Sharing economy behemoth - and hotel industry nightmare come to life - AirBnb announced today that it has opened operations in Cuba, making it possible for users to sip Mojitos in the privacy of their own room for less than $50 a night.
Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it's starting out with more than 1,000 listings.
The move is huge on a geopolitical level, signifying Silicon Valley's first foray into Cuba since the thaw of a 50-year embargo began at the end of 2014.
Cuba is operated by a communist junta, boasts an economy that would be best described as shambolic, and barely has the internet. Luckily, AirBnB can rely on its positive experiences with more capitalist and cooperative markets at home in the good ole' US of A.
That is a tweet from New York City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, perhaps the most outspoken foe of AirBnB in an otherwise rather leftist legislative body that has almost to a member virulently opposed the startup's growth within the five boroughs.
Turns out that AirBnB is finding it easier to deal with the "Hermanos Castro" than the New York City government, which makes you wonder how effective Cuban hotel industry lobbyists are at their jobs.