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Cuban Police Reportedly Removed Homeless People Before Chanel's Fashion Show

Photo: Antonello Trio/Getty Images

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Chanel's cruise 2017 show is happening tonight in Havana, and it's going to be hard to ignore the irony of models showing off what's probably a million dollars worth of designer merchandise in a communist country where 75 percent of the population earns an average of $25 a month.

If that makes you uncomfortable, consider this: a Cuban blogger and journalist is reporting that over the last few days, the Cuban police cleared the Havana square where the show is to take place of its homeless population.

The Panama Post picked up Yoani Sánchez's tweet alleging that police were evicting beggars from the streets before the arrival of Chanel's fleet of models and fashion editors.

Similar accusations were made against the Cuban government last year. When the Pope visited Cuba, journalists and the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation alleged that thousands of homeless and mentally ill people were told to leave the streets prior to his visit.

Chanel's president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky told Reuters on Tuesday that the brand wasn't sure if it would be able to stage the show in Cuba but Cuban authorities had been "very welcoming and helpful."

Here's a video of the preparation that took place in the weeks prior to Chanel's arrival in Cuba.

Even though relations between the US and Cuba are warming thanks to Obama's historic Cuba-US deal in December 2014 — and despite the fact that other players in the fashion space have also latched onto a fascination with Cuba — Chanel must know that this show could be a political lightning rod.

And here's one more way the brand could draw some ire on Tuesday evening: Fashionista picked up on rumors from Spanish language publications that Fidel Castro's grandson Tony Castro will walk in the show. Nothing like seeing the heir of a dictator make his modeling debut!