500th Anniversary of the City "Nightmare" / Rebeca Monzo

“If you come to this neighborhood and see it’s filthy, don’t be surprised. Sometimes it’s worse!

Rebeca Monzo, 28 January 2019 — Much is said via the media of the celebration in 2019 of the 500th anniversary of the city of San Cristobal of Havana, but when you go out to the street you see that the destruction of this country, above all the capital, began in the ’60s, as a result of the triumph of the Revolution, when they began to destroy monuments, streets, avenues, sidewalks, schools, hospitals, factories, stores, shops, and all types of private establishments, companies, and businesses that were usurped from their owners as well as some state organizations.

Carelessness and abandonment seized Havana, which was invaded by people who were fleeing the misery that was growing in their provinces. The government always prioritized the issue of political propaganda and “voluntary work” so that what they did was greatly deteriorate everything whose sole owner and employer was the state.

The lack of love and feeling of belonging, in the capital especially, brought as a consequence the abandonment and mistreatment of all heritage assets. Architectural values have been lost, due to the lack of care and maintenance of them.

In the main streets and avenues deterioration abounds in the sidewalks, the potholes in the street, the leaks of sewer water, the accumulation of waste and trash and even dead animals, the rotten fruit at the bottom of some trees.

Buses are scarce, but they are also dirty and deteriorated, they are no longer cleaned before leaving the bus terminal, as was done in the time of the Republic. Also lamentably, the majority of hospitals and schools are in these same conditions.

Observing Havana’s streets, one doesn’t see brigades of workers repairing them, nor the sidewalks that are in terrible conditions, neither does one observe the restoration of building facades, nor parks, nor schools. It’s a great shame that television announces so many concerts and art expositions in honor of the 500th anniversary and the city has been submerged in a total abandonment and discontent.

Note: Last night the tornado that hit Havana took delight in destroying destruction.

Translated by: Sheilagh Carey