Thursday, June 11, 2015

Interests Section has a piece of "The Stick"

Someillán. Credit: Flickr
While working as a correspondent for the Dallas Morning News in Cuba, I lived in Tarará, a seaside community about 12 miles east of Havana.
My home was on the beach along Calle Cobre - rough life, I know. U.S. Interests Section employees rented a home a few doors down and evidently used the place to relax and get together on weekends.
The U.S. government also rented homes in other spots, including Havana's posh Miramar neighborhood.
I was looking through spending records earlier today and noticed that the Interests Section has another property: The penthouse of the Someillán building.
A Cuban architecture blog describes the Someillán as slimmest building in Havana. Architect Fernando R. De Castro Cárdenas and structural engineer/architect José A. Vila Espinosa built it in 1957, the blog said.
Another blog said the Someillán is "popularly nicknamed 'El Palillo,' or 'The Stick.'"
Philip Agee at the Someillán
I haven't been inside "El Palillo" for years. I once went there to interview Philip Agee, a CIA renegade who ran a travel business from one of the Someillán's top floor - I can't remember if it was the penthouse or not.
Anyway, Agee had a beautiful view from his balcony.
On June 3, the Interests Section paid $4,414.03 to Star Creations of Brooklyn, N.Y., for undisclosed items described as kitchen equipment and appliances for the Someillán penthouse, records show.
Star Creations - which, strangely, is also listed as a modeling agency - is a "hardware superstore" and offers all kinds of appliances.
The Interests Section also paid Caprice Electronics of Brooklyn, N.Y., $20,480.90 for kitchen equipment and appliances for the "Someillán apartments," records show. It's not clear if this is the penthouse or additional apartments.
Other recent Interests Section purchases include $26,838 for tires and $14,250 for "cell phones for Americans."
The fun never ends...

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