RESTORING THE CHINESE DISTRICT OF HAVANA FOR THE FIFTH CENTENARY OF THE CITY

Restaurarán el Barrio Chino de La Habana por el quinto centenario de la ciudad

HAVANA, September 22 (Efe) The central Chinatown of Havana, which became one of the largest in Latin America but is very deteriorated today, will be subject to an integral resuscitation within the program of improvements for the 500 years of the founding of the Cuban capital, which are met in 2019.

“Projects designed to recover the area have been designed, taking into account, in addition, the commercial, recreational and tourist impact that it generates”, informed the president of the Provincial Assembly of the Popular Power, Reynaldo García, at the last meeting of the Government Support Group for the capital.

García, according to the review of the session published today by the Cuban state press, highlighted the “high cultural significance” that this neighborhood has for Havana, which at the beginning of the century concentrated a good part of the Chinese migration to Cuba but has gradually depopulated.

“The buildings that are framed there, mostly with high patrimonial, urban and environmental value, show a high level of deterioration, especially the housing fund”, acknowledged the authorities at the meeting, headed by the country’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel .

The urban rehabilitation of the area will include the arrangement of street lighting, sidewalks, parks and streets; the paving of roads and the elimination of electrical and communication cables exposed on the facades. Actions have also been designed to “rescue the ancient Chinese traditions, including exquisite culinary art, ceramics and the typical decoration of its facilities, theaters and others”.

“Also, relevant facilities within the neighborhood will be rehabilitated, such as the Chinese newspaper Kwong-Wah-Po, the dry cleaners and the pharmacies with their traditional medicine,” the review adds. In this way the authorities seek to recover the general image of Chinatown, “recreating the environment with elements of reference to the identity and culture of the Asian nation.”

The first group of Chinese emigrants who arrived on the island landed in the port of Havana in 1847, most of them through an eight-year contract that practically plunged them into slavery, carrying out forced labor for the meager food, rustic clothing and poor shelter. .

Thirty years later, according to a census carried out by the colonial authorities, the Chinese population in Cuba was close to 47,000 people, many of them already free after fulfilling their contracts. The Cuban leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, urged during the meeting that “people actively join the work in each neighborhood or institution” so that no space in Havana is “outside the broad movement that is now generated.”

On the housing, one of the most pressing problems of the capital along with the poor state of infrastructure and the accumulation of waste, asked “continue looking for premises that can adapt to that end (housing), to thus also increase deliveries to the population”.

The Cuban capital has a deficit of 206,000 homes, according to data from the Ministry of Construction exposed in Parliament last December.