Passport

Failing state can’t even fix its own embassy

Blake Hounshell/FP Ever since I moved to my little slice of Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by the abandoned embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a.k.a. Bad Congo, number 7 in the 2007 Failed States Index). Sitting on the corner of New Hampshire Ave. and R. St., the dilapidated building ...

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Blake Hounshell/FP

Ever since I moved to my little slice of Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood, I've been morbidly fascinated by the abandoned embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a.k.a. Bad Congo, number 7 in the 2007 Failed States Index). Sitting on the corner of New Hampshire Ave. and R. St., the dilapidated building oozes faded Spanish colonial charm. It has a kind of mysterious, "Boo Radley house" appeal.

But it's definitely in bad shape, and apparently, the empty structure also attracts vagrants and vermin. A couple weeks ago, I noticed police (or maybe they were from the U.S. Secret Service, which secures embassies) forcing their way past the gated front door, presumably to evict some squatters. Now, according to a report by Katie Pearce in the local Dupont Current newspaper, my fellow neighbors are becoming exasperated at the DRC's failure to deal with the problem.

Blake Hounshell/FP

Ever since I moved to my little slice of Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by the abandoned embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a.k.a. Bad Congo, number 7 in the 2007 Failed States Index). Sitting on the corner of New Hampshire Ave. and R. St., the dilapidated building oozes faded Spanish colonial charm. It has a kind of mysterious, “Boo Radley house” appeal.

But it’s definitely in bad shape, and apparently, the empty structure also attracts vagrants and vermin. A couple weeks ago, I noticed police (or maybe they were from the U.S. Secret Service, which secures embassies) forcing their way past the gated front door, presumably to evict some squatters. Now, according to a report by Katie Pearce in the local Dupont Current newspaper, my fellow neighbors are becoming exasperated at the DRC’s failure to deal with the problem.

An embassy representative reportedly told local potentates not to worry, since the building, erected in 1908, would soon be “one of the best buildings in the area … or the country.” That’s doubtful, since the DRC has left the embassy to fester for four years now.

But the real source of frustration in this neighborhood of real estate entrepreneurs may be that the DRC isn’t selling. “It’s a beautiful piece of property,” the president of the local Citizens’ association told Pearce. “Everyone wants to buy it.”

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