No Electricity, Little Water and Carnival in the Air

By Antonio Recio

A street of Santo Domingo at dusk with no electricity.

HAVANA TIMES — This summer, I decided to visit my family in Santo Domingo, Villa Clara and to stay for carnival which is taking place on August 4th, 5th and 6th.

After 15 days of my holidays in Santo Domigo, I miss every corner in Havana because it really is unbelievable and/or abusive how locals here are targeted by long blackouts everyday in the peak hours for domestic chores and as if that wasn’t enough, 90% of homes depend on an electric hot plate that the government sold them to cook and to do other things.

Asking neighbors in the area, I could collect different theories, which ranged from “it’s because Venezuela is about to fall”, “they are saving energy for carnival” or those who have harsh words against the regime.

Yesterday, on July 23rd, it was without a doubt like when people say “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” as it was approximately 10 PM when a blackout left the whole municipality without electricity.

Some of us decided to move towards a local polyclinic, because there is a backup electric generator there and the mosquitoes don’t bother you as much, plus it made the time we had left to wait for the energy flow to come back less boring. But, to our surprise, when we reached the polyclinic, it completely cut out. It seemed like the beginning of a terror film, everyone was in the dark, without a single volt of electricity.

We went looking for the maintenance person at the clinic to ask what the problem was.  He replied, that the generator at the clinic “doesn’t work”, which is really something dangerous for whoever’s life currently relies on emergency equipment. This is what the doctor we found fanning herself on the pavement said: “If we receive an emergency patient, get ready to pray, because we won’t be able to do anything else.”

I’m still on holiday in this beautiful town on the “Central” highway, where there’s no electricity at mealtimes, where water comes and then disappears in less than an hour, and where carnival is already in the air.

2 thoughts on “No Electricity, Little Water and Carnival in the Air

  • Santo Domingo is not the only community on the Carretera Central that suffers regular prolonged blackouts. The fat cats of Havana have little knowledge of life in the core of the island which because there are few if any tourists, suffers even greater neglect than Havana or the tourist resorts. The need for water trucks is continuous as the leaking municipal pipes allow water to run down the streets. Cuba infrastructure services are like an aging apple – rotting from the core outwards.

  • I hear similar stories from friends who live in a small town named Florida just west of Camagüey. It’s sad that the Castro dictatorship continues in power despite their failure to provide the basics for the Cuban people.

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