Painting Facades and Construction for the 510th Anniversary of Sancti Spíritus, Cuba

Residents regret that what the official press calls “social impact works” is not the reality

“Everything has been done to sell an image of Sancti Spíritus as perfect, but in reality the cultural life of the city is very bad” / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mercedes García, Sancti Spíritus, June 4, 2024 — The residents of Sancti Spíritus don’t cease to be amazed. Anyone would think, reading the provincial press, that the 510th anniversary of the founding of the city – with the name of Villa del Espíritu Santo – has brought complete renovation to its Historic Center. According to an article published this Monday in Escambray, they have concluded, on the occasion of the anniversary, “works of social impact, along with actions of conservation and maintenance of more than a hundred buildings,” as well as “filling potholes and beautifying the main arteries.”

Alicia, 40, destroys this idyllic version: “Everything has been based on painting and repairing facades. There is no cultural resuscitation, no new recreational offers, none of that has happened. Everything has been done to sell an image of the city as perfect, but in reality the cultural life of the city is very, very bad.”

According to the official newspaper, “some facades and the eaves of heritage buildings were retouched with paint; the church of Maceo took on new colors, and in a second stage, three of the city’s fountains will benefit.”

“The change of the eaves is because they were falling,” says Alicia / 14ymedio

The same text says that the works include “the opening of new premises, changes for central establishments and the remodeling of properties in poor condition. The work will begin this Monday and will include the two convention centers of Independencia Street and Etecsa, the El Neri bakery-sweet shop, the remodeling of the Julio Antonio Mella primary school and the Combinado Deportivo, the Casa Museo Serafín Sánchez and the florist adjacent to the funeral home, among others.” The only leisure establishments there, Alicia complains, “are new private bars that cost an arm and a leg, where a simple beer can cost up to 800 pesos after midnight.”

La Plaza Market, in Sancti Spíritus, with the roof visibly damaged / 14ymedio

She dismantles the regime’s hullabaloo bit by bit: “The change of the eaves is because they were falling; what they are remodeling on Independencia Street is a meeting room that has always been a meeting room. I don’t know what that Etecsa convention center is, I never heard of it, but it’s not going to provide any benefit to anyone either.” As for El Neri, she says, “the roof fell and that’s why they have to fix it. They are not making it new nor have they changed its corporate purpose. They put a roof on it again and slapped a little paint on, but it’s still the same bakery that sells bread from the ration store.”

The authorities announced that there will be works ready for “a second stage” / 14ymedio

In the same way, they “put paint” on the Julio Antonio Mella school. “Combinado Deportivo?” she asks. “What is that?” About the Casa Museo Serafín Sánchez, she says: “I think that in my 40 years I have entered only once and it is always the same. There are always the same bugs dissected and tied with a wire.” Regarding the florist, “the same: they changed the granite counter, which was ugly, for a new one that is still ugly but it’s new. They also put paint on everything and changed the ceiling above, where they have a loft, but it’s still the same florist shop.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.