From our Bureau of Great Moments in Journalism with some assistance from our Bureau of Extremely Unusual Reporting From Tropical Socialist Utopias
Wow, Mildred! Take a look at this article from Associated Press! Such a shocking revelation!
Who knew that Cuba had collapsing buildings or a housing shortage that forces six families to live in 200-year-old homes originally built for single families!
Take a good look at all the photos, and the video. Oh, Lord have mercy! What a horror show! Who knew? Heavens to Betsy!. The author of this story surely deserves a Pulitzer Prize for revealing this humanitarian crisis to the world for the very first time.
Abridged from Associated Press
The house on Villegas Street, in the heart of Old Havana, looks nothing like the stately two-story home it used to be a century ago, with its high ceilings, wrought iron railings, semicircular arches and stairs covered in white marble. Its former elegance is such that local lore says it used to belong to a marquise.
Today, everything inside the six-family unit is chaos.
The roots of a tree protrude through the wall of a makeshift toilet where birds have made their nests. The roofs of the first and second floors are propped up. There is rubble and fresh sand scattered everywhere. The walls seem to tilt and the façade has completely disappeared, exposing a patio where one can see freshly washed clothes hanging.
The structure is one of many once luxurious houses in the island nation that in recent years have partially collapsed — or suffer visible damage. Barely 100 meters (yards) away, also on Villegas Street, a similar building fell in earlier this month, causing three deaths.
Residents say they have repeatedly asked authorities for help to no avail. Years of neglect, inclement weather and a deepening economic crisis only aggravate the fear that their home will eventually collapse.
“How can we not live in fear? Every time it rains I feel like small pebbles come falling down on me,” said Maricelys Colás, a retired 64-year-old who has lived in the house with her 85-year-old mother for 59 years. “And a collapse doesn’t warn you.”
Cuba’s housing crisis is one of the most pressing challenges facing the island, where a humid climate, the passage of hurricanes and other storms, poor maintenance and a low completion rate of new ones are usually among the top complaints of Cubans.
Government figures from 2020 say Cuba had 3.9 million homes, out of which nearly 40% were deemed to be in only fair or poor condition.
Whole story, lots of photos and a video HERE