Too Easy to Fell a Tree

Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

Tree stump.

A stewardess friend of mine told me about what happened when the airplane she was on from London made a stopover in Holguin (in eastern Cuba) before continuing on to Havana.

Because the pilot had pulled in the aircraft poorly, one of its wings ended up being in front of a tree, a situation that automatically triggered an operation to cut it down.

After an hour, the tree no longer existed.  Although they could have turned to other methods to solve the problem, this option had been selected as the quickest and least expensive for the company Cubana de Aviación.

My friend could never give a coherent explanation to her frightened passengers from London, who were used to expecting a veritable legal paralysis in a case where a tree needed to be cut down.  What they saw was unbelievable.

On the other hand, today the electric company is one of the major murderers of trees in Cuba; all you need is for the top of a tree to get near a cable running between poles for the sapling to be pruned down to a toothpick.

One time I asked some electricians who were unnecessarily pruning a tree in the Vedado neighborhood, why they cut those parts of the tree that didn’t affect the electric lines.  Their answer was: “We have to do it this way because we don’t have enough fuel to keep coming back to cut the branches every time they grow.”

For one reason or another, impunity for tree predators in the cities of Cuba is total (I’m unaware of the situation of forests); it’s to the point that the “responsibility for crimes against the environment” is included as a recommendation in the “The National Environmental Strategy for the period 2011-2015.”