MADRID, Spain. – Cubans have expressed their dissatisfaction on social media in light of the progress being made on the construction of a new hotel on the ruins of the Kid Chocolate multi-sport hall and the Payret Cinema, and the emblematic signboard of the movie house.
“They knocked-off the Payret Cinema, signboard and all, literally,” stated Twitter user Erwin Powell, who shared an image of the sign being removed by a crane.
“Another hotel for the Cuban regime to do money laundering,” “Will Havana be just one hotel after another? What will tourists come here to see, semi-human little animals worshipping the gravestones of dead Communists and living in Paleolithic caves?” are among the comments one reads on this publication.
While user Echezabal JD commented: “Gone with the Castro wind… 145 years after the Spanish government of the island inaugurated this venue, the Castro dictatorship assassinates the Payret Cinema. They will turn it into another hotel for tourists which will translate into revenue for the dictatorial rulers in power.”
Echezabal shared some old images of the emblematic movie house as well as recent ones, to show the site’s deterioration.
“The dictatorship finally destroyed the Payret Cinema, one of the oldest movie houses in the country and in the Americas. A movie house that was a symbol of Havana, but we know that socialists don’t like authentic symbols, which is why they destroy them, so they can exert control,” stated activist and writer Ariel Maceo.
Construction of the tourism complex Manzana Payret and the Pasaje Hotel, a five-star hotel, under the direction of the military corporate group GAESA, started in February of this year. When Cuban authorities announced the start of construction in 2018, they said that the project would respect the movie house, which was built in 1878 by Catalonian Joaquín Payret, and was one of the first movie houses to feature films in Cuba.
Following the announcement that construction was to begin, an anonymous official source told CubaNet that the project’s budget was around US$ 300 million.
Around that time, CubaNet interviewed several Cuban citizens who said they preferred to see the Payret Cinema duly restored, but keeping the original function for which it was built, since the Payret is part of Havana’s cultural patrimony, in addition to the fact that the Cuban people have less options for leisure and culture every day that goes by.
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