Last year, the Brookings Institution's Richard Feinberg propagandized about "Cuba's Emerging Entrepeneurs":
"In Raul Castro’s Cuba, many small and medium-sized private businesses are yielding good returns to their investors. As the author discovered during his recent return to the island, successful entrepreneurs are reinvesting profits into their expanding enterprises – pointing to the emergence of a new group of on-island capitalists capable of generating some badly needed capital accumulation for the Cuban economy."
Feinberg highlighted the following examples:
"In Havana, many new paladares had opened their doors in recent months, generating a more heated competitive culinary environment. Searching for new profit centers, investors have turned to serving up late-night entertainment at bars and dance clubs, catering both to foreigners and to middle-class Cubans with disposable income. Investors in one successful venture, Shangri-La, have already launched a second night club, 'Up-and-Down,' with VIP lounges requiring a $20 consumption minimum per person, a hefty sum by Cuban standards."
Feinberg is right about one thing:
Shangri-La and Up-and-Down are the hottest nightspots in Havana.
It's where Castro's hip apparatchiks and Obama's elite travelers (in support of the Cuban people -- wink, wink) party the night away.
It's where The New York Cosmos took their "sports diplomacy" to the wee-hours of the morning.
It's where the island's finest jineteros and jineteras line the outside walls looking for a big break.
Feinberg would lead you to believe that Shangri-La and Up-and-Down are the product of Cuban "entrepreneurs" (or to be exact, "a new group of on-island capitalists").
To be fair -- it's not just Feinberg.
USA Today's Rick Jervis (who treated us to this fluff piece about daiquiris at El Floridita) also wrote, "privately owned bars, with names such as Shangri-La, Space and the Up-and-Down, are the latest in Cuba's experiment in entrepreneurship and a sign of progress trickling into the island."
Except their not.
The so-called "owner" was a Spaniard, Esteban Navarro Carvajal, who had been doing business with the Castro regime for over 20 years.
Until this summer, that is.
That's when Navarro got into a dispute with Raul Castro's grandson, Raul Guillermo Rodriguez Castro, over the attention of a beautiful young lady.
Little Raul (though not in size) is not only the sparkle in the Cuban dictator's eyes, but doubles as his bodyguard. (In the image below, he's the one with the earpiece between Raul and Obama.)
His father is General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, head of the Cuban military's all-powerful business conglomerate, GAESA, which overwhelmingly controls most of the island's tourism industry.
According to J.J. Almeida, the exiled son of Castro's former second-highest ranking official, Navarro (the Spanish businessman) has since been expelled from Cuba -- without any legal recourse, of course.
As for Shangri-la and Up-and-Down?
They are still open -- and under the control of Castro's cronies -- like everything else in Cuba.
at 9:40 PM Thursday, August 20, 2015
- ► 2016 (694)
08/16 - 08/23
- WSJ: Obama’s New Cuban Partners, My Old Jailers
- How Brookings (and Others) Misleads About Cuban 'E...
- Menendez: Obama's Cuba Policy is a 'One-Way Street...
- Bruno Gives Kerry a Tour of Stolen American Proper...
- Tweet of the Week: What Lincoln Never Said
- Obama's Shortsighted Approach to Cuba
- Latin American Governments Continue to Shun the Cu...
- A Timely Reminder: On the Codification of U.S. San...
- Recognizing Journalistic Integrity in Cuba
- Editorial Cartoon: 'A New Day' in Cuba
- What Leahy & Co. Misunderstand About Cuba’s Histor...
- Post and Courier Editorial: An Opening for Cuban F...
- Caught on Tape: Sunday's Arrests of Cuban Democrac...
- WSJ: The Bare Flagpoles of Havana
- What 'Change Looked Like' in Cuba Over the Weekend...
- The More You Know About Cuba, the Less Likely You ...
- Kerry Missed a Historic Opportunity in Havana
- Washington Examiner: Obama is Taking the Wrong Sid...
- Less Than 48 Hours After Kerry Shuns Cuban Disside...
- On Second Thought, Am Glad Cuban Dissidents Weren'...
- Cuban Political Activists Still Face Arrest and De...
- Obama (Kerry) Fails Major Cuba Policy Test
- Tweet of the Week: Exposing Kerry's Lie About Cuba...
- Just How Bad a Deal Did Obama Cut With Castro
- What 'Change Looks Like': Cuba Won't Move a 'Milli...
- The Real 'Prisoners of History'
- Nothing to Celebrate in America's Diplomatic Openi...
- ▼ 08/16 - 08/23 (27)
- ► 2014 (1177)
- ► 2013 (1251)
- ► 2012 (1158)
- ► 2011 (1031)
- ► 2010 (1042)
- ► 2009 (933)