“Love Motels” Return to Cuba

Photo by Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government is back in the motel business renting rooms out by the hour, after decades of having been closed down. The stated goal: to “diversify people’s options for making love”, local media have published today.

In Cuba, there were dozens of such facilities, which were known as posadas, but in the 1990s, the last ones closed down and were given to citizens who had lost their homes to the hurricanes that struck.

Due to the national housing shortage, and especially in Havana, it’s quite common for several generations of a family to live in the same apartment or house, some couples even share the same home after they divorce because they don’t have any other choice.

Private entrepreneurs took advantage of the Cuban people’s demand for privacy and were renting out rooms for three hours for these romantic encounters for 5 USD.

“A high figure for the average Cuban,” the weekly newspaper Trabajadores pointed out. In Cuba, the average salary doesn’t reach 30 USD per month and many Cubans earn between 15 and 20 USD.

Those without privacy at home and who couldn’t pay this sum had to go to “parks, dark stairways, the beach and even the Malecon,” wrote Trabajadores.

“We want to revive this service which is in high demand, it has a great social impact and it is very lucrative, there’s no doubt about it,” stated Alfonso Munoz Chang, the director of the Provincial Housing Company in Havana.

Now, the Cuban State wants to make it easy again for people to make love and the project will begin with the “Vento” motel, a two-story building with 16 rooms with bathrooms. Later, the project will extend to “La Monumental”, “Eden Arriba”, “Eden Abajo” motels and the “Ocho Vias” hotel.

“Thinking about how to diversify people’s options to make love isn’t unfounded,” the weekly newspaper Trabajadores wrote. “It’s a reality which concerns everyone and it can’t become a luxury.”

The following photos by Juan Suarez are of buildings that used to be “posadas” that were turned into residences in the 1990s.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery. On your PC or laptop, you can use the directional arrows on the keyboard to move within the gallery. On cell phones use the keys on the screen.

15 thoughts on ““Love Motels” Return to Cuba

  • I have read all the above comments in addition to the article. All very valid. May I put another angle to this pot: Posadas or whatever the current name for this temp purpose-built concept is, I would suggest the problem is going to get worse. People are allowed to have sex – as a result: some more children will be born in due course thereby increasing further demands on housing and services….. one is looking at a downward spiral. I was in Cuba last week and examined the housing situation and I reached mixed conclusions: some of which have been articulated above.
    My take: I am still confused but overall feel sorry for the masses.

  • I summarize:

    Posadas are one of many results of the housing shortage but they are not a cause.

    The cause of the overall housing shortage is government policies, a different discussion. FWIW, I suspect you and I are in complete agreement on this point. Where we differ is the need to interject politics into any and every discussion about Cuban people and culture.

  • Discussion is as I understand it Bob, an exchange of ideas.
    I believe that the evident need to build posadas is consequence of the dire lack of housing for the younger generations. It is evident as I illustrated, that the regime has resources to build both an extensive housing estate for MININT and the posadas. I know of an application by a young couple to build a modest 640 sq ft two bedroom house with finance and labour available. Fourteen months after submitting plans to their municipality they still did not have permission although they enquired every month. So they have to continue to live with two older generations. That’s reality. As they don’t live in Havana, they will not have access to the posadas.
    I believe that the lack of housing stock has necessitated the posadas and with respect, I don’t think that it is for you to determine what is eligible for discussion and what is not. Our opinions may differ, so tell me what do you think is the cause for the evident necessity to construct posadas if it isn’t lack of housing stock?

  • Carlyle: you simply side stepped responding to my comments in your reply. While I agree in general with your reply they are not applicable to the discussion at hand.

  • The posadas are necessary because of the lack of housing for younger generations- it’s that simple Bob.
    I mentioned the large area of new housing provided by the regime for MININT employees, to illustrate that new housing is built for those necessary to the regimes repressive policies.

  • Carlyle: do you think the construction of a few posadas has any significant effect on the overall housing situation? Posadas may be an effect of the housing situation but certainly not a cause.

    You still did not link posadas with housing preferences for special groups such as MINIT, hence it is a red herring.

  • It has everything to do with the subject Bob Michaels. The new posadas are necessary because of the ever decreasing availability of living space for young Cubans. But, the regime does obviously possess the resources to build new houses for the MININT goons – necessary to maintain communist repression.

  • I am very aware of Mariela Castro Espín activities as the director of the Cuban National Center
    for Sex Education and LBGTQ rights activist.

    Your criticism of the Cuban government’s housing preference for groups that support the government, while valid, is no more than a red herring having nothing to do with the subject.

  • Bullseye.

    This is not complicated.

  • Your response properly ought to be related to the contribution made by Michael Ritchie. You Bob Michaels may be unaware of Raul Castro Ruz’s daughter’s activities and appointed role in Cubans sexual lives?
    You are absolutely correct when you say that many people in Cuba do not have the opportunity for privacy at home with multi-generation occupancy being the norm, as the availability of homes for the younger generations continues to decline.
    However as I previously noted in these pages, during a visit to Artemisa, I noted a whole new area of new houses for MININT employees. Perhaps an indication that “the devil looks after his own”! The boss of those employees as you may know, is Raul Castro’s son General Alejandro Castro Espin. Helps to keep it all in the family!

  • Why do you refer to the sexual activity that will take place in these motels as “illicit?”

    Let’s say that i accept each and every one of your criticisms as accurate, how will it help Cubans if their sexual activity is hampered by lack of privacy?

  • This is standard fare “Let them eat cake” socialist policy. While buildings are collapsing, crops returning to seed, waterways being polluted, etc., the Castro dictatorship responds by making illicit sex easier and keeping rum cheap.

  • This action has nothing to do with prostitution, Batista, Communism, or sexual preference. It is simply the government providing a low cost private place for people to have sex as many do not have that opportunity at home. No more, no less.

  • No Michael, it is the Communist Party of Cuba under the direction of Raul Castro Ruz that is alive and well. Obviously his daughter is turning her attention from the LGBT community and addressing the straight – but not so narrow! The PCC has no known morality.
    Your inference that prostitution had or has any connection with Batista sixty years ago is obviously humorous.
    The ‘local police’ as you describe the State Police and MININT goons are far too busy pursuing law abiding citizens and couples of mixed race, to bother with the prostitutes – after all, would you deny them a known source of their income?

  • What?? Local policia raise hell with the prostitutes propositioning all over Havana and now they want to make it easier?
    Did Batista return from the dead?

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