MIAMI, United States. – Spanish influencer Rosa Martorell, who visited Cuba recently as a tourist and criticized the precariousness not only of the Cuban system but also the hotel facilities that the government in Havana markets as safe tourism, gave an exclusive interview to CubaNet to address the accident that occurred on Friday morning in the island, and which has resulted in many deaths.
“Many people have shared the news with me, and I am horrified because just two weeks ago I was there and I have thought that this could have happened to me staying at that hotel, or just walking by,” she told our journalist Camila Acosta.
Last Friday morning, an explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, across from the Capitol building in Havana, caused the collapse of the hotel’s façade and damaged nearby structures.
Preliminary numbers given by the Cuban government stated that there are some 20 wounded and 13 missing, and that the accident was caused by a liquid gas leak. According to [the Spanish daily] El País, the hotel was being prepped for reopening on May 10th. There were only service workers inside the building.
“This explosion demonstrates Cuba’s shortcomings, for Cubans as well as for tourists. I knew that Cuba being a socialist-communist dictatorship, thigs were not well. But I never would have though as a tourist or as a person living abroad who travels with money to the island, that it would be so difficult to buy something as simple as bottled water,’ stated Martorell.
Her visit to Cuba
“My friend and I didn’t want to do hotel tourism, so we did things on our own, which is why it was so difficult to find goods even with money on hand,” she indicated. Martorell and her friend traveled throughout the country, and visited from Viñales, Pinar del Río, Havana and Varadero (in Matanzas) to Morón, Ciego de Ávila, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey.
Rosa Martorell gained notoriety for Cubans on social media when she published a video that criticized the way that milk was being distributed in Sancti Spíritus, and the lack of hygienic protocols in that process. Ever since then, she has been criticizing the living conditions Cubans face.
“When you learn the most is when you ask local people; they tell you more than official outlets. And people would tell me that they were worse than 10 years ago, their frustration was obvious. People only want to leave the country, they don’t have any money and they want to complaint, but are not allowed. What I took with me is that most people do not agree with the country’s situation, and that more young people are realizing every day what the dictatorship is doing to them, and society is waking up.”
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