HAVANA, Cuba, Friday July 7, 2017 – When you think of communist Cuba, romance is generally not the first thing that springs to mind. But authorities in Havana have shown a softer side with the announcement that they’re restoring a network of hotels where rooms are rented by the hour to sweethearts seeking privacy.
State-run “posadas”, or love motels, had been a haven for lovers from the late 1800s, but disappeared in the 1990s during Cuba’s economic crisis when they were converted to hurricane shelters.
Private householders filled the gap in the romance market, but at the kind of prices suited only to the relatively wealthy.
The entrepreneurs usually furnish their love nests with a bed and a fridge, and provide air-conditioning, and charge about US$5 for three hours. But since that is roughly a sixth of the average monthly Cuban salary (US$29.60), it is beyond most people’s reach.
Cuban officials say cheaper posadas will solve the problem and will help end the practice of love-making in Havana’s open spaces.
Couples making love are a common sight in Havana’s parks, on the beach and on the famed Malaccan seafront.
A commentator in the Trabajadores newspapers recalled that the first posada opened at the end of the 19th Century in central Havana and that most Cubans had vivid memories of them – “of memorable kisses and of the porter calling to the lovers when their time had finished.”
On a more practical note, state housing officials at the Provincial Housing Company of Havana say the new network of five posadas will be highly lucrative and will help people struggling with Havana’s overcrowded and scarce housing.
Many families are often crammed together in the same apartment in Havana. The housing shortage is said to be so acute that divorced couples often have nowhere to go and are forced to remain in the same house.