Yesterday In Havana - The other grandsons at the Kempinski ...


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I was quite surprised to watch this video today by a Cuban "influencer" about meeting up with friends at the Havana Kempinski yesterday, nobody wearing a mask, everybody happy drinking French red wine and the room costing 360US$ a night special ( down from 580US$ regular price they say ) and the lady saying that she just went there to buy cigarettes there and ask about the Spa and just made a reservation as only Hotel guests can use the pool terrace and Spa ...

While the area below the terrace looks quite empty and deserted , I am truly fascinated/disgusted by this almost obscene show in the "upper floors" ...

Looks like there are a lot of "grandsons living it up" even without a Castro surname in Havana...

 

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Pedrito parece que si es un paquetero. 

Cause run of the mill Cubans have $1000 USD to blow on a weekend. So inviting Cubans to go there to have a $3 dollar (75 CUP) espresso... I'm sure the line is around the corner. 

Propaganda!

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9 hours ago, ElJavi76 said:

Pedrito parece que si es un paquetero. 

Cause run of the mill Cubans have $1000 USD to blow on a weekend. So inviting Cubans to go there to have a $3 dollar (75 CUP) espresso... I'm sure the line is around the corner. 

Propaganda!

You forgot to mention that this cheap Charlie also says you can spend an hour on the pool deck while sipping an espresso ....

True story : I frequently saw a German expat at the Melia Habana lounge watching German tv DW every day there and ordering one cafe con leche for his 3 hr visits. He would refill the cup from a thermos in his backpack and always smoke his own cigars ....

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I'm disgusted that the Kempinski has Jameson listed under "American Whiskeys" on their menu.

Seriously though, Cuba for a long time has been a country of extremes regarding social groups and desire to be part of one, with mikis and frikis and repas etc. I've lost count. I used to think I was "in the know" when I knew what Farandula meant, or thought I knew. Over the last few years, I'm hearing the term "Royal family" used in Cuba more often and grudgingly.

That's not going to change with a pandemic and economic upheaval.

 

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@Ryan  You are right Andy - first time I heard "Royal family" for the Castro family clan was referring to their love of Sushi and having an extra room at Santy's, the Jaimanitas Paladar around the corner from their Ground Zero residence.

I found the 2016 article again :

Cuando lo supe por “Radio Bemba” no lo creí: ¡una de las paladares más caras de Cuba, especializada en comida japonesa y situada en una callejuela de Jaimanitas, es la preferida de la Familia Real cubana!

https://www.radiotelevisionmarti.com/a/la-familia-castro-prefiere-el-sushi/122105.html

I guess Farandula is just you & me & the regular folks at Espacios ... 🙂

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A very good study presented by German International tv Deutsche Welle (DW) about who's rich in Cuba :
https://www.dw.com/es/sandro-castro-en-un-mercedes-benz-quiénes-son-los-ricos-en-cuba/a-56818757

Sandro Castro in a Mercedes Benz: who are the rich in Cuba?

Videos of Sandro Castro, Fidel Castro's grandson, recently went viral on social networks. What questions about the distribution of wealth in Cuba do they put on the table?

DW spoke with Cuban economists. “You know that we are simple, but from time to time you have to take out these toys that we have at home,” Sandro Castro boasts as he drives a Mercedes Benz and asks his companion to film it.

The video, leaked to social networks a week ago, caused a stir in a country now more connected to the internet, which is suffering a deep economic crisis, and a monetary, wage and pension reform, in addition to the current coronavirus pandemic.

So much so that Fidel Castro's grandson - to whom Cuban non-state media attribute the ownership of several renowned bars in Havana - published a second video, apologizing to "all Cubans, wherever they may be" and assuring that the vehicle was borrowed.

Cuba changed.

In 62 years, a Castro or leader has never publicly apologized for his good life while the people are sinking into misery, "the dissident artist and activist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara reacted on Twitter.

And he was not the only one to point out the particular pressure to which the Government of Havana would be subjected, although it is not the first time that images of the Castro family have created controversy on social networks.

In addition to pointing to the economic situation, voices like that of Alcántara insist on the political pressure added by some recent and also unprecedented public protests by artists and activists since November.

“The display of a good that is a luxury in Cuba - because in Cuba having a car is a luxury, and more a modern car - supposes a tremendous lack of respect for the Cuban people.

Sandro is not a child like any other, Sandro is the grandson of the person who for decades imposed deprivations on the Cuban people and promoted sacrifice, disinterest, voluntary work, absolute dedication to a political project, even at the cost of dreams individuals and our affections, ”the Cuban independent journalist Mónica Baró recalled on Facebook.

Who are the rich in Cuba?

More than the wealth of the Castro family, the video "points to the hypocrisy of a socialist system in which drinking water is preached while drinking wine," says German political scientist Bert Hoffman, from the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, in an interview. with DW.

Obviously, and although there are blogs on the internet that supposedly uncover - without evidence or clear sources - millionaire fortunes of the Cuban nomenclature, "we are not talking about millions in Swiss banks," he warns.

But owning a car in Cuba is a luxury.

According to the official Cubadebate portal, the island was in 1958 the sixth country in the world in average number of cars per inhabitant (only surpassed by the US, Canada, Great Britain, Venezuela and West Germany).

However, according to the World Bank, Cuba has been in the last decade rather at the bottom of the region and the world, with a fleet of just 38 vehicles per thousand inhabitants, including trucks, buses, and not a few cars. very aged Soviets and Americans.

"Wealth has several attributes in Cuba: large house in specific areas, modern car, frequent trips abroad, including for pleasure, satisfaction in quality (not quantity) of basic needs", explains to DW Ricardo Torres Pérez, professor and researcher from the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy (CEEC), at the University of Havana.

However, there is "very little general data" on economic inequality in the country, and perhaps it is not by chance that "case studies, very focused on certain communities," predominate, Torres says.

Furthermore, "little of that investigation is public," he confirms.

This is visible in the "statistical blackout" with which Cuba tarnishes the ECLAC report "Social Panorama of Latin America 2020", laments Pedro Monreal, another renowned Cuban economist, on social media.

"In Cuba there are no public studies on income distribution, and there is no possibility of conducting free surveys, which limits research in this field," confirms to DW the also Cuban economist Mauricio De Miranda Parrondo, professor at the Javeriana University of Cali, in Colombia.

And he emphasizes that, although there are international poverty lines, the island calculates it according to national parameters. So it might as well at least do the same with wealth.

It is not clear how many and who are in possession of this Cuban “wealth”.

From Havana, Torres estimates that it could be one percent of the population: about 112,000 people, just over 30,000 households.

“But there is no single social group there. Sure there are civil servants, but also entrepreneurs, farmers, artists ”.

The economist from the University of Havana acknowledges that on the island there is even less research on "the privileges and wealth enjoyed by a specific group of people because they are close to the center of power."

But he considers that, "except for a very small group, the rest of the civil service nomenclature does not enjoy exorbitant privileges, and the reason may be that Cuba is a fairly poor country."

Many so-called top level management officials, deputy prime ministers or ministers, for example, "have no wealth of their own" beyond a house or apartment, and a Russian or Chinese car, "relatively modest in many cases that I know of," says Torres. .

“The day they stop holding that position, they become a fairly average citizen.

And this explains, although only in part, why they cling to the position: because it is the only way to have a significantly different standard of living than the average of the country and not worry about a lot of problems, "he says.

Privileged, with money or without money.

Both the volume and the origin of the wealth on the island, with an economy still centrally planned, differ markedly from those of other countries in the region.

Well, beyond the capital that drives the rampant corruption for which so many politicians from so many countries have been prosecuted and convicted, the richest class in Latin America is composed mainly of businessmen, the result of a historical process of accumulation of wealth interrupted in the island in 1959, Torres also recalls.

So, to account for inequality and privileges in an economy like the Cuban one, we must make use of non-monetary categories: “There is a non-negligible part of those privileges that has to do with physical access to goods, services or even properties, as well as possibilities of escaping certain regulations, which do not involve a monetary transaction.

And, therefore, they cannot be valued ”, acknowledges the Cuban economist.

Not only any income in foreign currency, but also “enjoying goods or services that are not available to the rest of society marks privileges.

And, in some cases, that could mean being considered rich in Cuban society, although not by international standards, in which, normally, wealth and economic privileges are associated with company property, real estate or land, "he agrees. From Miranda.

But, beyond the "uncovers" in social networks - in a country, in addition, without transparency about income and expenses of its public officials, and without freedom of the press -, "there is no way to prove it" with data, says Pavel Vidal , another renowned Cuban economist from La Javeriana, to DW.

“We know that the reforms widened the levels of inequality, which in the private sector earned around 10 times more than in the state sector.

But it is difficult to connect it with privileges, because the sources of capital for private businesses are dissimilar.

In joint ventures and foreign companies, revenues are also very high, and hiring in this sector is controlled by government employing agencies.

So there is a filter there. But there is no information on what that implies, ”insists Vidal.

Remittances, political connections and socialism.

The German political scientist Hoffmann, however, recently published a study on the reconfiguration of social classes on the island. His co-author, anthropologist Katrin Hansing, was able to administer a semi-representative national survey.

Her conclusions: access to foreign currency, in the form of remittances or investments in private businesses, defines today who is who in Cuban society.

And it reflects a bias by skin color: the most profitable businesses, with the greatest investment, are in the hands of the mostly white and urban population, associated with island emigration after the 1959 revolution.

In addition, Hoffmann acknowledges, the State places high-ranking political cadres against state, mixed, export companies, and in the strategic tourism sector, "under the umbrella of the military."

An emblematic example is the GAESA military consortium.

So "the business elite of socialism also lives well."

But, in the family economy, both sources of income - remittances and political connections - do not contradict each other, they converge, says the German Latin Americanist.

Entrepreneurs “have higher income possibilities than those who live on salaries for state jobs.

However, they also take risks and bear a tax burden that is not negligible, ”says De Miranda.

On top of that, he adds, the strict regulations to authorize undertakings on the island “apparently have not been so strict for those who have family or other ties with high officials of the State, for whom everything is facilitated in an environment of lack of transparency, which it is the closest thing to corruption ”.

"Socially, I do not consider that wealth or economic well-being achieved through work or effort is a problem," concludes this Cuban economist.

The problem, he explains, “is when by belonging to a certain family, which has been in power or related to it, one has access to economic well-being and privileges for access to goods and services in usufruct, even if not in property.

But they are ultimately enjoyed, and that has nothing to do with their efforts. "

In so-called socialist societies (in which egalitarianism has been elevated to a value, although it was not for the founders of Marxism, because equality is not equal to egalitarianism), Mauricio De Miranda insists, that is a problem: “Couldn't be so in capitalist or feudal societies, where privileges are part of the system, but they are in a society that calls itself socialist. " (cp)

 

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Wow, that was a great read Nino, thank you!!!!

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On 3/9/2021 at 4:31 AM, Ryan said:

I'm disgusted that the Kempinski has Jameson listed under "American Whiskeys" on their menu.

Didn't even see any Ron de Cuba on that list.. 

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4 hours ago, StogieSteve23 said:

Didn't even see any Ron de Cuba on that list.. 

Didn't even see any Ron de Jeremy.... :P

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They are so elitist at Kempinski that you won't even see Cuban water on that list - only Aqua di Panna and Pellegrino, decanted in Baccarat glasses of course ... 🥱🥱

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