MIAMI, United States. – A tweet from Varadero Travel, the official tourism page for Varadero, Ciénaga de Zapata and the city of Matanzas, celebrating Cuba’s reopening announced for this coming November 15, sparked indignation among several Cuban social media users.
“You have no shame. A whole nation is dying here and you keep on promoting tourism,” commented a Twitter user who identified himself as Doc. His indignation was caused by a Varadero Travel tweet published last Saturday.
“Varadero is getting ready in every way for the much-awaited reopening of its borders and domestic tourism. There will be a return of celebrations, music, special moments, friends, love… life. We want to be accomplices of your happiness.”
The official profile page managed to hide some of the negative replies received reacting to its tweet, which demonstrated how angry some Cubans are with the reopening of the country’s borders, an announcement made in the midst of the worst outbreak of coronavirus contagion in the island.
“You are shameless!” stated independent journalist Luz Escobar to Varadero Travel. Just as her reaction was hidden, so were others that included statistics on fatalities (between 60 and 90) announced daily by the Ministry of Public Health.
A user who identified himself as ragnarsson stated that it was “a total lack of respect toward the Cuban people;” a Canadian user who identified herself as cal said that she “will not travel to the island until the Cuban people have medicines and food. My husband, my daughter and my grandkids can’t have a life, and you are asking us to go and party?”
Communicator Norges Rodríguez Almiñán, director of the independent media outlet Yucabyte, also criticized the tweet on his personal profile page: “All this [Varadero Travel’s celebratory remarks] while hundreds of Cubans are dying of COVID-19. All GAESA cares about is filling up its hotels with tourists, but it’s the hospitals that are full, with sick Cubans. Hospitals where the dictatorship ceased to make improvements decades ago. This is Cuba,” he lamented.
Recently, the Cuban regime announced the “gradual” reopening of its borders starting November 15th, according to a brief note published by Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR). The note reads:
“Keeping in mind the progress made in the vaccination process in Cuba, its proven efficacy and the perspective that more than 90% of the Cuban population will be fully vaccinated come November, we are preparing the conditions to gradually open our borders staring November 15th, 2021.”
Up until September 2, Cuba had only vaccinated 36.2% of its total population with the vaccines developed in the island, according to a recent statement by Dr. Francisco Durán García, national director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP). The regime projects that 92.6% of the population will be fully vaccinated by November, in spite of the fact that the initial health authorities’ plan to have 70% of the population fully vaccinated by August could not be met.
After a shut down that lasted several months due mostly to the pandemic, Havana’s international airport renewed operations on November 15, 2020. Three months later, the government had to reduce the number of flights to the island due to an increase of COVID-19 contagion, and in March, it finally had to close its borders.
Today, Cuba is facing the worse outbreak of COVID-19 contagion since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. On this Monday alone, the country reported officially 74 fatalities due to coronavirus, and 8,342 new cases.
However, according to a physician who recently spoke to CubaNet on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals: “The stats they air on television have to be multiplied by 10 to get the real number of cases and fatalities. There are many people who have died from COVID-19 whose death certificates indicate some other reason and not COVID so as to avoid a general panic, and also to hide the government’s mismanagement of the pandemic.”
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