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Cuba shuts down private cinemas and video-game salons

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Post 02 Nov 2013, 22:20
BBC wrote:
Cuba shuts down private cinemas and video-game salons

Cuba has ordered the immediate closure of dozens of privately-run cinemas and video-game salons.

The government said they were never authorised, and that it needed to bring "order" to the management of independent businesses.

The Communist island recently relaxed restrictions on the private sector.

But some Cuban entrepreneurs had used restaurant and other types of business licences to operate backroom movie and entertainment parlours.

"Cinematic exhibition (including 3D rooms) and computer games will cease immediately in whatever kind of private business activity," read a government announcement in the state-run newspaper Granma.

It warned of decisive action against any violations of the law, and defended its decision to instil "discipline" in the private sector, adding that this was not "a step backward".

"Quite the contrary, we will continue to decidedly advance in the updating of our economic model."

'Huge blow'
President Raul Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel in 2008, has relaxed some economic restrictions on the set-up of private businesses in the communist island, where the state still employs 79% of the five million-strong labour force.

He opened up retail services to "self employment" in the form of nearly 200 licensed activities such as seamstresses, taxis and small restaurants.

But some residents had used these categories to operate cinema and video-game parlours.

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Young people need these salons. They spend time there instead of being on the streets.”

Rafael Gonzalez
Cuban father
The closure is a huge blow to those entrepreneurial Cubans who invested heavily, especially in 3D cinemas, importing equipment at considerable cost from abroad, says the BBC correspondent in Havana, Sarah Rainsford.

There had been hints this crackdown was coming. Cuban Culture Ministry officials talked of the "banality" and "frivolity" of films on offer, mostly produced in America, and out of line, they complained, with the cultural policy of the revolution.

Still, our correspondent adds, the hope was that the booming sector would be regulated, not closed down.

"It's a lack of respect. What are we going to do now?'' Lionny Gonzalez, a 15-year-old high school student, told the Associated Press news agency.

"Young people need these salons,'' said Rafael Gonzalez, a 53-year-old father of five. "They spend time there instead of being on the streets.''

Correspondents say private cinemas had become a popular alternative to poorly-maintained, state-run movie theatres that shy away from showing Hollywood and other mainstream films.

According to government figures, more than 400,000 people in Cuba are self-employed, of whom around 100,000 work as employees of small businesses.
Post 02 Nov 2013, 23:28
I don't see how keeping kids off the street is relevant with shutting down backdoor theaters and arcades. The western media likes to twist things around. Anyway this was bound to happen as people will push to make extra profit.
Post 02 Jan 2014, 11:21
Banality and frivolity of Hollywood movies. Perish the thought that there could ever be frivolity in Cuba. As for banality the regime provides enough. It sad that they deny the people such pleasures. It should be up to the people to decide if a movie is banal or frivolous and not some state censor.
I think they don’t like Hollywood movies as they don’t want the proles to see what life is like outside of Cuba.
Post 02 Jan 2014, 15:51
I found Sex and the City 2 to be an accurate portrayal of my life in every way.
Post 02 Jan 2014, 22:05
Yami wrote:
Banality and frivolity of Hollywood movies. Perish the thought that there could ever be frivolity in Cuba. As for banality the regime provides enough. It sad that they deny the people such pleasures. It should be up to the people to decide if a movie is banal or frivolous and not some state censor.
I think they don’t like Hollywood movies as they don’t want the proles to see what life is like outside of Cuba.

Do you really think that they just played Malcolm in the Middle and Blood Diamond over and over?
Erichs_Pastry_Chef wrote:
I found Sex and the City 2 to be an accurate portrayal of my life in every way.

Failure to Launch.
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