What Is To Be Done (II)

Garbage heap alongside the Havana suburb of Cojimar.
Garbage heap alongside the Havana suburb of Cojimar.

By Veronica Fernandez

For over a month now, I have been listening from my house in Cojimar (a Havana neighborhood), to the penetrating noise of the infamous fumigation apparatus that invade our sound environment every summer, year after year, in hopes of eradicating the dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquito.

This insect causes illnesses such as dengue in tropical climates with high humidity, which also causes respiratory problems and rheumatism.

Unfortunately, to top it all off (as we Cubans say), the pandemic is present in Cuba and although it is under control, there are hygienic and sanitary measures that the public must follow.

Nevertheless, incredibly, despite the fumigation and the many “PUBLIC WELLBEING” media campaigns, we fall short of doing our part or trying to find solutions for the serious problems that affect us that are due to our own negligence, or inability to insist or to follow the established rules.

A large garbage heap has been on the corner across from my house for years that is cleared only about once a month, or less.

The photo plainly shows the infamous heap. A little farther up on the right is a shopping (a store that sells in Cuban convertible pesos, CUC) and on the left is the local cinema, where crowds of people gather every day.

In addition, all transportation in the area circulates past this point, including the tourist busses which pass frequently, as Cojimar is a required visit in order to learn a little about the life and work of the famous US writer Ernest Hemingway.

I wonder what can be done to completely do away with these trash heaps that remain untouched and inflate like balloons all over the city. Some of them are occasionally picked up, but they always return. Others are never, or almost never, picked up.

As I said in my last post, should I believe that these have become part of our history or monuments to our heritage?

But if we add to this, the many other things that are happening simultaneously, I cannot imagine how we will ever be able to eradicate the mosquito or dengue, or whatever, when my next door neighbor – just for one example – who is a middle-aged woman with two young children, never lets them fumigate inside her house and she has received no kind of reprimand.

Is this negligence or lack of insistence on the part of the competent authorities? It is my understanding that fumigation has to be done house by house and anyone who does not cooperate is to be fined.

Why does she get away with it? I don’t understand, nor will I ever understand, since it is a fact that this woman not fumigating her house, just because she doesn’t want to, can lead to the formation of uncontrolled foci, or mosquito breeding cites.

Moreover, public health agents visit and inspect our houses nearly every day to see if there are any uncovered water tanks, etc. and in that woman’s house there is an uncovered water tank and cistern. Whose fault is this? Whose responsibility is this? Why invest so much money in public health if we are not capable of doing what must be done?

There is an old saying that often comes to mind, ‘perseverance brings triumph’. And so, why don’t we maintain strict vigilance to keep things in order? There is another refrain that says: ‘trust, but maintain control.’ If this was done, I am sure that little by little we could achieve many things.

Once again the work of Vladimir Ilich Lenin titled “What is to be done” comes to mind.

2 thoughts on “What Is To Be Done (II)

  • El rostro, el apellido y la carrera estudiada me hacer recordar a una companera de estudios que conocia como Nieves Fernandez, si esa es usted, me encantaria reestablecer el contacto, mi direccion de correo es [email protected]

  • When I was living in Nautico, I had a surgery and couldn’t leave the house for a few weeks so I told them they could not fumigate. But, I felt tremendous pressure from my neighbors. More than one of them explained to me the risks. The first time I went out… at 2am… for a walk, the whole neighborhood knew! The fumigators were at my house early the next morning. In fact, a young teen came to inspect the house and found a “foco” in an empty vase on my porch. He let me off with a warning, but let me know that he could have given me a fine.

    So, anyway, in answer to your question, “what is to be done?” in the case of the neighbor, go talk to her. Talk to your CDR captain about it. Use peer pressure. Don’t expect the authorities to solve the problem. As far as the trash heap, again, organize your neighbors and talk to CDR leaders about getting a dumpster or about other ways to deal with it. The point is, do something. Don’t wait for the authorities to handle everything.

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