A painful history lesson
Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque has launched a photo campaign to expose the many failures and abuses of the Castrogonian state.
Many of her photos feature the dangerous deterioration of the country’s housing.
Here is a photo received today. She entitled it “Life hanging by a little thread.” As she explains in a brief caption: the residents of this Havana neighborhood have lodged numerous complaints about this collapsing roof, but none of the officials in charge of repairs have responded in any way.
This used to be a decent middle class neighborhood, its buildings proudly well-maintained by their owners. Most of these buildings are now about 80 to 100 years old, and not much has been done to maintain them over the past 55 years.
This location is only about 11 city blocks from where my immigrant Gallego grandparents lived, in a modest upstairs apartment. Under the arcade pictured here, and others like it, individual entrepreneurs would sell all kinds of great food or other goods from their “timbiriches” (vendor’s carts). And the larger stores, bars, and restaurants were well-stocked. The Chinese hot dog man at the corner of Ayestaran and Bruzon, not far from here, sold the best “fritas,” and “papitas” in the world, and the best “perros calientes,” too. His timbiriche was confiscated by the Castro regime, along with every other business on the island.
Goodbye, “Chino de los perros,” goodbye civilization.
When no one owns anything and when no one has access to money or building supplies (because the government owns everything, and keeps wages at a mere subsistence level) this is what happens. The economy shrinks and shrinks with every passing day and everything rots and crumbles, except for whatever is of personal interest to the ruling elites.
Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, Nicaraguans, Bolivians: take a close look. It’s looking more and more like this will be your future. Argentines, Uruguayans, Brazilians, Peruvians, Hondurans: take a close look too. You’re headed in the same general direction.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
—George Santayana, Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner’s, 1905, p. 284