Pool attendant Jorge Luis Rivero repairs a rail around the rooftop pool at the Capri hotel in Havana. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)
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In its heyday, Havana's Capri hotel and casino was the playground of men known as The Blade and The Fat Butcher.Havana's hedonistic mob-and-movie-star days came to an end with Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, and the hotel drifted into a long, slow decline. But now the Capri is back in business after being closed more than a decade ago. The newly refurbished Capri reopened around New Year's as a partnership between state-run tourism company Grupo Caribe, which owns the hotel, and Spanish hotel chain NH Hoteles SA, which is responsible for administration.Hurrying downstairs, Raft pleaded for calm with revolutionary-minded Cubans who were ransacking the hotel, English writes.Hotel operators are talking about putting historic pictures in the lobby like the nearby Nacional, another hotel where the mob once ran a lucrative casino.He noted that the cabaret parties and casino riches were for the elite, while many Cubans struggled with poverty, disease and illiteracy – a social equation that the 1959 revolution was specifically intended to upend.Still, he called the Capri one of the three most architecturally important hotels of its era in Havana and said there's nothing wrong with using Cuba's Mafia past to create income and jobs for the country.
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