A Water Tank as a Sign of Prosperity

In the midst of Havana’s ruins, residents take advantage of any space to improve their living conditions. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 4 January 2017 – Building collapses and demolitions trace, in the urban landscape of Cuba’s capital city, a portrait of abandonment and desolation. The brushstrokes of time do not manage to erase all traces of human experience left in the decayed walls. However, life goes on and the need to solve everyday problems sparks inventiveness.

That institution known as “the water tank” presides over roofs and balconies. No one can remain in place without a supply from the garroted water networks that reach homes for a few hours each day or, in many cases, just a few hours a week.

With the correct lid to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, the float mechanism that regulates its filling, a vent that allows a good outflow, the tank is a feature of mild prosperity in the midst of misery. It is like a lit advertisement that attracts glances, greed and envy. Connected to it is a “family with resources,” say the murmurs in the neighborhood.

A passing tourist cannot resist the temptation to collect the image with his camera. A prankster makes him believe that the ruin he sees is the result of “the last imperialist bombing.” But what mesmerizes the visitor’s gaze is the bright blue tank symbolizing the resistance waged in a much longer combat, the bold response of someone who refuses to concede defeat.


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