aid missions, technicians and experts, who go there with the specific object of working and offering advice on the new developments of the island's economy. They are there to do a job, relaxation and tourism is only of incidental importance.

    SYNOPSIS: These are the people who fly to Cuba today: East European diplomats and their families; Russian trade and aid delegations; scientific, technical and agricultural experts on their way to live and work in Cuba for a couple of years...

    They arrive in Havana to do a job, and not like the former type of visitor the rich North Americans in search of the sun and high life. Before the revolution Havana was just a few hours away from New York; now its a world away...

    A new situation symbolised by the former monument to Cuban-American friendship - now with the American eagle broken from the top...And symbolised in far more economic terms by skyscraper hotels, built to cater for the luxury tourist trade, many of which are now empty or converted into student hostels. And the American cars many of them grinding to a halt for what of American spare parts. Empty hotels and empty beaches.

    Visitors or temporary residents - many of them from behind the Iron Curtain - live modestly, with all the comforts but without the excesses...

    Here's one beach many of them visit - along the now world famous Bay of Pigs - scene of the abortive invasion in 1961, the only serious attempt to overthrow Dr. Castro's regime since he came to power.

    The tourists of old might not come to Cuba, but some of the former attractions and sights remain...The old Spanish Palace, for centuries the home of the island's Spanish Governors, now home of the Havana City Council...And the statue of Christopher Columbus...

    The once highly exclusive country club remains - but there is a very different atmosphere there nowadays. Now visiting technicians or this Russian circus artist relax...Cuban caddies play the golf course where once they carried the bags of North American millionaires... Cubans and Russians give each other language lessons...

    But while present day visitors are nearly all workers there's still a demand for sight-seeing trips - especially when there's a charming Cuban girl to sing the island's revolutionary songs.

    A sight-seeing 'must' is the Plaza de la Revolution where Dr. Castro makes many of his big speeches...Rather different: the new part of Havana built since the revolution to provide modern accommodation for the workers of the city. In return they pay 10 per cent of their income in rent...

    No luxury tourists - and no luxury shops either in a Cuba where clothes and food are strictly rationed...For the inhabitants, and especially the women of Havana there's not a great deal of scope for the fashion flair...Nevertheless they manage to overcome the difficulties in a rather eye-catching way...

    East European papers and books are on sale on the news stalls - very often translated into Spanish...

    But even with a revolution underway, in a country with a climate like Cuba, there's obviously got to be time for reflection and relaxation on the beach...

    For visitors with a taste for literature, there's a pilgrimage to be made to Ernest Hemmingway's house - now called the Hemmingway Museum, and looked after by the state. In the writing room a specimen of his handwriting, alongside a picture of his fourth wife Mary. Things here at any don't seem to have changed much...

    Nor has the Cuban countryside changed much in the five years since the revolution triumphed - in spite of extensive land reforms... And although there's increasing emphasis on serving the state and the secular side of life generally, many people go to church regularly and still manage to fit into the new order of things...

    Although only a pale glimmer of its former ultra-glamorous self, Havana still manages to brighten up at night...Food may be short but there are restaurants where you can dine reasonably well - at a price, and nightclubs, which although not as exotic as they used to be, still offer entertainment of sorts... There are about 40 listed night clubs in Havana, many of them state-owned with artists, dressers and barmen alike, all employed by the state...The Caribbean beat from the depths of a nightclub, whether state owned or not, underlines the point that whatever else Cubans may have had to sacrifice for the good of the revolution, they've not lost their zest for enjoying themselves...

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