The development of Cuba will happen almost overnight with the lift of the United States embargo. Businesses will enter the country creating jobs and ultimately bringing more money into the economy.
“Starwood Hotels and Resorts has announced that it has signed three hotel deals in Cuba, the first time a U.S. hotel company has done so in almost 60 years.”
This is a picture of the hotel Inglaterra the the Starwood Hotels and Resorts plans to renovate to include into heir luxury hotel chain.
Tourism is a huge part of the current Cuban economy and so building hotels under familiar names and with universal standards will entice more foreigners to visit. However, there is a catch. With tourism making up so much of Cuba’s existing revenue, many downsides come with this industry that are not brought to light. One huge issue with tourism that will ultimately impact the development of Cuba is prostitution. In Cuba, prostitution is not illegal and the market for prostitution is lucrative because the costs are so low compared to other Caribbean countries and HIV/AIDS rates are so low as well.
In Cuba, it is very common for middle aged/older Canadian men to fly to Cuba frequently for companionship. Walking into hotel lobbies, many young women sit at bars waiting for older men to buy their time. Foreigners can pay as little as $30 a night for time with a prostitute which doesn’t sound like much however with “Salaries at government jobs in Cuba averaging about $20 a month” making this in one night is a game changer. Although the immediate funds are a huge motivating factor for women, in the long run, many hope the prostituting will lead to them securing a visa and being able to leave Cuba all together.
With the laws not being as strictly enforced for prostitution, girls and boys of all ages are involved in this exchange. Girls and boys as young as 4 are sold for acts such as fondling to full intercourse. Although prostitution of a minor can hold charges up to 25 years if prosecuted, many police officers can be bribed so not many cases are charged.
The influx of tourist interest from Americans and how fast the economy will expand is scary. If the laws enforcement in Cuba does not catchup to its potential growth, the country will divert to its last economic peak which was heavily influenced by Mafia business.
The following video is an interview of the author who speaks on the Mafia’s influence on Cuba in the 1950s:
With this you see how powerful the American dollar was in controlling not just law enforcement but the government. A huge threat to the future growth of Cuba is how this expansion will experience growing pains as many citizens will be presented with unethical funds that will be hard to deny.
Cuba hikes salaries for doctors, nurses to as much as $67 a month | Fox News. (2014, March 21). Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/21/cuba-hikes-salaries-for-doctors-nurses-to-as-much-as-67-month.html
How Cuba became the newest hotbed for tourists craving sex with minors. (2013, March 16). Retrieved April 16, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1948284.html
James McTurk: Portrait of an alleged sex tourist in Cuba. (2013, March 16). Retrieved April 16, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1948277.html
Trejos, N. (2016, March 21). Starwood: 1st U.S. company to run Cuba hotels in decades. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/roadwarriorvoices/2016/03/19/starwood-become-first-us-hotel-company-run-cuba-hotels-decades/82040434/