LIFESTYLE

For better or worse, gentrification comes to Havana
In some tourist-flooded neighborhoods, the redistribution of wealth that transformed Cuba after its revolution appears to be rewinding before people's eyes.
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This April 5, 2016 photo shows buildings on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. With tourism up nearly 20 percent since Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro ended a half-century of cold war in Dec. 2014, Cubans with wealthy friends or family abroad are funneling millions of dollars into a real-estate market that's suddenly white-hot. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

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This April 5, 2016 photo shows the Habana 21 restaurant, named for its address in Old Havana, Cuba. "When I arrived, it was totally different," said the restraint's owner Reinaldo Bordon, 44, who purchased the property where he runs one of the city's top restaurants, with two friends three years ago. "If things continue at this pace, I think in another 10 years it will change a lot." (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo, Mercedes Leon, 75, stands in her kitchen on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba, where she lives with her husband and blind son. A real estate agent helping sell the property said Leon's home hasn't sold as quickly as others on the block because the government still owns the house on his building's second floor, which needs significant repairs and cannot be sold. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo Cuban-American Jose Angel Valls Cabarrocas, 70, gives an interview in his property on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. Cabarrocas and his wife purchased two homes, one on top of the other, that they are planning on connecting and making into a getaway for family and friends. He√Ęs trying to keep all the original vestiges of the colonial home, though after 57 years with almost no maintenance, the property needs a lot of work. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 6, 2016 photo, Magaly Gonzalez Martinez, 66, left, stands at the entrance of her tenement building with her mother Cristina Gonzalez Martinez, 82, on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. The younger Gonzalez says she's pleased by some of the changes on her block but worried by the wave of gentrification that is transforming large swathes of Havana, bringing a defining characteristic of modern real-estate to one of the world's last communist countries. "I thought everything should be equal, no?" said the retired construction worker. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo, Jesus Hermida Franco paints in his studio on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. Franco, 41, an artist who is using the bottom floor of his family's home as a studio, said there always remained some degree of inequality and class division in Cuba. If anything, the market is giving people a shot who didn't have one before. "Thanks to these changes people have been able to realize their dreams," he said, adding "some" people. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo, Pedro Alejandro Lopez, 83, left, stands at the entrance of his home, with his blind son Pedro, on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. Lopez has never spoken to the tourists who now walk through his street, nor has he ever dined at the new Habana 61 restaurant on his street, where grilled lobster with tropical fruit sauce would cost his entire monthly pension. Nonetheless, he's enjoying watching the transformation happening on his street. "Before we had a monotonous life," he said. "Now theres's more activity" (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 6, 2016 photo, government tenement resident Marisa Noguera, 61, stands outside her home on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. Some Cuba observers wonder if the real estate market will shift Havana back toward the inequality that characterized it nearly six decades ago. Providing equal housing was one of the revolutions first goals. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo Pedro Alejandro Lopez, 83, stands in his kitchen with his wife Mercedes Leon on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. The elderly couple and their blind son live on his $12 monthly pension and are eager to sell the house and buy a smaller property in better condition. The property is currently listed on a realty website for $55,000. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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In this April 6, 2016 photo, Magaly Gonzalez Martinez, 66, standing, visits with family members in her home inside a tenement building on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. When she moved in 46 years ago, the building was still in relatively good condition. But the sun and rain slowly deteriorated the structure until the roof collapse five years ago that destroyed the front of the building. For the last five years, the residents have been wondering when the building will finally be repaired. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

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In this April 5, 2016 photo, columns decorate the home of Pedro Alejandro Lopez on Calle Habana in Old Havana, Cuba. Before Fidel Castro's revolution, well-heeled Cubans lived in exclusive Havana neighborhoods while the poor lived in shantytowns. Almost immediately, evictions were prohibited and rental payments slashed up to 50 percent. Droves of middle- and upper-class Cubans fled, leaving behind mansions and suburban homes that the state handed out to the poor. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

For better or worse, gentrification comes to Havana

In some tourist-flooded neighborhoods, the redistribution of wealth that transformed Cuba after its revolution appears to be rewinding before people's eyes.

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