HAVANA, Cuba. – Cuba is an extraordinary country, according to the majority of foreign visitors who arrive at its shores. It is endowed with innumerable tourist attractions, like beaches, historic sites and marvelous cities unknown to its own inhabitants because most Cuban nationals cannot afford the cost of hotels or other highly expensive facilities.
Tourists adore to spend time in Varadero, Trinidad, Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa María; to sip on Cuban mojitos and to lodge in luxurious hotels. However, how many of them know the impoverished neighborhoods of the island?
Take for example El Fanguito, located west of Plaza de la Revolución municipality. It spans roughly 2 square Km. and borders the Almendares River. Its streets are described by many people as a network of “nooks and crannies”, a maze of narrow allies that connect houses on one block with those of other blocks.
La Timba, also, is a neighborhood that starts at the intersection of Zapata Street and Avenue A, also in Plaza de la Revolución municipality. It’s been neglected by the authorities for years; one can tell the neglect just from seeing the state of utter deterioration of its infrastructure.
Los Sitios is another shanty neighborhood, impoverished and dysfunctional. According to the official website EcuRed, Los Sitios has 32,744 residents; it is located in the Centro Habana municipality. It is a zone characterized by the number of illegal businesses and appalling building construction. Many of the buildings there are in danger of imminent collapse, while others have already caved in.
Los Pocitos is an unsanitary neighborhood in the Marianao municipality of Havana, rampant with illegal settlements, like Indaya, that houses displaced Cubans originally from the eastern provinces. It borders the Quibú River on the West; according to EcuRed, it has 28,102 residents.
Then there is El Palenque, another one on the list of unsanitary neighborhoods of Cuba’s capital. It is located in the municipality of La Lisa, and is rife with petty crime and unemployment.
And finally, there is the Cocosolo neighborhood, a place barred for tourists. Located northeast of the Marianao municipality, it has 31,484 residents. For years, this highly neglected neighborhood, totally lacking in the state’s investment for improvements, has been a hotbed of violence, poverty and unemployment.
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