If Cuba and the Cubans are wrong, "It’s not the tourists’ fault"a Spanish ‘influencer’ defends herself

If Cuba and the Cubans are wrong, "It's not the tourists' fault"a Spanish 'influencer' defends herself

The Spanish Marina Rivera, who was one of the More than twenty influencers who arrived in Cuba this July to promote tourism invited by the Enjoy Travel Group travel agency, published this Wednesday a video on his Tik Tok profile to respond to the accusations of “whitewashing the image of a dictatorship” that many of his followers and other Cuban content creators have made.

“I didn’t think this was going to be necessary, but let’s talk about Cuba,” begins the influencers her three-minute video in which she exposes, first of all, that she, the rest of the group, and her agency had not been paid for the trip that was made to promote the recently inaugurated Barcelona-Havana flight. “We don’t charge a euro for anything. They just invited us on the trip,” she says.

Rivera also explains that she is not to blame for the socioeconomic and political situations of the countries she visits and that many lack “freedoms, rights and have horrible political situations, but that is not the fault of the tourists.”

“In Spain we were also in a dictatorship for 40 years during which we lived from tourism and in Cuba it is exactly the same. People live from tourism”

Marina Rivera also compared the Cuban regime with the Franco dictatorship: “In Spain we were also under the dictatorship for 40 years during which we lived off tourism and in Cuba it is exactly the same. People live off tourism. And thanks to all those tourists who came to Spain during the dictatorship, a lot of people had something to eat. We wanted to increase that, tourism to Cuba.”

“We enjoy the Island and leave money in local businesses,” concludes Rivera, who said that the group of influencers he had distributed medicines, water, sweets and money among the people of Havana, and added: “we were not going to say this because we did it selflessly. For example, the Twin Melody gave 400 euros in cash to street children”.

Some influencers Cubans, such as Claudia Tropiezos and Royniel2, have strongly criticized the visit of young Spaniards to Cuba, accusing them of “romanticizing a dictatorship.” They were joined by the Cuban Dina Star, a resident of Madrid for two years who, after posting a video on YouTube on the subject, was invited to the Spanish program Everything is a lie. This same program witnessed, during the protests of July 2021, how Cuban State Security arrived at the residence of the youtuber in Havana to drive her to the Zapata y C station while she broadcast live.

The program, broadcast on July 18, was also invited by Diego Moreno, executive director of the talent agency Nickname, which represents the influencers who traveled to Cuba.

Moreno explained that his talents were invited by the Barcelona-based travel agency Enjoy Travel Group, which had also previously hired them to promote air routes to countries such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Maldives. He also said that none of the influencers “has received a single euro cent”. He admitted, however, that all accommodation, transportation, food and event expenses were covered by the tour operator which, as part of the contract, required a non-defamation clause. Outside of that paragraph – which is very common in promotional contracts, according to the manager – “there was no limitation of any kind.”

The representative also recalled that many of the Cubans with whom they had contact on the island were grateful for their visit.

The representative also recalled that many of the Cubans with whom they had contact on the island were grateful for their visit and for the fact that they were promoting the country as a paradisiacal destination. “The people who are in Miami are the ones who are criticizing and trying to discourage tourism.”

Faced with this version of Moreno, the influencers Cubana argued that she did not doubt that the people received them gratefully. “If you spend the money in a private restaurant or if you record videos of people who dance from sunrise to sunset on stilts, they will thank you with a smile from ear to ear,” he replied, explaining that the real problem was promoting tourism that does not benefit ordinary Cubans. “Promote a natural tourism that is not going to five-star hotels built by the Government. Go to private hostels, soak up the real Cuban culture and not the one that they disguise,” the young Cuban concluded.

In an attempt to quell the debate, the Nickname representative commented that the influencers they were inexperienced young people who had come to confuse the Ernesto Guevara monument in the Plaza de la Revolución with an image of Diego Armando Maradona. “I think the influencers that you represent are not so ignorant when one of them offered to find channels to help people in Cuba,” was Dina Star’s response.

Both representatives of the agency and the own influencers They have explained that it is not the job of these young people to show the political situations or the shortcomings of any country since they are not journalists, who are required to be truthful and responsible with the content they disseminate.


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