It Took 23 Years to Deliver Apartments to 11 Havana Families Whose Buildings Had Collapsed

People milling around the scene of a recent building collapse in Havana, on October 14 on Lucena Street. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio Havana, 1 January 2020 – On Thursday, the authorities of the Cuban capital handed over 11 apartments to families in Central Havana, an event picked up in the official press and celebrated “in commemoration” of the 62nd anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

The homes, according to a report in the Tribuna de La Habana, occupy former warehouses of the Drug Supply Company, which began to be remodeled in January of 2020.

The winners come, always according to the official press, from buildings that suffered collapses or that are in critical condition.

One of them is the project manager, Geolbis Denis Martínez, who told the local newspaper that he was “satisfied”: “I have been waiting for a moment like this for 23 years, I am happy to be a participant in such a valuable human gesture and to give this pleasure to a people who deserved, and anxiously waited for, the dream of having a home be fulfilled.”

In 2018, the Cuban government acknowledged that there was a deficit of almost a million homes on the island, which it assured would be resolved within ten years.

Housing is one of the most pressing problems in Cuba. According to a report from the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights from October, almost half of the homes in the country need repair, and 11% of families live in buildings that are at risk of collapse.

The shortage of materials, due to the endemic economic crisis on the island, and the strong hurricanes that hit the island have contributed to the deterioration of the national housing stock in recent decades.

The Government implemented a program of subsidies and credits for the construction of homes in 2013, but the problem has persisted, due to the increase in the population, aging and the lack of maintenance of the existing buildings.

On October 14, the most recent reported collapse took place. It was a three-story building on Lucena Street in Centro Habana, which left several families homeless. Some of the victims were later detained by the Police after a meeting with an official, which ended in a fight.

A few yards from there is the property on the corner of Belascoaín and San Miguel where last July a worker from the Communal Services company died after a wall fell on him while he was sweeping the street. The same month, a resident of the Cerro municipality died when she was trapped in the collapse of a building at 1061 Monte 1061 street.

At the end of September, 14ymedio also reported a collapse that occurred in a multi-family building on Amargura Street, between Aguacate and Compostela, in Old Havana, in which a 74-year-old woman lost her life.

The most serious collapse in Havana in the last year occurred when a balcony collapsed on three girls between 9 and 11 years old. The minors were returning from school when the structure fell on them, killing one on the spot; the other two died in the hospital.


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