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Ten 'Squatting Mothers' Resist Eviction, Demanding that the Government Resolve Their Housing Situation

With their 11 children, they have holed up at an abandoned printing facility in Centro Habana. Two of the women are pregnant.

La Habana
Mothers with their children on the premises where they are squatting.
Mothers with their children on the premises where they are squatting. Diario de Cuba

Ten Cuban mothers —including two pregnant women—, with their 11 children, have moved into an abandoned printing facility on the Calle Virtudes 816, between Oquendo and Márquez González, in Central Havana. They have been there for a week, under threat of eviction by the Government and the Technical  Investigations Department (DTI).

"We are here because our houses are in danger of collapsing, or we don't have any. As soon as we came, people from the DTI came to tell us get out, without even listening to us. Since we're not going to leave without them talking to us, and our problem being solved, the Police have stopped people from bringing us food, to get us to give up," the leader of the group told DIARIO DE CUBA; identified by the other women using the Yoruba word "Iyawó," she was dressed in white.

A video posted on Alain Paparazzi's Facebook page shows one of the mothers filming from inside the premises the surveillance to which they were subjected hours after they decided to forcibly enter the abandoned four-storey building.

"We don't want them to see our problem as a political one, we just want to be heard and, if possible, to be given a piece of this immense, abandoned place so we have somewhere to live. That's all we want, but no one from the government has come here to talk to us," said another of the mothers, who asked to remain anonymous.

The phenomenon of "squatting mothers" is spreading across Cuba, aggravated by the serious housing shortage. In the capital, collapsed buildings are frequent calamities, especially in Old Havana and Central Havana due to their age and state of disrepair.
Although the authorities always strive to evict mothers from the premises or houses where they are squatting, in many cases these women manage to stay in them.

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