Two friends from childhood, reunited after many years, have decided to marry in these winter months. They spend a few days running here and there to buy what they need for a traditional ceremony. A sister who lives in Miami has brought the rings and rented the suit from someone involved in this illegal business. They asked me to take the photos because a professional would charge a huge sum to take a portrait while they kissed.
Everything's going well until the loving couple receives the news that it's no longer possible to get a few nights in a hotel, paying in Cuban pesos. For almost twenty years newlyweds have had the rare right to stay--paying with the national currency, moneda nacional--in the hotels that were otherwise only for tourists, who pay in a different currency, convertible pesos. This extremely attractive subsidized honeymoon offer led many into legal unions just so they could enjoy staying in a bungalow or eating from the abundant buffet. Certain skilled entrepreneurs signed false marriage certificates, to resell them to other married couples for two or three nights of peace and comfort.
When my two friends learned that the hotel offer, affordable for them only if they could pay in the currency in which they receive their wages, had been eliminated, it almost capsized the wedding. Those days, planned for intimate privacy, had played a part in the dreams of the newlyweds. Now, they knew they would have to share these so intimate moments of loving coexistence with their families. However, the exiled sister has given them a surprise to ease the frustration: she's invited them to the pool at the Hotel Riviera for a whole morning. With the strong currency she brings from Florida, she will give the turtledoves a few hours of real comfort.
Photos: M. Porter
Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English Translation.