When Trees Get in the Way in Havana

Irina Pino

The pruned tree.
The pruned tree.

HAVANA TIMES — We’re constantly seeing announcements on Cuban TV and other media preaching about the need to take care of nature, telling us not to damage the environment.

A few days ago, I witnessed a very unpleasant incident, near the entrance to my building (where, as I explained in a previous post, there is a parking lot belonging to the Cuban company CIMEX).

A Pruned Tree

Pruning the branches of a tree so that they don’t become tangled up with electrical cables is a needed precaution. Pruning a tree down to the bare bones, a tree that isn’t interfering with any electrical installations, is completely unwarranted.

The tree in question was in front of my balcony window and the back of my building. It cast a pleasant shade there and gave off a sweet scent whenever it flowered. Different varieties of birds, including humming birds, would perch there.

When I protested, they calmly told me the tree had dried up and that it was on the land of the parking lot meaning that I didn’t even have the right to say anything about it.

I explained to them that the tree was in perfectly good shape and that it merely sheds its leaves from time to time, but this fell on deaf ears. It seems that the voice of someone who calls for the protection of the environment needed by the community isn’t heard or even taken into account.

They left the place looking like a war zone: trees that have been stripped to the trunks, their branches strewn across the ground, a huge mess all around.