Havana’s iconic Capitolio building is being restored, and will likely re-open early next year. Before the revolution in 1959 it was the seat of government. And, officials say Cuba’s parliament may soon be returning home.
The Capitolio has long dominated the Havana skyline, although it has been empty now for several years. The building is currently undergoing a major facelift, aimed at faithfully restoring all of its original features and returning the structure to its former glory.
The Capitolio was built in the 1920’s at the height of Cuba’s sugar boom. It was modeled in part on the Capitol in Washington, and housed the island’s Congress and Senate.
The restoration began five years ago and has cost around $60 million so far. It’s still not halfway done, but the first phase will be opened to the public early next year.
The project is also making history because for the first time since the revolution, a major government contract has involved a mix of state run companies, private co-operatives and self-employed workers.
This was the seat of power in Cuba, where Congress met. Soon it will be home to the National Assembly, both the full-time executive and the deputies, who only meet twice a year.
The Capitolio has long been a symbol of Cuba’s past. Now, it’s a product of the new mixed economy and could play a historic role in the island’s future as well.
CCTV’s Michael Voss has the sneak preview.