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    La China keeps her promise to Fidel

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    For Isabel Romero Pérez (La China), giving up the interview was never an option, nor was completely interrupting her work routines, at that time, aware of requests from clients located in the two bars of the Acuabar of the Hotel Colonial Cayo Coco, in the Jardines del Rey tourist destination.

    In these circumstances, the dialogue was agreed, far from the pre-established theory in the Journalism manuals. The reporter interrogated and moved with his recorder to the beat of the usual movements of the most popular gastronomic salesperson of the emblematic facility.

    While serving beers, cocktails, wines and rums, she smiles at the multilingual jokes of the tourists in the presence of the press, however, she manages to go back in time to describe the moment when Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz inaugurated the Hotel Guitart Cayo Coconut (today Colonial).

    At barely 23 years old, she had her first work experience in that accommodation center and, on the opening day of November 12, 1993, she personally attended Climent Guitart (director of the foreign firm that managed the hotel) and the Commander-in-Chief, during a dinner offered at the Fontanella Restaurant.

    Fidel with Hotel Colonial workers


    It was an unforgettable day because it marked the beginning of her performance as a gastronomic salesperson and she had the opportunity to talk with the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, something that always seemed unattainable to her and a moment to corroborate how much it meant to her and the commitment she assumed with him.

    Romero Pérez evoked the moments in which they exchanged, inside and outside the restaurant, when he made them understand the importance of developing the tourism sector. Those moments were perpetuated in photographs that she and her companions keep with suspicion.

    During the founding act of the first hotel built in the northern cays of Ciego de Ávila, Fidel was impressed by the hotel management and its workers, to whom he attributed qualities such as efficiency, good treatment, organization and discipline, he recalled. 

    Fidel in founding act of the Hotel Colonial


    He was amazed by the joviality of the work team, whose average age was 23 years and had graduated from technological and pre-university institutes, meanwhile, they came from relatively close places such as Ciego de Ávila, Morón, Yaguajay and Isla de Turiguanó, she recalled. 

    She also highlighted that 72 percent of the workers at the tourist facility knew a foreign language, all of them had twelfth grade degrees, and more than 20 were university graduates, therefore, she considered that there was a high level of preparation and human quality to guarantee the success of the task. 

    La China felt that she was referring to young people like her when she said that she had observed the performance of the staff in kitchens, restaurants, bars and other service areas, where she appreciated a human potential and a management that taught the science and art of serving well the clients. 

    Among many, some words remained forever engraved in her mind: “If a worker has to do his best, it is the tourism worker, who is dealing with people. People are the raw material of his work; he is not cutting cane, he is not cutting down forests, he is not removing stones from a quarry, he is working with human beings, with visitors”. 

    Her professional career has been consistent with the word pledged on that opening day, which has required sacrifice and dedication to offer a service that exceeds the expectations of visitors and guarantees a pleasant stay. 



    Part of her free time has been dedicated to learn languages ​​to better communicate with clients, so that today, in addition to her mother tongue, she is fluent in English, French and Russian, and has basic notions of dialogue in Portuguese and Italian.

    Each achievement is also attributable to her family. She thanks her parents-in-laws for supporting her in the care of her two children - now adults - since most of her time has been spent on the other side of the causeway, without this meaning abandoning her responsibilities at home and as a mother. 

    The Colonial Hotel is her second home; she professes love and fidelity. She could not leave because she feels it is as her own and now welcomes her with new motivations and expectations, after an intense remodeling process that allowed it to open in better conditions for the high tourist season. 

    After 29 years, La China continues to cling to the flagship facility of Jardines del Rey, in particular, to Acuabar, a space that it has made its own and accommodated for its own well-being and that of clients, who did not miss an opportunity to emphasize, in different languages , that "she is the best" and they gave her a round of applause.