14ymedio, Havana, September 19, 2022 — Berets with the face of Ernesto “Che” Guevara are relegated to a small corner of the table while in the middle are boxes of matches, super-glue and mobile phone accessories. A few yards from the Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana, this souvenir stand has had to reinvent itself due to the drop in tourism to Cuba.
“Most of the people buying things here now are Cubans,” admits 62-year-old Pedro Novo, who has more than twenty-years experience selling handicrafts in the historic heart of the Cuban capital. “What I’m selling now are rattles and refrigerator magnets with images of things that appeal to people here, like soccer team logos and photos of influencers.”
The items most popular with tourists are now relegated to craft fairs located in areas frequented by foreign travelers. The market on downtown 23rd Street no longer carries jewelry made from seeds or images of old Chevrolets that once drew customers from the Habana Libre hotel a few yards away.
A version of that market can be found a little further away in El Quijote park. The merchandise here, however, is geared more to locals than to foreigners — leather sandals, decorative plates with floral motifs, small earthenware gifts — though the face of the Argentine guerrilla leader, or the odd olive-gr