A balcony collapses in the central Neptuno street in Havana

A balcony collapses in the central Neptuno street in Havana

Shortly after nine in the morning this Tuesday, a man who had just passed in front of number 761 Neptuno street in Centro Habana could live to tell about it. Immediately in his footsteps, part of the parapet of the building’s roof collapsed, dragging a balcony in its wake and crashing to the ground.

“That man was born again,” a neighbor, a witness to the partial collapse, told this newspaper. “I don’t know how it didn’t fall on him or anyone, because at that time the street was full of people.”

At mid-morning, the rubble was still in place, with no indication that any authority passed through there.

The affected property, located between Marqués González and Lucena, is that of El Exquisito de Fornos, a state-owned store where dozens of people line up every day to buy chicken by the book. Vehicle traffic in that part of the neighborhood is also intense.

At mid-morning, the rubble was still in place, with no indication that any authority passed through there. To prevent people from continuing to walk on that part of the sidewalk, the neighbors improvised a perimeter with the collapsed bricks themselves. The store looked closed.

Curiously, in the more modern building next door, there was one of the first Casas de Cambio del Oro y la Plata in Havana, a network of markets that bought jewelry from Cubans in exchange for trinkets in the 1980s. Far from any past with more splendor, Centro Habana continues to fall.

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