14ymedio, Nelson García, Havana, 25 November 2023 — The abandoned site of the Frank País thermoelectric plant, a mass located in the vicinity of Havana Bay, could serve as the setting for an apocalyptic film. However, a rusty armchair next to a turbine, two recently used buckets, and lines hung with clothes, are signs that several families live inside the building – presided over by a colossal map of Cuba and a globe.
“Around 50 people, more or less,” estimates Jorge, a 67-year-old retiree who used to work – like most of those who live in Frank País – for the capital’s Electric Company. “There are 18 houses,” he adds, alluding to the headquarters cubicles converted into homes. Without privacy or the usual conditions, of course, but at least, he claims, they have a space.
In the old thermoelectric plant, built by a North American company in the 1950s and closed in 2001, people live under the persecution of being destitute. “We don’t have a ration book or water, although we do pay for the electricity,” says Jorge. The entire area is precarious. To get to the Frank País plant you have to follow a route that starts from the Casablanca pier, on the other side of Havana bay. The desolate faces of those who reside in the flimsy wooden houses, on both sides of the road, give the measure of the area’s misery.
“This building is still property of the Electric Company,” Jorge clarifies. “Neither the Government nor Housing have wanted to ’take it on’.” This absence of authority to complain to has caused the families’ situation to remain in limbo. They have been waiting for a response for more than 20 years, wh