The demolition of the Moscow restaurant goes full speed in Havana

The demolition of the Moscow restaurant goes full speed in Havana

If something is going at full speed in Cuba, it is the construction of hotels. While the country seems to move in slow motion in other sectors, rooms for tourists continue to grow throughout the Island. In the heart of El Vedado, in Havana, the dilapidated structure of the Moscow restaurant is being rapidly demolished to make way for accommodation which will be managed by the Cuban company Gran Caribe and the Spanish company Be Live.

Passersby who walk this week along La Rampa are amazed at the jumble of steel that has been exposed as the walls of a building that was damaged in 1989 by fire are removed. Since then, the building has been closed to the public and turned into a dump, a makeshift dormitory for the homeless, and a den for stray cats.

Now, there is no shortage of jokes about the pace of the works or allusions to the moment in which the Moscow restaurant is being demolished. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has coincided with the demolition of the emblematic construction and Havanans take advantage of the coincidence to air their criticism of the Kremlin’s actions, which has met with popular rejection on the island despite the support given by the Cuban regime.

With its fences around it, its “construction site” signs and its exposed beams, the Moscow restaurant can also be seen these days as a metaphor for Vladimir Putin’s international isolation, for his colossal loneliness.

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