Cuba, a ‘Paradise’ of Misery That Is Beginning To Scare Canadians


Canadians’ perception is undergoing a 180 degree turn, and not exactly towards a postcard of palm trees and mojitos

Canadian tourists in Havana’s Central Park. / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Karel J. Leyva, Montreal (Canada), 8 May 2024 — Attracted by its beaches, warm climate, the hospitality of its people and competitive prices, Canadians have traditionally considered Cuba as a tourist destination without equal. Not only a vacation paradise, but also a reliable healthcare bastion. Even Canadian political leaders did not spare their praise for Cuban medical care, fueling confidence in the services offered.

However, times have changed, a lot. Canadians’ perception of Cuba is undergoing a 180-degree turn, and not exactly towards a postcard of palm trees and mojitos. This change is due to multiple reasons that could definitively discourage travelers from choosing the Island as their vacation destination.

First, and this is crucial, Canadian government authorities have gone from encouraging the flow of tourists to Cuba to issuing warnings about the risks involved in visiting the Island. The Canadian Government is strongly asking citizens to exercise a “high degree of of caution” when considering a trip to Cuba. It should be noted that, for many Canadians, whose culture is impregnated with what is known as high-context communication — filled with euphemisms and avoiding strong statements — this is equivalent to high alert.

What do Canadian authorities communicate to their citizens? Well, they warn travelers about the serious shortage of food, medicine and fuel in Cuba. They insist on the increase in violence, assaults and financial scams, including credit card fraud and the risks associated with ATMs empty of cash.

Canadian authorities inform travelers that Cuban health care infrastructure is critically deficient, with a marked lack of medications

In addition, they warn about poor security for women, the lack of reliability in telecommunications, complications in online transactions and the prevalence of theft of bags and wallets in tourist spots, markets, public buses, nightclubs and beaches. They warn that thefts from hotel rooms and vehicles are common occurrences in Cuba and explicitly advise keeping windows and doors securely closed, not resisting in the event of robberies, and being cautious when using debit or credit cards.

And that’s not all. Canadian authorities inform travelers that Cuba’s health care infrastructure is critically deficient, with a marked lack of medications, supplies and equipment, compounded by insufficient hygiene practices, slow responses to emergencies and, to top it all off, inadequate mental health services (certainly necessary in the event of a crisis in any of the situations described above).

In fact, the Canadian government asks travelers, if they still decide to take the risk of going to Cuba, to carry their own supplies of medications due to the presence of diseases such as the Zika virus, cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid fever and diarrheal diseases.

With the additional threats of vector-borne and zoono

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