New Anniversary / Fernando Damaso
Posted on November 19, 2014
It's 495 years since the founding of Havana. Celebration after
celebration is being held, however, the serious problem of lack of
housing grows every day, without any real chances of a solution. The
causes of it are many and the results extremely well-known.
According to official data there are 33,889 nuclear families in Havana
who need housing, a total of 132,699 people. To these they should add
that many of those families have spent 10, 15, 20 and more years living
in shelters with and without minimal conditions, where children and even
grandchildren have been born.
Lately there's been a plan to resolve the situation with the
construction of urban settlements in different parts of the city,
consisting of groups of affordable apartment buildings.
In 2013, 746 of these apartments were built, and in 2014, 817 have been
completed, and in the rest of the year 566 are expected for a total of
1,383. In 2015 it's estimated that 1,480 will be built in that and
following years, in line with the economic possibilities and the
availability of materials and labor.
As the figures, are sometimes confusing, it is necessary to apply
mathematics to understand them: 33,889 nuclear families between 1,500
annual apartments means it will take at least 22 years to resolve the
If to this we add that, according to official data, every day in the
city three buildings collapse, for a total of 1,095 annually, so in
reality it would leave 405 of the estimated 1,500 buildings, because the
other 1,095 would simply compensate for those that disappeared.
With this new data, it would then take 83 years. So this alone is not
So if you add to these affordable apartments come with a cement floor
and the kitchen and bath aren't completely tiled, leaving in the hands
of the tenants, according to their personal means and interests, to
improve the level of finishing, adding to that the construction defects
that they present (cracks in the floors, damp walls, leaks, etc), the
While domestic and foreign private investment in real estate is not
authorized, and citizens, because of their low salaries and the high
cost of building materials, lack the opportunities of building their own
homes, it will be more of the same, and next year Havana will celebrate
the anniversary of its founding in worse conditions than today.
17 November 2014
Source: A New Anniversary / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba -