A luxury hotel without customers illuminates Havana in the shadows

Greater Aston, located on 1 and D streets, very close to Malecón Avenue. (Courtesy)

By Juan Izquierdo (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES — In the midst of near-absolute blackout in Havana’s Vedado, the Grand Aston Hotel Havana seemed otherworldly, less precarious and underdeveloped. All his lamps, windows, spotlights, reflectors and light bulbs were at their maximum capacity, paying no heed to the disturbing reports from the electric company.

Energy conservation is not an issue that interests the administrators of the Greater Aston, located on 1st and D streets, just off the Havana Malecon. The “newest and sleekest” hotel in the city, according to its website, also doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern for the Cuban government, which is juggling to attract investment from foreign companies in the tourism sector.

This is not the first time that hotels and state establishments seem to enjoy a particular “isolation” in the cities of the island, sheltered from power cuts, the misery of the populations, police repression, hunger and protests caused by all these factors.

On the same day the Grand Aston cast its luminous aura over the darkened capital, Habaneros watched the eerie glow of fire at the supertanker base in Matanzas.

Also, during this day, the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant announced its umpteenth exit from the national electricity grid, under the pretext of not having “sufficient water supply” and fuel, while an acid and heavy downpour bathed the roofs of the city.

The torment of the Cuban people does not end there. A few days before the Matanzas explosion, the Minister of Economy formally declared war on informal currency and provoked the usual question: “If we don’t have electricity, food, welfare or future, what do they do with our dollars? »

Neighbors gazing at the glowing tower of the Grand Aston must have thought that perhaps the hotel was the only place in Havana where these questions referred to a distant reality.

It’s not for nothing that the managers claim that anyone who can afford a room at the Grand Aston will have access to “a refuge in which to relax and rejuvenate, while enjoying its glamour”.

The price of the only illuminated Eden in Havana ranges between $179 and $244 per night, tropical and truly luxurious, unlike the lodgings of the rest of the Havanese.

The Grand Aston, as seen in the photo, shockingly happy with a Cuba extinguished by the harsh lives of its citizens, is the most eloquent symbol of how the country’s darkness fuels government enterprises.

Translated by Regina Anavy for Translate Cuba

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