For the Second Time in Four Years, a Private Bar Is Set on Fire in Santiago de Cuba

The most affected area is the main hall of the building, located on the central corner of Jesús Menéndez (Alameda) and Enramada streets. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 July 2023 — A fire caused serious damage to the ground floor of the M’ka bar in the city of Santiago de Cuba this Tuesday around 9:30 in the morning. The private premises also suffered a similar accident in January 2019. In both cases, there was no loss of human life or injury.

This week’s fire was classified as “small” by the official journalist Cuscó Tarradell, who through Facebook said that the incident was “promptly controlled by the Fire Department of the city of Santiago de Cuba.” However, the local press did not publish anything about the fire.

According to Tarradell, the flames started on a post “by a spark, allegedly due to a power surge in one of the power lines adjacent to the installation’s garden.” The most affected area was the main room of the building, located on the central corner of Jesús Menéndez (Alameda) and Enramada streets.

“The three air conditioning units were burned, the plasterboard that surrounds the structure of the premises, the refreshment displays, some chairs that lost their decorative vinyl, and the professional machine that makes varieties of coffee. The second floor of the building was left intact,” the reporter pointed out.

In the photos disseminated on social networks you can see the roof of the place stained black by smoke and an iMac computer that is blackened on one side. The owner of the premises, Angel Segundo Rodríguez Román, said that “everything will be recovered in the shortest possible time, and M’ka will continue to provide services outside, in the decorative garden in front of the entrance.”

However, several sources consulted by 14ymedio say that Rodríguez is not the owner of the bar and point to Juan Guillermo Almeida, son of Commander Juan Almeida, as the main owner. “He owns several private businesses that provide services even in hotels, and they consider him one of the “powerful” owners of private businesses and small and medium-size enterprises,” a regular visitor to M’ka told this newspaper.

Born in 1986, Juan Guillermo, known in the Cuban artistic world as JG, is a popular singer who has received an important boost to his career in the national media and frequently appears on the billboard of tourist centers and places for dance music.

“Although he lives in Havana, he also spends time in Santiago and, in a way, was spoiled by Lázaro Expósito (the former general secretary of the Communist Party in the city), who invited him as a musician to many events paid for by the Government,” says the young man.

At the beginning of this month, the largest pizza made in Cuba with 5.3 feet in diameter was made at the M’ka bar as part of the activities for the Fiesta del Fuego. Thirteen pounds of flour, 11 pounds of Gouda cheese, 4.2 ounces of salt and the same amount of basil were used in the product. The news generated criticism in the midst of the deep shortage of flour that has even affected the rationed sale of this food.

After its preparation, the giant pizza was distributed among local customers, passers-by and neighborhood children, as reported by the private business on its Facebook account.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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