14ymedio, Havana, 7 May 2021 — Impassive in the face of the health crisis and the collapse of international tourism, the Cuban military consortium Gaviota is already preparing to open a new hotel with a shopping center in Havana with the participation of a large Indian chain based in Portugal, MGM Muthu Hotels. According to the corporate general director of the brand in Cuba, Rafael López, the Gran Muthu Habana, at 3rd and 70th streets in Havana, is the main project but it will not be the only one.
The opening of the Grand Muthu Almirante Beach, in the Guardalavaca resort, is also imminent, scheduled for July 1. This five-star hotel has 514 rooms and a lobby with ocean views.
The firm’s manager also told the official press that another tourist center is being planned in Holguín, in the Yuraguanal area, with some 480 rooms.
MGM Muthu Hotels has been on the Island for three years, the only destination in the Caribbean where it is present. The chain already has five hotels in Cuba, among which is the Grand Muthu Plaza in Havana, currently closed for repairs.
In addition, it has the Muthu Playa Varadero, in the popular resort of Matanzas and three more in Ciego de Ávila: Cayo Guillermo, Imperial and Rainbow. The latter two were included, in November 2019, on the blacklist of Cuban companies with which Americans are prohibited from doing business, because they are controlled by the military.
Greater Muthu Habana harbored a serious coronavirus outbreak in September last year, when 23 of the Indian workers who worked at the facility tested positive for Covid-19.
Although it was initially speculated that their arrival was due to the exception of the Foreign Investment Law, which authorizes “special regulations” for foreign workers in “special circumstances,” the situation was not confirmed and shortly after it was learned that they were working for Almest , a real estate arm of the Cuban military.
The official press then insisted that their work was of a very high quality and that they did “three or four times” the work a Cuban would. “Their presence is makes a high use of the working day, which results in greater productivity,” Juventud Rebelde said in a 2016 article.
According to the international press, the salary Bouygues paid to Indian workers was around 1,600 dollars a month, 53 times more than that paid to Cubans for the same work.
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