Show's over for Cuba movie, game parlors

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

HAVANA — Cuban authorities are bringing down the curtain on the privately run cinemas and video game salons that have mushroomed on the island recently, saying on Saturday that the businesses are unauthorized and proprietors must immediately halt such entertainment.

The movie and video parlors have been operating in a legal gray area, often under licenses for independent restaurants that offer basic food and refreshments. They are not mentioned on the list of nearly 200 areas of independent enterprise authorized under limited economic changes started by Raul Castro.

An announcement published in Communist Party newspaper Granma said the show is over.

“Cinematic exhibition (including 3-D rooms) and computer games will cease immediately in whatever kind of private business activity,” the message said.

Many private cinema operators spent thousands of dollars to start their businesses, which range from modest to flashy and offer Hollywood blockbusters and fast-paced video games.

“Young people need these salons,” said Rafael Gonzalez, 53, a father of five. “They spend time there instead of being on the streets.”

The Communist Party youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde recently published a lengthy article quoting Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas as saying the salons promote “frivolity, mediocrity, pseudo culture and banality.”

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