Daring skyscraper climber eyes iconic Havana hotel

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Associated Press

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 11:04 PM

HAVANA (AP) — The daredevil climber nicknamed "Spider-Man" is famous for scaling the world's tallest skyscrapers without a safety line.

Now Alain Robert is tackling a slightly less imposing edifice with plenty of symbolism.

The 50-year-old Frenchman is in Cuba to conquer the 27-story former Hilton, which was taken over after the 1959 Cuban Revolution and redubbed the "Habana Libre," or "Free Havana."

Fidel Castro set up his personal offices here soon after his triumphant march into the capital.

Robert tells the AP in an exclusive interview that the hotel has "great meaning" for him for its symbolism.

The Habana Libre is dwarfed by others Robert has summited like the Empire State Building. But at 413 feet (126 meters), a fall would still be deadly.

Robert plans to make his attempt Monday.

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