Ciudad Alternativa blames governments for overcrowding
Despite the development of the Nuevo Domingo Savio project to transform the neighborhoods of La Cienaga and Los Guandules, National District, about to be inaugurated, many families continue to live in very precarious areas near and under the Francisco del Rosario Sanchez bridge on both banks of the Ozama River.
Ciudad Alternativa (CA), with more than 30 years working in the neighborhoods of that area, blames the overcrowding in which thousands of families live on the lack of vigilance and enforcement of the law by the different governments, both nationally and locally.
Ricardo González, executive director of CA, points out that Law 64-00 of Environment and Natural Resources establishes the distance from the banks of rivers and streams where construction can take place, which is not applied by the authorities.
Despite the progress of the Nuevo Domingo Savio, some properties are following or under the bridge with owners. The Unidad para la Readecuación de Barrios y Entornos (URBE) is negotiating to demolish them.
In this sense, Ricardo Gonzalez believes that the method used by URBE to evict vulnerable families, such as handing over economic resources and abandoning them, is not the correct one. Instead, he proposes to the government that in case it embarks on other similar projects, it should first build the houses where the evictees would go.
He claims that with the method of handing over the money, most of those who receive it move to nearby places, sometimes in worse areas from where they were removed. He argues that the money paid by the government for the houses to the owners and tenants is not enough to acquire another one outside of the vulnerability, for which they are pushed to remain in danger.
“What the families receive is barely enough to move to another gully or the river bank when they should be relocated to adequate housing; that is our problem with URBE,” he says.
In Gualey, almost under the bridge over which the second line of the Metro runs, more than 50 homeowners have been waiting to be relocated or compensated by URBE since they have been registered for several years.
Meanwhile, in Ribera del Ozama, on both sides of the Francisco del Rosario Sánchez bridge, almost 400 houses have been registered by the government entity for several years. However, the negotiation process has not begun, and those who live in the area are increasingly exposed to danger because, in addition, there is a slope that slides frequently.
Gonzalez warns that with the filling applied by URBE on the western side of the Ozama for the Domingo Savio project, the river expands to the other side when it rains.