I LOVE GITMO

Programme: Investigation of potential tourism shifts and territorial
speculations for Cuba in a post-embargo context
Client: Supersudaca Foundation
Workshop organization: Supersudaca Foundation (Stéphane Damsin, Martin Delgado, Felix Madrazo)
Workshop Support: Prins Claus Fund
Workshop Host: IaaC - Barcelona (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya)

Workshop/Residence Team: Annaick Deceuninck, Raul Leymonnie, Diego Pérez, Nenad Simic, Laurent Troost, Mateja Zivadinovic
Black Market Research Team: Diego Pérez, Laurent Troost
I LOVE GITMO Team: Laurent Troost
Location: Guantanamo - Cuba
Status: Research developed @ 'Con Embargo Sin Embargo' Residence/Workshop 2008

It would be pure non-sense to try to deny and erase the image of Cuba linked with vices and prohibition: major sex tourism destination, located in the middle of springbreakers ultimate spots, attractive ‘illegal’ destination for American tourists that love to try to sneak in, ‘the’ place of fake cigars, fake rum and other black markets, and used to be the major destination for gambling/alcohol in the 50’s when those were illegal in the States.

Not only US Institutions, but also Barack Obama, are seriously considering shutting down Guantanamo. For the first time since its creation in 2002, the US Army is officially speaking of reconversion of the site.

Guantanamo is a perfect location for a combination of political systems in one place where all vices could simultaneously coexist, and leading to cultural cohabitations never-seen before.!

The dual-destination Guantanamo-Santiago could counterbalance the other dual-destination of the island, Habana-Varadero, main attractor of cuban tourism.

But the major advantage of the place is that the existing Guantanamo already gathers the conditions to receive mass tourism: 3 international airports, naval infrastructure for cruise ships, efficient road system, a golf course and various fast-foods. Guantanamo also has a strong potential for territorial development, plus an inherent potential for specific tourism: bunkers, 6-inch battery, etc. Another advantage is that it has been energy self-sufficient since 1964, when Castro cut off power&water.

Nevertheless, the negative image of the place has to be washed away: a branding strategy should promote ‘GITMO’ (nickname used by soldiers). The branding of GITMO is easy because it gathers all what some American tourists are looking for: excess, vices, ‘illegality’, etc combined with the more ‘typical’ Cuban tourist features: rum, cigars, prostitution. And the place has another strong selling feature: its military history!