14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 21 May 2022 — Pieces of the structure are falling from one of the most emblematic buildings in Central Havana, the Great National Masonic Temple of Cuba. Due to the lack of maintenance, the building shows fragments of part of the roof in its large portal that can be fatal for any passer-by.
“Do not pass, danger,” reads the sign, this Saturday, that barely indicates a bundle of debris that fell a few hours earlier. The sign is hanging from a rope that marks the space with the remains of the roof, on the corner facing the street. Santiago.
The eleven-story building, considered by many as one of the most solid in this area of the capital and whose construction was carried out by the architect Emilio Vasconcelos Frayde, on the ground floor houses a Cuban Post Office and the Security and Protection Company of the Ministry of Communications.
Very close to the busy corner of Belascoaín and Carlos III, where the Yumurí store is located, countless people pass through the portals of the Great Temple every day and others line up to buy postage stamps or get a money order. Also, very close by, there is a bus stop for routes such as the P12 and A65, as well as several primary schools.
Each of these passers-by could have been the victim of a piece of the building detaching, although chance meant that at the moment it fell to the ground there was no one close enough to be injured. A coincidence that some fear will not be repeated in the next building collapse if the state brigades do not do something to stop the deterioration.
The building of the Grand Lodge can be seen from different points of the city and is clearly identified by its dome, a terrestrial sphere with the symbol of the Freemasons. With a mixture of styles in which rationalism and Art Decó coexist, until recently the property raised sighs among the residents of a neighborhood where housing deterioration is the most common.
The Lodge, with its spiritual connotations and its sober entrance from which a peculiar sculpture of a seated José Martí, was one of the few constructions that survived with some dignity the onslaught of time and lack of maintenance. But for years it has been playing its own turn in the decline that marks the passage of the entire city.
The globe of the world crowning the building stopped working for years after a fire, the granite floor of the portal is full of scars left by hydraulic repairs and even the map of the continents that was displayed on one side has seen the tiles tiles that make up the countries fall off. The clock over the entrance stopped ticking the hours long ago, something that few have noticed in a Havana where time is of little value.
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