Kardashians Do Cuba, Post Insensitive Instagram Posts. Sigh
The Debrief: 'Haven't Cubans Suffered Enough?' Ask Cuban American Politician of Kardashian vacation to the island.
Since Cuba relaxed it's travel restrictions on Americans, the country has become a like, a totally hip vacation destination.
So trendy a travel destination is the island currently that even The Kardashians have decamped down there.
Whilst on their holibobs, America's most famous (sigh) family are doing what every first-time Cuba visitor does; smoking cigars, looking at retro convertibles next to beautiful but crumbling architecture and erm, taking politically insensitive Instagram pictures seemingly paying tribute to the country's long-time Communist dictators whose human rights violations could fill several books.
For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Cuba, here it is in a (very small, very incomplete) nutshell.
Cubans live under a one-party Communist state headed up by Raul Castro. From 1961 to 2008, Raul's brother Fidel was in charge. According to Human Rights Watch, under the Castros, 'Cuban citizens have been systematically deprived of their fundamental rights to free expression, privacy, association, assembly, movement, and due process of law.'
To counter this, Cubans do actually have a very successful universal healthcare system. Free schooling means good literary rates and crime rates stay low compared to other surrounding countries.
Diplomatic ties with the (by no means angelic) United States were severed in 1961. Earlier this year, for the first time in over 50 years, travel restrictions between the two countries were relaxed, making it easy for ordinary Americans to visit the country.
Whilst there however, tourists live a very different life to ordinary Cubans.
The average monthly wage (as dictated by the state) for ordinary Cubans was increased in 2014, to $24. 90% of profit from crops cultivated in rural areas still go straight to the government. Internet, electricity and other basic ammenities are limited. The currency used by tourists is worth far more than that used by Cuban citizens. According to a report from 2009, people think the dual currency is in place 'so that the people would be so poor that they can only focus on survival.'
Elections were abolished by Fidel Castro. When they were re-instated in 2003, Castro (shockingly) won. With 100% of the vote.
So it's entirely understandable why this photo that Khloe Kardashian posted has got a few knickers in a twist.
Instagram user Divajerseygirl217 shared her story in Khloe's comments, 'These fools don't know about... my grandmother being thrown naked into a jail cell with so many other women they could hardly breathe for speaking against Castro and my family didn't know if she was dead or alive for months!!! (sic).'
Cuban-American politician Illeana Ros-Lehtinen said, 'I know it’s cool for celebrities to go to Cuba, but the Cuban people don’t experience the glamorous Havana that is featured on social media. Far from photo shoots and fruity drinks, everyday Cubans experience a different, sad reality.' She told People magazine.
'Now, the Kardashians are parachuting into the island to tape their vapid TV show,' she added. 'Haven’t the Cuban people suffered enough?'
Rein it in Kardashians.
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At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating