Havana, Decrepit Elegance. Havana is a dynamic and living Caribbean city of two million souls. Havana was a thriving city during the first half of the 20th century. There were very close ties between the United States and Cuba which resulted in a strong economy and frequent visits of US citizens to what became a Caribbean “Las Vegas” with sunny beaches. This all changed when President Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959.
In 1960, relations soured significantly between the US and Cuba and a trade embargo was enacted. Cuba became economically crippled for decades under ineffective Cuban regime economic strategy in conjunction with the embargo.
For over 55 years, Havana has been frozen in time. American cars from the 1950s zoom down the 8 km long Malecón. Buildings are decrepit. Dilapidated. Crumbling facades seemingly unpainted since 1959 dot every street.
To walk through Havana feels like being in an open-air museum. I can imagine there is an incredible desire for the locals to update and renovate their homes, their city. Yet, my fear, is the magic of this capital might dissipate. With the US embargo soon to be lifted, there is a potential tidal wave of money and people that may drown the city. With poor planning and governance, Havana may be carelessly gentrified. Let’s hope the Cuban people are able to protect this unique landmark.
Havana, Decrepit Elegance. Check out the revolution in Havana.