Cuba Ends Tourism Apartheid

Six weeks after taking office, Raul Castro has lifted the ban on Cubans staying in local hotels.

"Cuba's so-called 'tourism apartheid' -- which has long prohibited locals from staying at hotels -- ends midnight Monday, according to news agencies in Havana.

The move ends a ban that many Cubans had fixated on as a prime example of the inequities and hardships they faced under Fidel Castro's regime. The lifting comes five weeks after Fidel Castro's brother, Raúl, took over the nation's presidency, and just days after he ended the ban on Cubans owning personal mobile phones, computers and household appliances.

But the measure is largely symbolic: a night's stay at a luxury hotel in Cuba can cost more than $200 -- which is just about what the average Cuban earns in a year.

Cubans were prohibited from staying at hotels even if someone else paid the tab.

Reuters news agency reported Monday that now Cubans can also rent cars and go to beaches once restricted to tourists."

Full Story: Cuba lifts ban on locals staying in hotels



Fantasy Island Cuba

The Communist Party's control over Cuba will waste away as fast as Castro's body once Cubans realize they have been frozen in time the world has passed them by. Russia and China have given up most of the communist economic policies while Cuba still lives under the Marx brothers propped up by tourists into Che memorabilia, beaches, and Havana's senoritas de la noche.

Once the Castros are room temperature expect a boom from Cuban expats in Miami investing in Cuba. Hopefully, as the police state powers wane, there's not a complete or near collapse of order leading to a mass exodus to southern Florida or a steady flow of illegal immigrants.

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