It seems almost impossible not to notice his presence. From the natives to the outsiders they know it exists. Some are sympathizers, others detractors. The truth is that they want it or not there is, tangible, immobile, with the certainty that at some point will be useful and even essential.
Many may wonder what the present would look like if it were not. The answer may be very simple: Havana has the Capitol; Santa Clara, to Che; Santiago de Cuba, to El Cobre and Perico, despite being a small municipality lost in the Matancera geography, has a pedestrian tunnel that after the famous phrase to run Liberales del Perico! Is one of the elements that identifies the municipality.
For the Pericans it is a daily occurrence to pass through the tunnel that collects on their walls countless anecdotes ranging from some small accidents on the stairs to more serious incidents like quarrels.
History of a need
Memory is an ally that sometimes betrays. This is the case when it comes to locating the year in which the tunnel was built in a temporary space. Residents near the building have contradictions as to the exact period of the work. Pedro Drake claims that it was in September 1975 when construction began and culminated in October 1976. However, his son Humberto, who at that time was only a child, thinks that it was in the years 1977 and 1978 when he began the division of Perico Norte and Perico Sur that until these days lasts.
According to Nersy Campos, who for more than five decades lived in the vicinity of the pedestrian crossing, the president of the government in the municipality at that time was Jorge Soler Hernandez, whose mandate was from 1974 to 1977, so the most accurate criterion in As for the year is that of Peter Drake.
Regrettably, in the municipal museum Constantino Barredo, there is no document that shows the date or data about the brigades that intervened in that work, which despite the vicissitudes of time and the mistreatment of the population stands.
Behind the noise of the new foundation came the misfortune that was never forgotten, a child lost his life in one of the drains that connected the tunnel with the railway station, a fact that marked this stage.
The truth is that the railroad brought to the municipality more life, movement of people and flourishing of business. Inevitably, in the Cuba of the 70s was an important means of transport and the place that had the happiness of having a railway had a new awakening. For this, a safe structure was imminent that would protect the population and allow them to pass to the other side of the municipality. Thus began the construction of this pedestrian tunnel, unique of its kind in the country that is still used for the same purpose with which it was built.
It was the time the main witness of the durability of the tunnel, which also can be translated into deterioration. Despite being structurally preserved as in its beginnings, what was once a sight to behold today becomes dingy, with graffiti of proclamations of love between teenagers and even acquired public bathing function in recent years.
Time to remodel
On many occasions, the Pericans complained about the constructive state of the pedestrian crossing, the discomfort to lower or climb the bicycles, the poor lighting at night and even the stench that permeated the area. It was really time for a remodeling, to give the people a space that invited them to spend.
It was the municipality’s need to restore the pedestrian crossing, as leaks, the train’s own vibrations, the mistreatment of the population and daily use influenced the deterioration, as well as being an aging approach to account surrender, Roger said. Orlando Hernández Pérez, president of the Popular Power in the municipality.
This work corresponds to the Restoration Program of the Historical Center with the profits of one percent of the territorial contribution for local development. In this remodeling involved self-employed workers and Communal Services, as well as the construction brigade of People’s Power.
The Sculpture and Decoration Group Skandell was in charge of presenting a project that links the modern with the comfort for the passer-by.
«The conceptual basis of this is given by the primary function of space to intervene, the flow of people passing through it, a movement with meaning and direction is what sustains the image of this idea. From the use of durable and contemporary materials, a proposal is made that tries, in turn, to be respectful with the original architectural codes of the work «, affirmed Ariel Matos, head of the group.
Original texton Jan 27th, 2017