HAVANA — I feel the moral obligation to publicly confess my mistake. And that doesn’t sadden me at all because, in the exercise of this profession, this happens often when sailing through waters that, on occasion, demand a vision of the future.
Not long ago, I maintained — somewhat humorously and convinced that I had made a discovery — that, in view of the tourist boom, we might expect an official call to everyone with an available room to make it available to a visitor, pay the tax due and resolve (magical daily word, like “bread”) the month’s penuries.
I wasn’t too far off. Around the 1990s, I had the privilege to access detailed and competent multidisciplinary studies about the behavior and reactions of tourists in Cuba. I remember — as if I were reading it right now — that it was the character of the Cuban people that most impressed the visitor, far beyond the beaches, colonial sites, marinas or some sumptuous five-star hotel.
When it comes to tourism (and our authorities must know this, though some insist on rejecting or ignoring it), not a few visitors prefer to stay in private homes. That choice is not at all exclusive to our country and idiosyncrasy. In Greece, to cite just one example, curious visitors prefer to spend their vacations relaxing under the same roof as the natives.
As much as I try, I see no reason to suspend or postpone the granting of new licenses to rent homes, rooms or spaces because of an imperative “to review the subject” after so many years of practicing it.
My father, born in the countryside, would have an explanation for this. To reason out events of this nature, he would recall the story of the farmer’s dog who, while chasing some field rodent and about to catch it, would slam on the brakes to take a crap.
On the other hand, my mother — an urban lady brought up by priests and nuns but a fan of popular music — would have whispered a tune from the 1950s that said “get off that cloud and come down to reality.”