Havanatur in the eye of controversy over Santa Claus advertising

Havanatur in the eye of controversy over Santa Claus advertising

HAVANA, dec. 30th. The Cuban company Havanatur came to the dock of the state media and the Foreign Ministry this week for an advertisement that many came to compare with “colonizing icons.”Havanatur promoted the Christmas festivities with images generated by artificial intelligence that showed Santa Claus in several famous locations in Cuba and also with traditional Cuban motifs.

In one of the photos he is seen sitting in an armchair surrounded by tropical fruits, holding a Cuban cigar, and in the background, an almendrón, a Cuban flag, palms and a beach. In another photo he appears with a gift in his hands, sitting on a staircase with children, and the Havana Capitol in the background.

The initiative, however, did not please several Minrex officials or some journalists from state newspapers on the island.

In the newspaper Tribuna de La Habana, the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Carlos Rodríguez Ruiz strongly attacked the idea. Rodríguez called to promote the Cuba destination with values that identify the nation, not with foreign symbols.

“It is with this and not with colonizing icons that are foreign to Cuban culture, that we must attract the gaze and visits of citizens from other places,” he expressed.

For him, tourists must be attracted by “the strength and healthy pride with which we Cubans feel vital and creative.”

The diplomat questioned why Havanatur did not issue a note apologizing and made reference to the so-called “cultural colonization” that the country must face. “The aforementioned propaganda, due to the evident effect of the rejection caused, has already been removed and quickly (thank goodness),” he added.

Rodríguez Ruiz was not the only Foreign Ministry official who spoke out on the matter. Orestes Hernández Hernández, also a director of Minrex, criticized the promotional idea, wondering if it was a joke.

“Could it be a joke? Wow, I’m not saying Elpidio Valdés (although I could very well). I suggest them more simply: ‘Pelusín del Monte’. Does Dora Alonso sound familiar to you? ”He reflected.

On Facebook, Cuban journalist and university professor Ana Teresa Badía called the propaganda “humiliating” and “crude.” “When I thought I had seen everything, this came, violating all communication logic,” wrote Badía.

This is not the first “decolonizing crusade” of the Cuban state media. In recent months, the Cubadebate portal dedicated an extensive text to confronting what it considered foreign and imperial symbols in a Havana restaurant, about small US flags placed on hamburgers.

The article, however, does not mention the existence of other spaces in the capital where Soviet or Chinese allegorical symbols are displayed as part of the decoration of the place and the dishes served.

Meanwhile, Cuba Noticias 360 spoke with a marketing specialist residing on the island, who recalled that it is common to mix native motifs of the destination that are promoted with symbols and elements closer to the target audience, to awaken curiosity and attract attention. attention.