Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — It’s becoming a more and more frequent occurrence to find cut down trees everywhere in the city of Havana. Sometimes they don’t even have electricity cables above them, so I don’t understand why they have to be cut down.
I also don’t understand what the law is with regard to forestation in a tropical country where the summer sun is simply a torture.
A few days ago, I was shocked to see that they had cut down a ceiba tree in Central Park itself. I don’t know whether they are planning on setting up a WIFI hotspot there, but it continues to be a touristy area, and just a few meters away from the recently inaugurated Hotel Manzana. A more ecological solution could have been found.
In this same Central Park, which is always very busy with passers-by and where buses which only transport tourists park, I have seen tourists eating a sandwich and street dogs watching them with pleading eyes.
How would those who have an ounce of sensitivity in them feel?
If they also see chopped up chickens in plastic bags on any street corner, a headless pigeon or a ceiba still standing but surrounded by foul-smelling animal corpses?
The way horse cart drivers treat their horses is also shameful. They seem to take out all of their anger and frustration on the poor animal; I had the misfortune to bear witness to how one of them hit a poorly fed mare, just for his enjoyment.
Even though many tourists try to make their stay in our country the most pleasant they can, there are things which simply stand out to the naked eye.
Others involve themselves to the point that the souvenir they take home from Cuba is a stray cat or dog, which they have decided to save from their misery. A gift which gets them tangled in long and expensive paperwork.
But is it fair, is it right, that a tourist, somebody who is foreign to our land, has to be the one who helps ease our problems here?
The organizations which have popped up spontaneously and fight to find a solution to the agonizing situation of animals in Cuba (at this point, without an Animal Protection Law, which would be just the beginning of having a civilized society) are kept running by foreign donations.
Before the Revolution triumphed, Jeannette Rayder, a US resident on the island, was the first person to declare herself against animal abuse, the first person to demand that laws be created so as to protect them.
Is it possible that such obvious problems, which not only affect the aesthetic of the city but the health and hygiene of its citizens, only matter to foreigners?
What role does the State have, which is the one who controls and manages all of our resources? To just be a predator? Of cut down trees, of stray animals who die of diseases, accidents or by the dog catcher? Does the Law only exist to encourage destruction?