While the Castro dictatorship is building new apartheid luxury hotels and resorts for foreign tourists, buildings for residents in Cuba continue to deteriorate and collapse from criminal negligence. It seems the U.S. embargo the Cuban government blames for its failed economic policies and everything else that afflicts Cuba has no effect on their tourism industry or the lives of opulence led by the Communist Party elite. In other words, socialism in action.
More than 100 residents evicted from a building in Old Havana in danger of collapsing
Dozens of people who had illegally occupied a structurally compromised building located at 70 Factoría Street, between Corrales and Apodaca, in Old Havana, were evicted by police and local authorities last Wednesday, according to neighbors who spoke to Martí Noticias.
Authorities had ordered the residents to vacate the building for years after it was declared “at risk of collapse.” However, as per testimonies gathered by the media, the Housing Department did not close it in time.
“That building was declared uninhabitable, and then all the people who lived there were granted housing or shelter, and later people who are considered— not for me, but for the state— illegal entered. It wasn’t sealed in time, and they entered due to housing difficulties,” said a neighbor.
According to several sources interviewed, families with children and elderly individuals lived in the building; some residents were from the capital, and others came from the interior of the country.
An official from the Housing Department of Old Havana told Martí Noticias that the evicted individuals were relocated to their places of origin.
“I understand that these people were all illegal; they were going back to their places of origin. Those who were from provinces will go back to provinces,” said the employee.
A woman who identified herself as “María Elena” stated: “Those who sneaked in there were very good people at first, but then people came who caused trouble: scandals in the block at any time, children falling from there, and neighbors taking them to the hospital. They had blades in there, but there were also people who had nothing to do with that, who were very good, crying and all.”
The same source confirmed that the building is in very poor condition: “It could collapse at any moment because it’s in bad shape.”
The interviewee said that over 100 people resided in the location and were taken to a police unit in Old Havana. On the same day, they returned in trucks to collect their belongings.
“They were taken in trucks with all their things back to their homes. People were very happy and said, ‘Get them out!’ The same population from the block!” said the neighbor.
María Elena mentioned that on Thursday of that week, she saw a group of the evicted individuals in a park near the location, including some children.
In November 2023, the government admitted that it would not meet the housing construction plan for that year. Blaming the working methods and a shortage of cement and steel, issues that don’t seem to affect hotel construction.
As of the end of October, only 13,000 properties had been completed in Cuba, reaching 54% of the plan. This data was disclosed in a meeting of the prime minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, with the governors and the prefect of the Isle of Youth.
At the beginning of that month, the government had acknowledged a deficit of over 800,000 homes in Cuba, according to a report on the implementation of the Housing Policy approved in 2019.
What is evident to Cubans is that while housing problems accumulate, worsen, and lead to protests, the government prioritizes the tourism sector. Official figures support this.
The Cuban government allocated a quarter of the $41.6 million state investment in the first half of 2023 to the construction of hotels and tourist facilities, according to a publication by the state National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI).
This sector received $10.4 million in the first semester of the year, despite seven out of ten hotel rooms remaining unoccupied during the same period.