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FIHAV 2023: Cuba Is Alone

What the Cuban International Fair has revealed is the meager investments that the country is managing to capture and Castroism's penury. Here is the evidence.

La Habana
ExpoCuba at the FIHAV 2023.
ExpoCuba at the FIHAV 2023. Cubadebate

If economics and politics —the latter not in the Aristotelian sense of the governance of that which is common to all, but in the Goebbelian one of maintaining power at all costs— were not one and the same in Cuba, we might be able to accept words of the soundest mind in the entire Castroist cadre, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Ricardo Cabrisas, who stated that the most recent Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2023), demonstrated that "Cuba is not alone."

As economics and politics on the island are the same putrid excrescence, as soon as FIHAV 2023 ended the main national "information" media outlets all rushed to paraphrase Cabrisas, transmitting this message "Cuba is not alone." Thus did they summarize a supposedly economic event with a clearly political statement, demonstrating Cuban's thirst, anxiety, and need for international validation, something already evident at the 77+China Summit that Havana recently hosted, now that no one pays much attention to the decrepit fogeys and infamously tedious, pudgy and visibly inept captains at the helm of the "Revolution."

The indefatigable Cabrisas supported his assertion about Cuba's solitude (he was actually referring to the regime) alluding to "figures confirming the good results of FIHAV 2023," so it is necessary to take a look at the results of this event to confirm whether the minister was right.

The two fundamental indicators at a trade fair of this type are correlated with the turnover achieved: the number of participating companies and the area contracted for exhibitions.

In order to consider FIHAV 2023 that success demonstrating that "Cuba is not alone," the level of the fair's best years should have been reached in terms of the aforementioned indicators, those marking its zenith since it was founded in 1983 "on the initiative - as could not be otherwise, literally - of El Comandante."

It was not until FIHAV 2009 that the event drew more than 1,000 participating companies, a number that rose until 2019, when 4,000 companies from 60 countries attended, after which there was a two-year impasse due to the health restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

The event resumed in 2022, but, for reasons not difficult to imagine, the number of participants was never disclosed. It can be presumed, however, that attendance was scant, as the surface area contracted dropped by 40% compared to before the pandemic.

This year the Government has changed its communications strategy and, instead of hiding the data on participants, has publicized it, claiming undeniable success, with figures attesting to the resounding results of FIHAV 2023! Cuba is not alone!... A total of 844 companies participated. Is that success?

Castroism is so desperate that it considers an event drawing 25% of the number of companies that participated just four years ago a success. In total, they contracted only 17,000 square meters of exhibition area, a far cry amount from the over 28,000 that were rented when Cuba, or rather Castroism, was less alone.

From 4,000 to 844 does not seem a demonstration of much interest in Cuba, especially if we take into account that this total includes many domestic businesses, and that a new development was participation by some SMBs, with an entire pavilion, for the first time, fully occupied by exhibitors from all Cuban provinces.

Taking everything into account, what FIHAV 2023 really shows is that international interest in Cuba is not only low, but waning, the clearest reflection of this being the scant investment that the country manages to capture.

The Castro regime is a decomposing corpse that only attracts scavengers specialized in preying on countries, like the Russian oligarchs who fly over the island without even daring to stick around because the body is so rotten that, even for them, it is risky to feed there without extra security. A few days ago Cabrisas himself was told, in Moscow that if Havana wanted to see one ruble the most important thing was "the creation of preferential conditions for Russian investors."

That is, either Cuba surrenders, grovels and prostitutes itself by giving them advantages over other foreigners, and Cubans themselves, or it will remain alone; that and no other is the humiliating, destitute situation of Castroism, which, incidentally, humiliates us all.

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