Take, for example, National Geographic’s trip. The group informs prospective tourists that they will “engage in a specially arranged question-and-answer session with Cuban professionals, discussing education, economics, the role of government, and other topics of interest.” Just don’t bring up the murder by the regime of Oswaldo Paya, the arrest and harassment of The Mothers in White, ask to see the most prominent dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, or anything like that. Should you persist, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself on the first plane out of Havana or confined to your hotel room.
Or look at the tours from the Insight company. Watch some of their videos. It’s all so beautiful, clean and joyous – especially the music. And when at day’s end you join with Cubans dancing outdoors on a public square, you’ll think you have seen the real Cuba, and that you’ve had an experience few of your fellow Americans have enjoyed.
So let us return to Una Noche and Lane’s article. He writes the following:
The truth about Cuba, however, is that the revolution’s achievements were never as great as its propagandists claimed and that economic and social conditions on the island trail those of many Latin American countries Cuba once surpassed.
Cholera has returned to Cuba for the first time in more than a century. In three reported outbreaks since the summer of 2012, more than 600 people have been sickened and at least three have died, according to official Cuban data.
Mulloy’s film, Lane adds, “dramatizes the heartbreaking moral and psychological decay of the revolution’s subjects, especially Cuban youth….Denied free expression, forced to hustle incessantly for life’s necessities, bombarded by propaganda and hounded by brutal police, young Cubans live in what Mulloy aptly calls a state of ‘nervous desperation.’”