©2021 Heiner Sträßer
Right next to the Capitolio from the 1920s is the Gran Teatro de La Habana with its many balconies and turrets in lavish splendour.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Cuba was officially independent, but de facto completely dependent on the USA. Large parts of the Cuban economy are in American hands and lead to a rich upper class. They indulge themselves in magnificent palaces and in 1914 renovate the Gran Teatro de La Habana, built in 1838. More and more, Havana becomes a destination for US tourists and a refuge for mafia bosses. Their business models were based on gambling, prostitution and alcohol, among other things (especially during Prohibition from 1929 to 1933 in the USA). As the Mafia's influence grows, the government becomes more and more corrupt. The population becomes impoverished and begins to fight back. Under Batista, who becomes president in 1954 with the support of the mafia boss Meyer Lanski, the situation worsens. The movement around Fidel Castro gains more and more support and leads to Batista's escape and the seizure of power in January 1959.