Staircase Collapses in a Downtown Havana Building

By Elio Delgado Valdés

HAVANA TIMES – In the morning hours of Tuesday, April 18, the staircase of the building located at the corners of San Miguel and Amistad municipality of Centro Habana collapsed.

A fire department unit came to the scene to make it easier for the residents to leave the building through a second-story window overlooking San Miguel Street.

On this occasion there was no loss of human life. According to the residents on several occasions they have attended the neighborhood meetings in search of a solution to the problems presented by the building, without response from the representative for the district, only evasiveness.

The growing deterioration of the majestic building, converted into an overcrowded slum, like many others in the city’s ill-treated architecture, has taken place over the years before everyone’s eyes, residents, neighbors and authorities.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery

  • Moses Patterson

    Very sad. The Castros have nearly destroyed Cuba.

    • Rich Haney

      Of course, Moses, such things as the longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposted on a small country by a powerful country has had nothing at all to do with the economic problems in Cuba. As long as propagandists like you preach your extremist and self-serving distortions, America’s Cuban policy will continue to richly deserve the international 191-to-0 condemnation in the UN. Of course, hiding behind the skirts of the world superpower, which happens to have a VETO in the UN, your propaganda can readily try to dismiss that vote. For the same nefarious reasons, other cruel anti-Cuban-people assaults include siccing the Mafia on the island in 1952, the military attack on Revolutionary Cuba in 1961, continuous assassination attempts against Cuban leaders, the ECONOMIC EMBARGO from 1962 till today, unchecked and massive terrorist acts against innocent Cubans such as the bombing of the civilian Cubana Flight 455 in 1976, an endless string of laws in the U. S. Congress designed to recapture Cuba while also enriching and empowering selected and very controversial Cuban-Americans or just anti-Castro Cubans tightly aligned with entities like the Bush dynasty, the Tea Party, etc.

      While including the collapsed stairwell in Havana with your propaganda, Moses, don’t forget that you…every now and then…also need to rehash your support for historical and topical assaults on the island as mentioned above.

      • Moses Patterson

        Congratulations! You were able to submit a comment without mentioning Batista. The bad news is that you keep repeating everything else that the “Idiots guide to Castro bootlicking” tells you to say when someone criticizes the Castros.

        • Rich Haney

          Hell with the Castros, Moses. My concern is two-fold: {1} Innocent Cubans, especially the women and children, on the island; and {2} America and democracy being condemned and ridiculed internationally — by friends AND foes alike — for allowing self-serving and nefarious individuals to dictate America’s Cuban policy in a manner the Batistianos and Mafiosi dictated policy in Cuba from 1952 till 1959. I’m sure, Moses, THAT what irks you so much about my two Cuban priorities is the sheer fact that you fully realize them, so you combat them by calling me vile names just like Senator Joseph McCarthy and his ilk would do. So, Moses, your opaque defense of the Batistianos and the Mafiosi in your above comment solicited another appropriate reference to Batista-Mafia rule of Cuba prior to the badly needed Revolution.

          • Moses Patterson

            I am sure that you have NO idea what irks me, so let me tell you. The lack of democracy in Cuba. Plain and simple.

          • Rich Haney

            I would surely accept your concern about the “lack of democracy In Cuba” IF YOU SINCERELY DENOUNCED THE LACK OF DEMOCRACY IN CUBA PRIOR TO THE REVOLUTION.

          • Moses Patterson

            I sincerely denounce the lack of democracy in Cuba prior to the revolution. Easy.

          • Olgasintamales

            I was born in Cuba in 1948, I’m an Afro cuban my father work in the port and my mother was a teacher when Batista was in power, we were able to afford a three bedroom apartment in Havana and choice were to live even with blasting racism that existed those day where was no rent for blacks in some neighborhoods. Fidel Castro promised free elections, and the restablsment of 1940’s constitution, little by little he stole properties, land ,buildings, newspapers,factories, for the “people” just to put them in the hand of Castro regime. The maintenance of this building has nothing to do with the “Embargo” of American Tea party or Batista. This is the result if a totalitarian regime that refuses individual freedom, when I lived in Cuba under Castro until I escaped the government hardly mentioned the “Embargo”. Why because the Castro’s monarchy was financed by URSS in exchange for interventions in Africa, and destabilizing in Central America. If this Building was in the hands of the property Señor Sarra I bet he was give a maintenance for a profit that is the way it’s work and has, but perhaps you prefer the Castro’s method. Take it form his owners, low the rent, don’t do anything because the slave should be happy in the Barracon, and whe it collapse blame USA, Batista, CubanAmericans, everyone but the dictatorship. And have minions like you repeating the pamphlet. Next time when in Havana go to the next Urbanization around 100 ST and Aldabo in the district of AltaHavana and you would see how the regime had built a modern nice buildings with everything including inside a gate urbanization for militaries and minions of the police forces those who repress the Danas de Blanco, and anyone who dare to dissent.

  • emagicmtman

    This is the former Hotel Roosevelt, corner of Amistad y San Miguel, where I stayed June, July and August of 1959. (Incidentally, Julian Bond also stayed here the same summer). In 1959, the Roosevelt, whose heyday was pre-W.W.I, was already in decline, but the price was right: $3/night/$18/week). Down the street was El Encanto Department Store, now a park. (El Encanto was torched by counterrevolutionaries in 1961). Right across the street is the casa particular where I stayed in October, 2015. In 1959, from my window ledge, on an upper floor of the Roosevelt, I looked down on the street scenes below and on the families in the buildings opposite as they hauled up to their balconies baskets of purchases from the street vendors. Fifty-six years later, from one of those same balconies, instead I looked up to the upper story window in the Roosevelt from which I looked down so long ago! Lets hope this building in Centro, and many others like it, can be saved and restored before it is too late.

  • Sky

    I saw this incident myself. Living in some of the buildings in Havana is like playing Russian roulette. There is money to do up buildings for tourism but NONE of the receipts from tourism is ring fenced for any social care, health care, education etc etc. It would be so easy to add a small tax to cruise ship docking tariffs (God knows those boats engines – never switched off even when docked- are pumping yet more pollution over the city) or re introduce the exit tax now included in plane ticket costs to build a fund for these kind of projects. But the government would never go for this and there are no ways for citizens to suggest such an initiative without the fear of recriminations.

    And while it does not directly relate to this post, I was disgusted by the ignorance and crass behaviour of some of the new wave of tourists (Americans mostly and some Canadians) waddling through the streets and gurning in the back of a convertible classic car – there are SO many now conspicuously gleaming next to the collectivos – while brandishing their phone on a selfie stick as if it were a magic wand. (You know how the drivers honk their horns as they drive these tourists through the streets? You guys think that is for your benefit? No! That is a way of making their $50 per hour (double the average monthly salary) and upwards transaction audible to all and sundry. A cacaphonic “ker-ching” of their wallets getting fatter – though the government do cream off a not insignificant amount in taxes.) If you are going to Cuba PLEASE travel responsibly and sustainably and consider the impact of your actions/consumption.