Remember when he who shall not be named came in and bought up the marina where I was living, and wanted to kick out all the liveaboards? You better because that was the main subject of this blog for nearly a year. Remember when I mentioned that he and other rich bastards wanted to own all the dock space in Key West so they could be ready for the day when Cuba is open and ferry services would start hauling people back and forth between Key West and Havana?
Well, this came up in the news:
They are going to get their wish. It has begun. According to the article we will see said ferry service very soon. Once this all gets settled and Congress lifts whatever bans are left on travel to Cuba, Key West will be a major jumping off point for getting there. As it grows, Marathon will come into play too. Any vessel capable of carrying passengers and crossing the 90 miles of the Florida Straits will be coming here to do business. And when they do, liveaboards, small commercial vessels, and leisure craft can kiss off any chance of finding affordable dockage anywhere on the island.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am totally for lifting the useless embargo against our commie friends to the south. It’s an island ripe for the pluckings of our wonderful corporate overlords. In a few short years, all the communism in the world won’t be able to fight against the likes of McDonalds, Coca Cola, and wallymart. Once the Cubans get a taste of all the consumerism with it’s plentiful food, cheap junk, and other comforts, Fidel and his gang will become a distant memory. The corporate powers can smell the money to be made down there like a fly smells cow shit in a dairy. It will be akin to the gold rushes of the 19th century out west. And nothing is going to stop it. Don’t believe me? Go look at our wonderful new allies in southeast Asia, Vietnam. That will be Cuba in a few years.
Here in Key West, things are going to change tremendously. Once the tourists can flock to Havana I suspect the money being spent here will drop dramatically. People will come here just to get on the ferries heading south. Oh they may spend a night or two waiting for their boat, and no doubt many will drive down and need a place to park, but all those juicy tourist dollars that would have been spent here on charters, watersports, t-shirts, and rum runners, will be going to Cuba now.
Liveaboards, if there are any left, will be relegated to the mooring fields because all the marinas are going to be catering to the ferry companies now. Key West will essentially become little more than a terminal for those traveling through. Duval Street will be the equivalent of an airport mall. People will visit just for a short time whilst waiting on the next boat or plane south. And any company who is doing a tourism business in Key West now, and can afford it, will be relocating their operations down there. I know this because more than a few have said so to me. Many are fed up with how things are going here in Key West. They are more than ready for a new venue to ply their advocation. Anyone who can speak Spanish, sort through all the red tape, and has the money, will be going there to start a business.
It’s not going to happen over night. There are still years of animosity and government regulations to get over. But it will happen quickly. Corporations rule the world now and they dictate policy, not us useless voters. You can bet every lawmaker and bureaucrat here and in Cuba right now is getting an earful from lobbyists and other nefarious evil doers about all the riches that can be plucked from this new market. A lot of people are going to get rich when this all shakes out. (I will not be one of them.) No ideology differences are going to get in the way of corporate profits. Governments are no doubt already putting together new ways to tax all the money that will be flowing back and forth. It’s the way the world works now like it or not.
For me personally, Cuba holds no interest. I may well change my mind in a few years but really, meh. Whatever the island is now, it is about to become nothing more than a huge tourist attraction. The stores and businesses in Havana will be replaced with chain outlets, t-shirt shops, and bars. You’ll be able to go down there and buy the exact same $5 t-shirt you can find in Key West, or Orlando, or any other tourist town, just with a different name on it. Resorts will spring up, courtesy of the same chains that run all the others. No doubt the casinos will rear their ugly heads and make a comeback. The Marriotts, the Hiltons, all the same, just another location. And scumbags like HWSNBN will be there buying up every square inch of land they can lay their grubby, greedy little fingers on so they can build sterile, cookie cutter time shares, condos, and marinas for the tourists to stay in. Once it’s all in place, Cuba will be the trendy place for the rich and famous to hang out in.
Cuba put up a brave fight for all these decades. Clinging to an outdated form of government that is doomed. Once the Cuban people get a taste of the riches which the corporate warlords will bestow upon them, it’s all over. The people will replace oppression from the government in exchange for credit card debt, corporate employee manuals, and a blue vest. Better start learning the wallymart cheer now if you live in Havana.
And the U.S. finally got tired of pandering to the few Cuban refugees who fled when Castro took over. 50 years of stubborn pride is going to get swallowed pretty quick. The money is just too damn good to pass up.
It’s going to be quite the circus here over the next few years as this thing shakes out. I’m kinda glad now I’m off the boat and out of the marina. When things get too crazy I’ll be able to leave without much trouble. Cuba and Key West are both about to undergo some major changes. And I doubt either place is prepared for it.