Hotel Nacional

(notes from my trip to Cuba)

John Raygoza
Copyright – John Raygoza

Shortly after WW II, Lucky Luciano was paroled from prison on the condition that he permanently return to Italy. However, Luciano secretly moved to Cuba and resided here at this hotel.

In December of 1946, Meyer Lansky, under the pretense that he was there to watch Frank Sinatra perform live, called for a meeting of the minds to discuss the business at hand. The three topics of discussion: the heroin trade, Cuban gambling, and the Flamingo hotel situation. The “Havana Conference” took place in this hotel and attendees included Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Albert Anastasia, and Vito Genoese, to name a few. Francis Ford Coppola dramatized the conference in Godfather II.
At the conference, Lucky Luciano reminded everyone in attendance that he’s not the Capo de tutti Capi (boss of bosses), he’s just the first amongst equals…and of course Hollywood will never let us forget, this is where Bugsy Seagal’s fate was sealed. Hotel Nacional. It has a lot of history.

Sometime in 1947 Lansky convinced then President Batista to give him a stake of the hotel. Lansky opened a bar, casino, and luxury suites inside the hotel. Fidel Castro closed the casino in 1960, 2 years after he overthrew Batista.


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