HAVANA TIMES — French “Spiderman” Alain Robert, known for his spectacular performances as a “climber” of buildings, today had all eyes focused on him as he ascended the iconic facade of the Habana Libre Hotel in the center of the Cuban capital, reported DPA news.
Robert successfully completed his climb of the 27-story Havana hotel, located in the Vedado district. The street below was filled with onlookers at noon on Monday.
In comparison with past feats, the challenge was considerably smaller. Robert, 50, became famous in the last decades climbing skyscrapers around the world, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris (313 meters) and the Empire State Building in New York (381 meters, 102 floors).
On several occasions, he was arrested by the authorities while trying to climb building fascades, as in 1997 and 2007 in Kuala Lumpur on the outside of the Petronas Towers. In January 1982 he suffered a serious fall even from 15 meters that left several fractures.
Robert did not have to challenge the authorities in Cuba. He had visited Havana four months ago with the intention of finding a building for his performance and received authorization.
At the end he chose the Habana Libre for its enormous symbolic value: the hotel was once the Havana Hilton, nationalized by Fidel Castro after the triumph of the 1959 revolution.
Scaling buildings makes him feel “free” and “reborn”, Robert told the Cuban media this morning before beginning his climb.
“I want to stay healthy to continue to fulfill my dream of climbing buildings,” he told Prensa Latina. Robert will hold an exhibition again on Tuesday morning, when he will climb the facade of a school in Old Havana.