Central Havana Building on the Verge of Collapse Has Its Facade Removed

It has been obvious for some time that the building has barely been able to hold itself up. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, June 14, 2022 — Stoicism seems to be a trait the residents of Central Havana have been forced to adopt. Accustomed to living among ruins, they barely notice when a building is facing imminent collapse, as has been the case for one on San Lazaro Street between Gervasio and Escobar. The building began to be vacated on Tuesday in advance of its partial demolition.

It has been obvious for some time that the structure is held together by little more than sewing pins. After the street was closed that morning without notice, the brave souls still living in the building began slowly leaving their homes, carrying their meager belongs away in bags, believing they had to look for somewhere new.

They had been surprised by the sudden, unexplained announcement that the building was to be demolished and quickly began packing their things. They were even more surprised to learn that, in reality, only the facade was to be demolished and that, once the work was complete, they would be able to move into the rear part of the structure. The six apartments that make up the building are wide and deep but their inhabitants will have to isolate themselves if they want to avoid seeing the sad ruins of what was once the visible face of their dwellings.

“It’s a shame. These windows are very valuable. Someone should pay the bulldozer to set them aside,” observes one of the many onlookers as the last person to leave the building shuts the door before the wrecking crew begins its work.

From the balcony of the building next door, a woman calmly leans out to watch the goings-on. Though the neighboring buildings are in no better shape than the one about to be demolished, few people seem alarmed by the constant threat of a roof collapse or the prospect that their building could be the next to come down. The falling rubble of the partially collapsed building is enough to make floors tremble, threatening weaker structures nearby.

A few yards away in a line for sausages, people can be heard chatting. Life goes on.


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