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Cuba: Before you Airbnb

If you decide to join the jerks who visit cool coun­tries and travel to the island-​prison, there are a cou­ple of things you may want to keep in mind.

First, there are the weird symp­toms: On Sept. 29, the State Depart­ment recalled 21 employ­ees of the Amer­i­can Embassy in Havana, Cuba.

The group (along with three Cana­di­ans) were all suf­fer­ing from an odd com­bi­na­tion of symp­toms: “hear­ing loss, dizzi­ness, headache, fatigue, cog­ni­tive issues, and dif­fi­culty sleep­ing,” Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son ticked off in an offi­cial state­ment.

On Wednes­day, an upcom­ing report to be pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion by doc­tors at the Uni­ver­sity of Miami, the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, and gov­ern­ment med­ical experts was reported by the AP to include evi­dence that the 24 vic­tims showed clear pat­terns of brain abnor­mal­i­ties.

Whether they were due to sonic attacks or poi­son­ing remains to be determined.

Two: Reuters reports (empha­sis added),

Amer­i­can tourists strolling the ample squares and nar­row streets of colo­nial Havana may not know it, but from nov­el­ist Ernest Hemingway’s famed Floridita bar to Sloppy Joe’s eatery, they are prob­a­bly patron­iz­ing busi­nesses owned by Cuba’s mil­i­tary.

Three: Big brother will be watch­ing you.

Includ­ing that quaint house at El Vedado you saw at Airbnb,

Airbnb over the last week has sus­pended or banned hosts — both in Europe and the United States — for vio­lat­ing a strict Airbnb pro­hi­bi­tion on undis­closed cam­eras on the properties.

How­ever, the com­pany has not responded to sev­eral Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con inquiries about whether it warns U.S. or other tourists trav­el­ing to Cuba about the poten­tial for Cuban government’s elec­tronic sur­veil­lance of guest quar­ters and long his­tory of the Cas­tro régime’s secu­rity police gain­ing access to rented rooms.

The gov­ern­ment can eas­ily track for­eign guests because it requires Airbnb hosts to report their pass­port num­bers to Cuban immi­gra­tion author­i­ties, accord­ing to a report last year in the Miami Her­ald.

The lat­ter arti­cle has more infor­ma­tion on the dis­mal finan­cial arrange­ments the oppres­sive com­mu­nist régime imposes on its people.

And last,
If you insist on spend­ing a win­ter hol­i­day in the island prison, remem­ber the old phrase, fore­warned is fore­told.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin Amer­ica at Fausta’s blog

If you decide to join the jerks who visit cool countries and travel to the island-prison, there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind.

First, there are the weird symptoms: On Sept. 29, the State Department recalled 21 employees of the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba.

The group (along with three Canadians) were all suffering from an odd combination of symptoms: “hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ticked off in an official statement.

On Wednesday, an upcoming report to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by doctors at the University of Miami, the University of Pennsylvania, and government medical experts was reported by the AP to include evidence that the 24 victims showed clear patterns of brain abnormalities.

Whether they were due to sonic attacks or poisoning remains to be determined.

Two: Reuters reports (emphasis added),

American tourists strolling the ample squares and narrow streets of colonial Havana may not know it, but from novelist Ernest Hemingway’s famed Floridita bar to Sloppy Joe’s eatery, they are probably patronizing businesses owned by Cuba’s military.

Three: Big brother will be watching you.

Including that quaint house at El Vedado you saw at Airbnb,

Airbnb over the last week has suspended or banned hosts—both in Europe and the United States—for violating a strict Airbnb prohibition on undisclosed cameras on the properties.

However, the company has not responded to several Washington Free Beacon inquiries about whether it warns U.S. or other tourists traveling to Cuba about the potential for Cuban government’s electronic surveillance of guest quarters and long history of the Castro regime’s security police gaining access to rented rooms.
. . .
The government can easily track foreign guests because it requires Airbnb hosts to report their passport numbers to Cuban immigration authorities, according to a report last year in the Miami Herald.

The latter article has more information on the dismal financial arrangements the oppressive communist regime imposes on its people.

And last,
If you insist on spending a winter holiday in the island prison, remember the old phrase, forewarned is foretold.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog