On La Rampa, Better Not to Look Down

The public works project of the Electric Union have not taken any care to respect the works of La Rampa. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 24 June 2019 — If something differentiates Cuban nationals from tourists when they walk through the streets, it is the place where they fix their eyes. While the visitors are left looking at the beauty of the architecture or the miracle that a decrepit balcony has not yet fallen, those of us who live on this island walk around all the time looking down to avoid the gaps in the sidewalk, the puddles of sewage water and all types of common waste on public roads. This is the case almost everywhere on Havana’s La Rampa, where foreigners also like to enjoy the scenery under their shoes.

The most famous sidewalk in the Cuban capital is dotted with mosaics by national artists such as Amelia Peláez, Wifredo Lam, René Portocarrero, Hugo Consuegra, Mariano Rodríguez and Cundo Bermúdez, among others. For decades, walking along it has been like enjoying an exhibition hall without having to pay entrance fees. Although the years and the deterioration has caused it to lose some of its beauty, Havanans trusted that the stone and granite were harder than the apathy.

But a few days ago the Electric Union began to break up the pavement of 23rd Street, especially in the section between L and M and, in addition to taking pieces of the artistic works with them, they did not hesitate to carelessly fill in the outline of the images and cover parts of others with cement.

Now, everyone keeps looking down when they walk by along La Rampa, but not to admire the beauty under the feet but to see how far the mess can go. It does not matter if you are Cuban or foreigner, everyone looks at the ground and it hurts, of course it hurts.


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