14ymedio, Serafín Martínez, Havana, 3 November 2020 — Not even the birthplaces of the “revolutionary heroes” are spared the disaster in Cuba. On Calle Delicias 519, in the Havana municipality of Diez de Octubre, the family now living in the home where Commander Juan Almeida Bosque (1927-2009) was born was left homeless when the roof collapsed.
The partial collapse occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, October 25, without any casualties, but the residents’ belongings were destroyed. Yadira Melencio Álvarez, 35, lived in the building, along with her three minor children.
The four are now living in a Housing office waiting for a solution. “Yadira is going through really tough time, because she can’t cook, or wash, or anything,” a relative told this newspaper.
The day after the collapse, officials from the Diez de Octubre Municipal Housing Directorate inspected the area and ruled that the property is uninhabitable and is in imminent danger of structural collapse. They told Melencio to go to their offices on Patrocinio Street at the corner of Goss, in the La Víbora neighborhood, where they would direct her to a provisional shelter, but the situation remains unresolved.
“She is holding out there until she sees what solution they offer her. Whether they assign her materials and a subsidy to repair the house, or if the Government gives her another home and keeps hers to make into a Juan Almeida museum. The latter would be the best solution and for this, and the decision would take into account that, just two blocks away, is the birthplace of Commander Camilo Cienfuegos,” says the same source.
“Yadira is not a member of Juan Almeida’s family, she has nothing to do with him. We know that it is his birthplace because many years ago the commander came with his bodyguard and some filmmakers who filmed the house. He himself said so,” adds the woman.
Lázara, a resident of the area who, at 77, is one of the oldest in the area, confirmed the story to 14ymedio. “When he visited the house at Delicias 519, Almeida took many photos there. It was very simple and he talked a lot with the neighbors. He did not remember any of them but insisted that he lived there,” she recalls.
While at the Diez de Octubre Municipal Housing Directorate, Yadira Melencio refused to make statements to the independent press. Nor did the area’s officials want to answer 14ymedio‘s questions about what seems to be a common pattern in the procedures for the relocation of victims, who are forced to stay in offices due to the lack of shelters or places to move to in other communities.
As of December 2018 there was a housing deficit of almost a million residential properties in Cuba. That was the last time the official press published figures on this problem and it has only increased. Experts consider that this data is already overtaken by a reality that continues to deteriorate day after day.
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