Anti-American snarkiness has reared its ugly little head in this London Times travel story by Tom Chesshyre, "Tourism 'golden era' ends in Cuba." Apparently, Mr. Chesshyre believes that life under Fidel Castro's oppressive regime was a "golden era" for visiting that island. Yes, how quaint to see dilapidated buildings and people whose diets are severely restricted by government rationing. The Times seems to fear that these "good times" may soon be coming to an end and urges visits there before the atmosphere is ruined by the American tourist "invasion":
Travellers interested in visiting Cuba are being advised to go now before an invasion of American tourists begins.
Better to visit the zoo animals of the communist nation now before they are spoiled by "mainstream Westernisation." After that, they won't be so interesting to watch:
Tour operators believe that the US travel embargo of Cuba could be lifted in the wake of this week's announcement that Fidel Castro is stepping down - ending a “golden era” of tourism to the Caribbean island.
Companies say that Castro's departure is likely to combine with a more open approach to the island after November's presidential elections. This could bring an end to the US travel ban. The embargo has been in place since Castro took charge in an armed revolution 49 years ago and introduced communism. The effect has been to keep mainstream Westernisation out of the country.
Such "mainstream Westernization" such as basic liberties and economic progress. The Times did acknowledge in passing that things may not be so golden in Cuba with this reference to political prisoners:
But this week each of the main Amertican presidential contenders - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain - said that they would consider a softer approach towards Cuba, but only if political prisoners were released.
Not all readers of this story were amused by The Times' implication of a "golden era" in Cuba:
These are the golden years? are you mad? it has not been golden for the people that live in the island, they have been through hell for 49 long years, do you realize how insensitive that sounds!
What next? Will The London Times travel writers be urging visits to North Korea before the "golden era" there is ruined by a horde of American tourists decked out in Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts? Better to visit North Korea now while the streets of Pyongyang are quaintly empty of cars and such "mainstream Westernisation" as electricity in most of the country is still absent. Watch the North Korean "zoo animals" while they are still in their pristine state of being oppressed.
h/t: Henry Gomez of the Babalu Blog.