Bruce Sterling on Mon, 16 Jul 2001 02:31:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> FW: Cuba Buys Disney, Announces Redevelopment Plans

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From: "futurefeedforward" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 09:47:55 -0700
To: <>
Subject: Cuba Buys Disney, Announces Redevelopment Plans

December 18, 2071

Cuba Buys Disney, Announces Redevelopment Plans

ORLANDO--At a press conference held late Tuesday to formally announce
Cuba's acquisition of The Walt Disney Company, officials from the Cuban
Bureau of Recreation unveiled plans to redevelop Disney properties
worldwide. "Disney's entertainment properties are an ideal fit for us,"
noted Cuban Executive Director of Learning Environments Minerva Perez.  
"This acquisition supplies us with the infrastructure that will enable us
to leverage our ideological advantages and get our message out globally."

    Asked about the acquisition, Disney Chairman and CEO Increase Matthews
pointed to a "Cuban tradition of tourism and showmanship very familiar to
all of us here at Disney," and declared confidently that, "with the
infusion of Cuba's fresh blood and capital," the "spirit of Disney will
live on into the 22nd century."

    The once powerful entertainment giant's stock hit an historic low of
$.53 in April as attendance at its parks plummeted following public
release of FBI crime statistics covering the Orlando and Anaheim
properties.  "It's sad to say, but the Disney parks have actually become
fairly dangerous," explains FBI Crime Trends Division spokesman Jerome
Hoyle.  "Gangs of street kids and mid-life nostalgia vandals roam the
grounds.  Security is lax because of budget cuts, and they're desperate
enough for gate revenues that they've done little to discourage 'wilding
Wednesdays.' The revenue-boosting liquor concession has only added to the

    Many analysts attribute the decline in Disney's fortunes to the
company's failure to secure immemorial intellectual property rights in its
stock characters, including "Mickey Mouse," "Donald Duck," and "Goofy."
Accused of price gouging in merchandise-starved developing markets, Disney
late last year lost its twelve-year battle with the WIPO and was forced to
dedicate the characters to public use.  "That was a huge blow," notes
Jupiter analyst Marie Cacke.  "Disney's character-branded merchandise
revenues crashed as everybody and their uncle crowded into the market for
Mickey t-shirts.  From there, things at Disney spiraled out of control
even quicker than most of us expected."

    Cuba's plans for the Disney parks are extensive, and include the
development of free, park-wide healthcare, co-operative ownership of
individual rides and attractions, and emancipation of the bioengineered
characters that roam the grounds.  The country also plans extensive
revision of the "theme" of the parks.  Cuba's Perez explains:  
"Traditionally, the Disney parks have been distorted monuments to
industrial capitalism, its 'Frontierland' colonial past and its
'Tommorrowland' future.  We're planning a more well-rounded vision,
including a newly designed 'the people's land,' and a special new ride:
'Indiana Jones and the Sweatshop of Doom.'"

    In an irony lost on few, Cuba is funding the Disney acquisition with
revenues generated by worldwide sales of its popular Fidel-branded
merchandise.  Iconic images of Cuba's former president, including Fidel
watches, t-shirts, and key chains, are expected to be available in Disney
stores by month's end.  Cuban officials are reported to have contacted
topiary experts throughout the world concerning the best shrubs to plant
in the shape of the beloved Castro.


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