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The campaign against GAESA hotels is not anti-Cuban

Prime Minister Manuel Marrero grumbles about the losses from the campaign to boycott tourism to Cuba.

Hotel Aston Panorama, Miramar, Havana.
Hotel Aston Panorama, Miramar, Havana. booktocuba

On December 17 Prime Minister Manuel Marrero condemned "a media campaign against tourism in Cuba," in reference to the call to boycott tourist trips to the island, but his whining about how the losses that this campaign inflicts on "Cuba" and the "Cuban tourism industry" constitutes a botched charade.

What is Manuel Marrero's role as Prime Minister?

The first point to be made is that Manuel Marrero's real function on the Council of State is to see to it that the interests of the new military-civilian oligarchy are protected, not those of Cuba and its population. That is why they reestablished the post of prime minister, and put him in the position.

The second is that,, for this reason he is not really concerned about the effects that this campaign may have on the "Cuban tourism industry," but rather about the losses that it may mean for the Grupo de Administración de Empresas S.A. (GAESA).

GAESA is an oligopoly registered in Panama, with anonymous shareholders, beyond the reach of any audit by the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) or the Cuban Government, which controls, manages and benefits from the profits of the main companies that generate convertible currency in Cuba, such as tourism, aviation, the sale of medical services abroad, remittances, export products, dollarized domestic trade, communications, gas stations, and many other products, services and activities.

While hundreds of Cubans were dying due to a lack of oxygen tanks, GAESA was investing billions of dollars in the construction of new luxury hotels, in a country where more than half of the hotel rooms were empty. Between January and June 2021, during the worst of the pandemic, business services, real estate and rental activities accounted for 45.5% of total State investment, compared to 3.1% dedicated to agriculture, 0.8% to public health and 0.6% to science and innovation. The accumulated investment in Cuba from January to June 2021 indicates that "business services, real estate and rental activities, including tourism" was 56.8 times greater than investment in health and 14.5 times greater than agricultural investment.

The boycott is waged against the profits with which the new anti-Cuban, mafia-like oligarchy finances repression

The interests of the new oligarchy are not based on Cuba's national interest or the needs of its people, but rather their private logic of maximizing profits. No one touches their money, nor is the money they launder by over-billing for the construction of luxury hotels and other works supervised. This is what they did before with the construction of the Port of Mariel, when they breached the contract already signed with the British Coral Capital Group for a little more than 350 million dollars, imprisoned its executives, and hired Odebrecht (then famous for its corruption scandals with regional politicians) for almost 900 million dollars.

For this criminal mafia – allied with narcostates, cartels and terrorists – whatever does not generate immediate foreign cash, or has low profitability (even if it is a basic necessity for the population, such as transportation, health, food production, etc.), must be left in the hands of the shaky communist State so that its bureaucrats may face the public for their inefficiency. Cubans should realize where the real power lies today, so that the next protests will take place in front of GAESA's offices.

GAESA is not interested, for example, in producing chickens in the country because it derives millions of dollars from its monopoly on the cheap importation of this meat from the United States. In fact, at the time of Obama's opening up, it sabotaged an offer from a Latin American transnational to produce enough chickens to cover the domestic market and export the surplus. The transnational company was to provide everything (capital, technology, foreign markets) and the country would only have to provide the land for the facilities. But this did not happen. They preferred to import frozen chickens from the U.S. to market them in their national monopoly of dollarized stores at more than 240% of their purchase cost, without having to get entangled in a cumbersome process of national production with delayed returns on their investment. There’s no food security this way? This doesn't revitalize the Cuban countryside? They do not care, and besides, GAESA is "Panamanian."

GAESA's owners are unknown. It is not a Cuban company "of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR)," or of "the military" (in which case it could be audited, would be obliged to report and transparently tax profits in the national budget). Rather, GAESA is the economic power tool of a small invisible, oligarchy, mostly comprised of certain military personnel and a select group of civilians. This oligarchy, with the Castro clan at its center, calls the shots in Cuba, and the PCC and the National Assembly obey.

The economic power of this new oligarchy emanates from GAESA, and its military power from the control they exercise over the main commanders of the FAR and the MININT. Through them, based on the complicity and submission of this limited group of officers, they organize the surveillance and repression of any official of the PCC or of the public administration who questions this situation. And, of course, there is that which they exercise, brutally, against the population when it explodes, as it did on July 11, against the misery into which they have been plunged. The new oligarchy gave the order to kill that day through the mouth of a puppet serving as president, and a handful of corrupt high commanders of the FAR and the MININT carried out the job with regular and paramilitary forces. Oligarchic profits from tourism, international medical brigades and remittances, among others, financed the repression.

GAESA and its private owners, the new oligarchy to which Marrero belongs, not the  pawn Miguel Díaz-Canel, do not offer communist utopias, nor are they interested in meeting the basic needs of the population in the style of the old State. The communist social pact of trading social advantages for political rights came to an end in the old millennium. In this mafia state there are no rights, only obligations. There is no dream on the horizon of the future, only a present, of labor slavery and repression, that gets worse each day.

The insurgent mafia and its olive green (counter)revolution

Article 5 of the Constitution, which dictates that all power belongs to the PCC, was never violated by the July 11 demonstrators. By then, the PCC had already been evicted, de facto, from power, by the silent coup d'état of a mafia, also totalitarian, but now spurning any social commitment to the population.  

Official propaganda describes July 11 as one of the "color revolutions" sponsored by the CIA. In any case, what has happened in Cuba over the last decade is a silent and gradual olive green (counter)revolution, and the schemers are either in GAESA or connected, from the FAR and the MININT, to that financial octopus.

Manuel Marrero is part of this insurgent mafia, and defends its interests on the Council of State. His power emanates from that function. To have been appointed prime minister of a discredited and bankrupt government led by a puppet would have been a real demotion for Marrero, whose real boss is General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Calleja.

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