Cuba embraces golf to boost tourism

May 10, 2008 samatar

By farhan mohamoud hidig

 

HAVANA (Reuters) – The only time Cuba’s Fidel Castro is known to have played golf was in 1961, in a stunt thumbing his nose at the United States.

 

Now that Fidel has handed over power to his brother, Raul, Communist Cuba is setting aside any ideological objections and is embracing golf, the most capitalist of sports.

 

Investors from Canada and Europe have proposed building gated communities with luxury hotels, villas and condos surrounding 18 and 36-hole golf courses near beach resorts across the Caribbean island.

 

Some of the projects, which include one by top British architect Norman Foster’s firm, have been on the drawing board for years and their backers are hoping Cuba’s new president, Raul Castro, will give them the green light to revive golf.

 

“Old-school objections to golf on ideological grounds have fallen away,” said Mark Entwistle, a former Canadian ambassador to Havana who now consults to foreign companies planning to do business here

farhan143@hotmail.com

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