It’s a miracle any building in Old Havana is still standing after 64 years of criminal neglect by the Castro dictatorship. Those that do collapse, and there are many, kill and maim Cubans forced to live in these dilapidated buildings for lack of housing in communist Cuba. Meanwhile, the Cuban regime is building luxury hotels for foreign tourists, ignoring the constant threat of death Cubans face each and every day. This is socialism in action.
‘Old Havana is rotting,’ warn residents living in fear of a building collapse
In the midst of a deep housing crisis in Old Havana, the residents of a building located at 466 Sol Street, between Egido and Villegas, have sounded an alarm: The property, already at risk of collapse, has left its inhabitants living in extremely precarious conditions.
The situation has become even more urgent after a 4-year-old girl lost her life in October 2022 when part of the building collapsed. As a result of this tragic incident, the residents have been in a constant state of worry.
A neighbor, who requested to remain anonymous when speaking with Martí Noticias, described the precarious situation: “The building is good for nothing. They haven’t moved us out because they have nowhere to put us. Imagine how old the building is.”
“Let it collapse already, if there’s nothing left up there!” exclaimed the interviewee.
The lack of hygiene is another serious concern. Some people have taken over certain rooms and turned parts of the building into a place where they raise animals, which has worsened the unsanitary conditions.
“It’s overflowing with feces because they have pigs there, raising them. The pipes are all clogged, and the waste moves from one room to another,” said the neighbor.
A report from the Cuban Observatory of Social Rights in 2023 reveals that the number of buildings at risk of collapse has increased to 15 percent, while those in need of rehabilitation or repairs have grown from 44 percent in 2022 to 56 percent this year.
The residents at 466 Sol Street have sought help through multiple channels, contacting government entities.
“I’ve written to everyone, and now the provincial government has finally come to schedule a meeting with us to see if they can get us out of there,” said the 88-year-old woman.
Other neighbors in Old Havana, like María Elena Quer, who lives on the rooftop of a building at 702 Zulueta Street, have reported vandalism of the buildings.
Authorities have housed people affected by collapses seeking shelter on-site, despite the fact that the site does not meet minimum habitability conditions.
Another Havana resident, living at 466 Sol Street, concluded by stating: “The problem is that there’s nowhere to put us, there isn’t, because here Old Havana is rotting.”
A report released this month by the Associated Press agency claimed that “even Old Havana has deteriorated despite being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and despite undergoing a process of gentrification in the past decade when investors bought mansions. Many homes were rescued by the state Office of the Historian or by private individuals to turn them into hostels.”