Cuba's Main Airport without Air Conditioning / Juan Juan Almeida
Juan Juan Almeida, 22 July 2016 — Jose Marti International Airport in
Havana will continue offering its normal services but, as part of
General Raul Castro's orchestrated set of measures to deal with the
economic restrictions facing the country, it has been ordered to reduce
the number of hours the facility is air conditioned.
An employee of ECASA (Cuban Airport and Aeronautical Services Company),
who declined to give his name, told Marti Noticias, "The management does
not know what to do or if the lack of air conditioning will hurt the
airport community, the passengers, the airlines, visitors or customs
service equipment, which is vital to the protection of our borders."
The fall in oil prices, the reduction in the supply of Venezuelan oil to
Havana, the collapse in the price of nickel, the fall in Cuban sugar
production, the mismanagement of state resources and bad decisions by
the current ship's captain appear to be affecting the most important
source of the nation's income: tourism.
Local merchants and duty free stores operating at the airport are
equally affected by the lack of this commodity and are subjected to
stifling and severe heat during the hours in which they operate.
"For about ten days we have been experiencing uncomfortable situations
due to the cutoff in air conditioning. The high temperatures affect ham,
pickles, cabbage and tomato sandwiches that sit exposed on the
counters," reports one of the airport's medical service employees by
telephone. "Some people are more susceptible than others, but you know
what it means when food at an airport is in poor condition."
Paradoxically, one of the first actions of a government program to
modernize and expand the country's major air terminals — this facility
is slated for completion in 2018 and is geared towards tourists — was to
instruct the Brazilian company Odebrecht to expand Terminal 3 at Jose
Marti International Airport in Havana using lightweight materials, high
ceilings and large interior spaces designed to be climate controlled.
The images in the accompanying video are explicit. They demonstrate the
discomfort of passengers seated in the ticket lobby, waiting area and
departure lounge of Cuba's main air terminal. The measure, which is
inherently unjust, affects everyone equally: men, women and children,
who grab anything they can to fan themselves. And as you can see, it
seems to have begun to affect a number of passengers.
Source: Cuba's Main Airport without Air Conditioning / Juan Juan Almeida
– Translating Cuba -