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Travellers, don't romanticise struggle

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OPINION: If you love to travel then I guarantee you've seen these images. You've seen them all over your social media feeds: on your friends' accounts, on other travellers' accounts, even from respected disseminators like Nat Geo.

They're iconic images of Cuba, photos of vintage American cars trundling along crumbling streets, snaps of the faded glory of Havana's old facades, of smiling Cubans eking out a living and looking as if they couldn't be happier doing it.

Travellers love to celebrate this imagery. We love the vintage aesthetic of Cuba (it looks great on Instagram). We love the romance of visiting this country and stepping back in time into the 1950s. We love the knowledge that we could ride in those cars and stroll those streets and feel what it felt like to be alive back in those days.

Tourists have been flocking to Cuba in the last five or six years to see it before it "changes", before the Castro era draws to a close, before communism's inevitable fall, before relations with the US improve and the island begins to flourish and to resemble all of the other islands of the Caribbean, with all the benefits and drawbacks that democracy and modernisation would........

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