14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, July 26, 2023 — Four years after having barely six letters, the sign on the roof of the Habana Libre hotel, located on the vital corner of L and 23, in El Vedado, is once again complete.
The sign went from “bana Libre” to “na Libre” and from there to “a Libre” in 2019, before the covid-19 pandemic.
The authorities have not announced its restoration, but neither have they given explanations in all this time in which Havanans have seen the emblematic sign crumble, like a metaphor for the Island.
The old Hilton, destined to be one of the most luxurious on the continent, opened its doors in 1958 and was the enclave from where Fidel Castro ruled the country during the first years of the Revolution. Nationalized two years after its inauguration, the building, with 27 floors and an initial investment of 28 million dollars, has gradually languished until it reached a debacle that touched its adjacent premises, both the cafeteria and the candy store.
The recent arrangement, moreover, has not been complete, since the structure that supports the recognizable letters, in lowercase and blue, is not finished and is missing panels. A passerby who this Wednesday noticed the change at the top of the establishment, managed to comment: “Tremendous bungle, as always in this country.”
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