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Government allows Cubans to stay in foreigner hotels

Latest update : 2008-03-31

The Cuban government has begun to allow the country's nationals to check into the Communist island's hotels previously reserved exclusively for foreigners, hotel employees confirmed Monday.

The Cuban government has allowed the country's nationals to check into the Communist island's hotels previously reserved exclusively for foreigners, hotel employees confirmed Monday.
  
"Yes, we have received such instructions, and they are already in effect," an employee of the Copacabana Hotel, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.
  
The reform introduced by the new government of Raul Castro was also confirmed at the Cuban capital's Nacional, Victoria, President and Melia-Habana Hotels.
  
But Cubans wishing to stay at these four- or five-star places will have to pay for their rooms in hard currency, just as foreign guests.
  
Up to now, the only Cubans allowed to stay in these hotels were newlyweds on their honeymoon and distinguished workers and students. By 2006, the number of these Cubans reached 750,000, while the cost of their staying at the hotels reached 57 million dollars.
  
The move comes amid efforts by the government of President Raul Castro to do away with "excessive" bans and limitations introduced in Cuba in the course of nearly 50 years of communist rule.
  
Last Friday, the government lifted a ban of the use of cellphones by the island's citizens.
  
Mobile phones were a luxury mainly reserved for foreigners and government staff. Ordinary Cubans had to acquire them through a third party and could not obtain a service contract in their own name.

Date created : 2008-03-31

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