C/C happily acceptable Old Havana is a terribly run-down area actually caused by the odd interaction of history, policy and climate. After Castro's success in Cuba, there was an embargo on virtually everything so Cuba was short of construction materials. In their nominally socialist state, everything was owned by the state and people could not, did not own their homes and thus had no real incentive to do any maintenance on homes that were not their own. Additionally, most construction was cement and thus not easily maintained by individuals with low income and, seemingly, not great desire. So old Havana looks terrible.