Russian vacationers possibly stuck in Cuba

Many Russian vacationers in Cuba are waiting for their return dates after the closure of several airspaces to Russian companies, while Cuban tourism, an essential engine of the economy, fears the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

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“What we want is to return home in peace and in due time,” Evgenia Darovskaya, a 43-year-old journalist who was due to return to Russia with her family on Tuesday after 15 days in the waters, told AFP. turquoises of the resort town of Varadero.


Russia closed its doors to airlines from 36 countries on Monday, in retaliation for closing the airspace of many Western countries to Russian planes.

Russian carrier Aeroflot on Monday withdrew ticket sales to Cuba, Mexico and the United States, while Russian charter airline Azur Air also suspended flights to Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Prensa reports. Latina, the official Cuban news agency.


The perfectly tanned body, Dxana Lapushkina, a 35-year-old steelworker, protests against the closure of airspace, but says she is not afraid of having to extend her stay, seeming not to want to see her holidays ruined by the news.


On the other hand Evgenia Darovskaya, who has relatives in Ukraine, says she is “scared” and it is “impossible not to think about it”. “Nobody wants war for their children,” she says, gazing into her daughter’s big blue eyes.

Cuba was counting on Russian visitors, who went from 74,019 travelers in 2020 to 146,151 in 2021, to relaunch the tourist machine that has been put on hold since March 2020 by the pandemic.

Once the most drawn to Cuban charm, footfall for Canadian travelers has plummeted due to COVID, dropping from 413,409 in 2020 to 68,944 in 2021.


“The agreements with tour operators were aimed at consolidating this flow of (Russian) visitors as an important market in the difficult tourist recovery of the island”, deplores José Luis Perello, Cuban tourism expert. He now fears the “significant impact” of the war “on international tourism to Cuba and the entire Caribbean region”, which will “increase the fear of travel”.


Cuba, an ally of Russia, has never condemned the invasion of Ukraine. On Monday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez expressed on Twitter Cuba’s commitment to international humanitarian law and called on “the parties to protect the civilian population, its property and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.”

On February 19, during the official visit to Havana of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borissov, Cuba strongly criticized Washington’s “propaganda hysteria” against Russia and the “expansion of NATO to its borders “.


Juan Gonzalez, adviser to US President Joe Biden for the Americas, told Voice of America radio that international sanctions against Russia “will impact countries that have economic affiliations with Russia, and that is by design. “.


“Venezuela is going to start feeling that pressure, Nicaragua is going to feel that pressure, and so is Cuba. But ultimately what we want are negotiated solutions to the crisis in Venezuela, a restoration of democratic order in Nicaragua, and for Cubans to determine their future, not a dictatorship,” Gonzalez said. .

In Old Havana, groups of Russian tourists stroll around their 55-year-old guide who studied petroleum engineering in Kazakhstan 25 years ago. “I have Russians and Ukrainians and they all get along, none of them are for the war,” he says, grumbling at “politicians screwing things up.”

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