Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has left Havana in ruins, and hurricanes will only make it worse

Before 1959, Havana was a modern and thriving metropolis. It was a cosmopolitan city with breathtaking architecture that could hold its own against any other city in the world. And then came the Fidel Castro and communism.

Since taking power on January 1st, 1959, the Cuban dictatorship has done little to nothing to maintain the nation’s capital. 58 years after the “revolution,” Havana is crumbling. Buildings collapse on a regular basis, many times on top of its occupants who have nowhere else to live but in decrepit structures due to the socialism-induced shortage of housing.

Havana is crumbling all on its own. But when you add hurricanes and their destructive winds and rain, the situation only gets worse.

Mimi Whitefield reports in The Miami Herald:

Hurricane Irma highlights the problem of Havana’s crumbling homes

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/60k6ic/picture174682976/alternates/FREE_1140/Cuba%20Hurricane%20Irma%20(3)

As Hurricane Irma approached, a balcony dislodged from the fourth floor of a Central Havana building and fell on a bus, killing two young women, and two brothers died in the same neighborhood when a wall from an adjoining building collapsed on to the roof of their dwelling.

While their deaths were poignant, falling architectural elements and collapsing buildings that splay bricks and timbers into the street are an all too common occurrence in Havana where some of the buildings people inhabit are centuries old and in poor repair. A good rain can cause a derrumbe (collapse).

In a preliminary report, the Cuban government said 4,288 homes in the capital were damaged by Irma. Even though Cuba generally executes hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans with military efficiency, the capital’s aging housing stock remains an Achilles heel.

And the worst may not be over for Havana’s buildings. When the sea surged over the Malecón seawall and flooded some neighborhoods more than a third of a mile inland, it rose more than five feet in some places and left everything coated with salt.

“Salt is an enormously destructive pollutant when it comes to buildings,” said Walter Sedovic, a New York architect who specializes in historic preservation and sustainable development, “and the salts are very hard to remove.”

Water-logged soil also can provide buoyancy for the foundations of old buildings. Once the water is gone and the effects of a storm seem to have completely receded, it’s not unusual to see displaced foundations, crooked buildings and further collapses, said Sedovic.

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3 thoughts on “Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has left Havana in ruins, and hurricanes will only make it worse”

  1. Love the guy’s tattoo. Can you imagine the kind of health risk that involves in a shithole like Cuba?

    Lord have mercy.

  2. And remember, as long as foreign useful idiots and perverse SOBs remain supportive of the “revolution,” no amount of ruin and degeneracy is too high a price to pay.

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