Territorial speculations of beach tourism in a Cuba SIN-EMBARGO
Sinembargo slide
+How will Cuba change its tourist branding in a SIN-EMBARGO scenario?

+How will it mutate its current spatial segregation strategy between locals and tourist in a SIN-EMBARGO scheme?

+What will be the territorial impacts in a Cuba SIN-EMBARGO that admits cruise ship tourism?

+Will Cuba become a role model for next generation tourist developments in the Caribbean and worldwide in a SIN-EMBARGO condition?

+What is the emerging territorial paradigm of Sun and Beach in the Cuba CON-EMBARGO? Will it change in a SIN-EMBARGO context?

+Will the regulation culture and environmental management remain the same in a ‘liberalized’ Cuba SIN-EMBARGO?

+How will Cuba react spatially to the opening of the massive market of second residences for American pensioners in a Cuba SIN-EMBARGO?


CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO is an instance of high speculation about the territorial potentials of massive tourism in a Cuba post embargo.

CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO promotes the production of creative scenarios for a highly specific territory with a strong socio-political identity that would change drastically after the lifting of the economic restraints of the embargo. The topic will be explored in multiple locations and scales promoting studies and proposals that varied from prototypical to the particular, from the abstract to the concrete.

CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO considers Cuba as a laboratory of advanced tourist urbanism; an exemplary case for other enclaves worldwide of linear tourism development due to its huge potential of growth for the coming years.


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has been forced to restructure deeply its tourist industry during the so called ‘periodo especial’ by reforming its planning schemes, incrementing its economic efficiency allowing more foreign investments and managing in parallel one of the strictest environmental policies in the Caribbean and perhaps in the world. Yet all of this has implied to put into question if not contradict its own revolution political message.

The Cubans had to accept as a pragmatic reality that the tourist is more profitable when he is away from the locals, in places where they speak only English and where another currency (CUC) is used. This new generation of tourist developments also keeps the locals at bay by spatial segregation methods, but also with the alibi that the sites are so fragile to accept more people in them. Is in this type of enclaves like Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo where it is very likely that the perfect model of tourist investment-return is being consolidated at this moment. A model that the hypercapitalist countries will no doubt will try to emulate soon.

Through several interviews with local experts in Cuba Supersudaca has perceived the hunch of the government itself that is currently doubting where to evolve in its near future. It has to learnt to be prepared for a Cuba with an enduring embargo (CON EMBARGO) and one that can suddenly be challenged drastically when the embargo falls and perhaps even communism also (SIN EMBARGO).

It is precisely here, in a SIN EMBARGO context that Cuba needs to be ready to confront the big challenges of massive tourism coming from the U.S.A. Not only hundreds of thousands of American spring breakers but also a huge amount of second residences for baby-boomers retirees which could find in the famous Cuban health care system a perfect formula for affordable retirement. Then there is also the giant cruise ship market (the Caribbean holds now 50% of the market) which could reform drastically the way some existing ports operate and can also anchor in new ones. All of this will bring certainly challenges to a Cuba famous for its planned and predictable outcomes; it will bring scenarios of a high degree of uncertainty that for many people could sound apocalyptical.

The Cuba post Fidel Castro has realized that it was time to adjust some of the current policies related to tourism, and has approved laws that were deemed unthinkable two years ago, for example now private taxis can operate on one side and the ‘foreign’ hotels are at least theoretically now open to all Cubans. Besides this a potential victory of Obama in U.S.A. has encouraged optimism in both sides of the island, and perhaps signals that an irreversible change towards a Cuba SIN EMBARGO is around the corner.


CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO is an international residence that will take place in the Advanced Architecture Institute of Catalunya (IAAC) from the 1st to the 13th of September of 2008. IAAC address: Pujades 102 Baixos, Poble Nou, 08005 Barcelona, Spain.

The residence is an momentaneous factory composed by professionals and students of advance years of architecture, urbanism, landscape and territorial planning. SUPERSUDACA and the CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO RESIDENCE invite architecture students to join the team and collaborate to the work production.

CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO is a project of Supersudaca in the context of their research of Caribbean tourism. The workshop is coordinated by Felix Madrazo (MEX-NL), Martin Delgado (Uruguay), Stephane Damsin (Belgium) and Juan Pablo Corvalan (Chile) and will have the participation of the winners of Sudapan Endless(s)trips competition. (www.sudapan.org).

CON EMBARGO SIN EMBARGO is greatly supported by IAAC (Advanced Architecture Institute of Catalunya). IAAC was also a kind supporter of Supersudaca for Sudapan competition. Supersudaca also has the generous support of The Prince Claus Fund under the program Network Partnership. (www.princeclausfund.nl)


On September 12 the Sudapan-Endless(s)trips exhibition will be inaugurated at Actar publishing house RAS Gallery.
Location: Doctor Dou 10 08001 BARCELONA
Time: 19:00

The finalist and winning projects of Supersudaca´s 2007-2008 international competition on the impact of tourism on the Mexican Riviera Maya will be exhibited. Results of this current RESIDENCE will be presented too during the exhibition.

A short Award ceremony will be held.

Admission is open and free of charge.