Before the 1959 revolution, Cuba was a popular destination for American citizens, mainly because of the numerous gambling casinos set up by the American mafia. Revolutionaries claim that the Batista dictatorship was a government that neglected the health and welfare of its own citizens in order to keep itself in power. Many Americans owned beachfront homes in the summer, and wealthy American corporations owned large factories and land with the cooperation of Fulgencio Batista, the ruling military dictator. Since the revolution, Cuba has been under a trade and economic embargo (called el bloqueo, the blockade, in Cuba) by the United States. Since 2009, US citizens with relatives living in Cuba have been allowed to visit the country.
After 1959, Cuban tourism was mainly limited to Cubans and the facilities were not renovated until the 1990s, when Cuba lost the financial support of the defunct Soviet Union and opened its doors to foreign tourism. Now many European, Canadian and even American visitors come to the island. In typical tourist areas like Varadero and Holguín, many modern 3 to 5-star hotels are available, while in less popular tourist areas you can still rent rooms in many Cuban houses (called casas particulares).
Due to several long-standing factors (e.g. inefficient bureaucracy, the US embargo, lack of resources and the loss of Soviet subsidies), much of the country’s infrastructure is in need of repair. In the main destinations, there are generally few problems with electricity or water, although power outages can occur. Power outages are common in Cuba, except in tourist facilities that have generators. The year 2006 was declared the Year of the Energy Revolution in Cuba, and many small generators were installed to avoid power cuts. Since Venezuela has been supplying Cuba with cheap oil and the refinery in Cienfuegos has reopened, the energy situation has improved. Many tourist accommodations offer 220V and 110V power sources. This is sufficient for your power needs and should allow you to plug in anything you want, at least within reason.
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