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Cuban hotels opened to Cubans

March 31, 2008 at 10:53 PM

HAVANA, March 31 (UPI) -- Cubans no longer are banned from staying at resort hotels on the communist island nation, Tourism Ministry officials say.

However, few Cubans may be able to afford to take advantage of the change, CNN reported Monday. The average Cuban makes less than $20 a month while the tourist hotels cost $60 to more than $200 a night.

Cuba entertains more than 2 million tourists annually and its Tourism Ministry recently announced at least 10 hotels will be built in Havana by 2010.

The government announcement regarding hotel usage follows last week's lifting of a ban on Cubans owning cell phones, another privilege out of the financial reach of most Cubans, CNN noted. Restrictions also have been eased on the sale of computers, microwave ovens and DVD players.

"I have referred to an excess of prohibitions and regulations, and in the next few weeks we'll start lifting the most simple of them," Cuban President Raul Castro said when taking office recently.

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