Habana La Vida
through this impressive city you notice the tough life of
If you look closely, walking in Habana Centro's Paseo de
Marti you will notice between 2 beautiful famous hotels
an intrance you'll see 5 families are living in an old decay
after Cuba will change its current system, in this building
will be a commercial business as well since its a number
of those neighborhoods in bad conditions are inhabited
by migrants from the interior, mostly from the former
Oriente province, nicknamed "palestinos", coming
to the capital seeking better job opportunities and greater
availability of consumer goods. Internal migration is
a critical factor in the growth of Cuba's capital.
lot of illegal inhabitans in illegal rented homes and
overcrowded. Young people settle into buildings that have
been declared uninhabitable, or movie theaters, stores
or hotels that have been shut down. As
a consequence of this deterioration and huge shortage
in housing construction a significant amount of overcrowding
has taken place with very negative social consequences.
Entire families are often forced to sleep in the same
room. It is very common to see what was initially a single
family dwelling unit being subdivided into two or three
family nuclei. The increasing domestic violence appears
to be directly connected with this situation as well as
the extremely high divorce rate. Yet, many divorced couples
must continue living together, although they marry again,
subdividing the already restricted dwelling.
blackouts have taken place throughout the day, but particularly
during the "peak hours", between 5:30 and 9:00
p.m. But this has not only been in Havana; the situation
has been similar in other cities along the Island. It is
important to point out that there are areas where blackouts
do not occur, --important hotels, hospitals and the exclusive
residences of the new class in power.
is doing business with Venezuela (around 2006) there are
less blackouts because of the trade/exchange doctors versus
measure to find a remedy when electricity is cut off, has
been returning to the ancient "oil lamp of the fields"
popularly known as "chismosas" made in a very
primitive manner: A glass bottle with an empty tube of toothpaste
inside, to hold a wick, frequently homemade.
Another more ingenious form of coping with the energy crisis
has been the building of "energy plants." These
are really sets of batteries (mostly obtained in the underground
economy) of different types, and arranged with great ingenuity
that can provide electricity at night, at least to see the
extremely popular TV soap opera and illumination.
young married couples are those who have suffered the
most because of the dwelling deficit. In the majority
of cases, just-married couples must live at the house
of one of their parents. Or, even worse, if the living
quarters are already congested in both families' houses,
then they may have to continue living separately, each
one with his/her respective family.
is such that, very often, married couples have to go to
the "posadas" love nests or rooms-rented-by-the-hour
places now managed by the government, in order to enjoy
some privacy. But, in order to rent a room in those places,
due to their scarcity, in many instances they have to
form a line in public, frequently during a long period
of time and even making payments "under the table"
to the managers to get a good room or speed up their turn.
Recent reports indicate a drastic reduction of the posadas
gas and kerosene for cooking or warming anything are also scarce.
Habaneros have to order gas at least 25 days in advance, it is
just not available
surprise entering a house and you will meet with chickens and
pigs in a regular Habanero home, without a garden or some outside
place. They just keep them inside for the food. This, of course
implied serious sanitary consequences
Send us a review about your experiences in Havana
special thanks to:
Juan Clark, Ph.D., Sociology Professor, Miami-Dade Community College,