Based on the Enrique Cirules book “El Imperio de la Habana" and set in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, THE EMPIRE OF HAVANA, uses individual histories, as it narrates the incredible building of a network of extraordinary corruption. Behind an apparently glamorous Havana, known as ‘The Paris of the Caribbean’ we discover how a criminal state was formed in Cuba, where the real power was in the hands of the North American Mafia and the U.S. Secret Services, while the Cuban government as the unpredictable actor was creating the conditions for its own collapse . The characters of The Empire of Havana incarnate an era, a world of gangsters, dreamers, music, sensuality, intrigue and murder.
By 1957, Meyer Lansky, ‘the financier’ of the U.S. mafia has built, under Lucky Luciano’s orders, a vast network of hotels and casinos to house their criminal enterprises…
At the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas Lansky first meets a young Cuban croupier named Jaime Casielles. Jaime soon learns first-hand about the Cuban underworld that Lansky is planning to expand with the delight and complicity of President Batista, and a great part in his administration.
Vito Genovese and the other New York crime bosses, in defiance of Luciano, put pressure on Havana to open up the U.S. cocaine traffic. Lansky must use all his skills and resources to avoid his Cuban empire to be split among the powerful and violent Italian-American crime families.
A master strategist, Lansky orders the hit on Genovese lieutenant Albert Anastasia in New York, a killing that starts a gang war, taking countless lives in Cuba and the U.S.
Lansky is left with no choice but to hide in the home of beautiful Carmen Romero, a Cuban girl with whom he fell hopelessly in love. Only Jaime knows his true whereabouts. Not even Joe Stasi or Santo Trafficante, his closest associates, knew anything about this…
The gang war subsides, but not before Lansky delivers a crippling blow and blows the whistle by tipping the FBI, via a Batista official, about a big mafia summit taking place in New Jersey (the now famous Appalachia raid), where Vito Genovese and other ‘capos’ are temporarily captured and exposed and registered as mafia bosses in the FBI’s files.
Meanwhile, Lanski must confront the excessive greed of President Batista, which endangers his plan to build fifty additional luxury hotels, a long cherished dream and the biggest project of his life.
All the while failing to notice that there is an unexpected development on the island, the revolutionary winds of change that will ultimately bring down his EMPIRE OF HAVANA.