mardi 7 avril 2015

AIRBNB IN CUBA: NO DAMOS COMMISSION

Just a few days ago AirBnB, the USA based accommodation sharing agency and app, announced it was adding CUBA to its list of countries. Obviously things are opening up, attracting american visitors, which Cubans welcome.
Today I was surprised to read that over 1000 listings are available on Air BnB in Cuba, an incredible number considering that Internet is slow and the AirBnB business model requires a bank account in foreign currency and easy access to Internet and email.
Many anti Cubans in Miami like to paint a picture of Cuba living in the dark ages, they forget that the Cubans in the island are just like themselves, trying to make a good living and ingenious and certainly less fraudulent.
1000 listing in such a short period of time?
I realize that it is going to hurt a certain sector of the population, the Jinatero, of the hustler who takes a commission when he takes you to a casa particular.
Imagine, now the commission charged by Air BnB is much less than the commission charged by Jinateros and others in the society trying to make a living by referring people to restaurants, casa particulares or any other services. Also, with such a vast exposure, the intending american tourist can have the casa particular ready and the owner could pick him up, again without having to pay commission to a third party in Cuba. It is a serious economic blow to that particular segment of the population.
Normally the commission is around 20 per cent and AirBnB is around 15%. 
I welcome the decision by AirBnB to enter Cuban market and let the world, especially the anti cubans who live in Miami, see for themselves the elegant and furnished and available housing available for all sorts of american tourists who are descending to the island.
THIS AD WAS IN TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES! VOW!

The following photograph taken in Miami International Airport, a photo of Che, with Cafe Versailles in the background.. is a great metaphor for the changes occurring between the two countries! It is such a welcome change from years of Neurosis!
PS  I enjoyed my Cortadito, Estilo de la Habana at the airport cafe! in Miami..