Havana, City of Flies

By Repatriado

HAVANA TIMES – The Mesa Redonda (roundtable TV program) is the flagship of government propaganda. A few days ago, a program was dedicated to Cuba’s “environmental health”, explaining all of the government’s “efforts” to look after us.

Of course, they referred to some “problems”, those as a result of the US Blockade and civil indiscipline, translation: the US is bad and the Cuban people aren’t grateful enough for our leaders’ sleepless nights.

Like any Communist regime that bases its legitimacy on a utopia, which is becoming further and further away from our reality, the thing they talked about the most was the future; they talked about plans, projects and statistics.

A national government whose present is a disaster loves the future, it’s always a good communication strategy to talk about “everything that is being done to achieve a prosperous and sustainable socialism”, which we have yet to see after 60 years of government, but hey…

Even so, what really made me laugh was that while the guarded journalists in suits on the Mesa Redonda talked about the government’s huge efforts and public health achievements, we could barely breathe in my house because of a plague of flies (have a look at the photos which were taken on street corners all within 300 blocks from my home) and you will understand why I smiled when I listened to them talk about plans and projects… But, I smiled with my mouth shut, so as not to swallow any flies!

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3 thoughts on “Havana, City of Flies

  • I have been to Cuba and Havana many times and the stories people tell me about their daily life are silent testimonies about how a government exploits its people for its own benefit. Many stories are frightening. And for the record: Cubans are disgusted by the garbage in the streets. They have to choose between a decent meal for their children instead, tipping the doctor for giving them the right attention or buying a medicine they can not afford or (so no – health service is NOT for free!) with a salary that does not even cover 25% of their true BASIC food needs. Every time I go back, I see a backwards evolution instead of progress, more and more tired and exhausted people loosing hope of a future on the island. Today people are working hard to survive – not to make a decent living because that is something they can only dream about. Doing different jobs on top of their state jobs, putting up with dreadful transportation and a corrupt mentality in all aspects of daily life as EVERYONE is trying to survive. With the new legislations for cuentapropistas coming up, people will even be more strangled by the authorities and the corrupted system. For young Cubans the only way to build a decent future is leaving the country. While every Cuban deeply loves its country, they slowly lose their dream of building a future on this beautiful island. They feel that the only way out is to leave their beloved land for an uncertain adventure in another – actually in ANY – country. Therefore, Repatriado’s summary is a painful but genuine truth: “the Cuban system is in fact designed so that the government be our father and our mother, the government monopolize the production means, the trade, the banking and the law, Cuban government not only monopolize material and capital, also monopolize people´s capacity to produce ideas, coordination or even motivation to be creative.” Cubans don’t dream of a BIG house, a BIG car and a BIG life. They dream of dignity, free expression, respect, food on the table and a future for their children. And yes, also clean streets. They have the same dreams as we all have. And Cubans want to work very hard for it. I can only hope that they will find the way to live this dream – in Cuba or abroad.

  • Respectfully, I can´t imagine how somebody that knows Cuba think that Cubans, in the neighborhood, can give solution to something like this.

    Those pictures are of one normal day, not a crisis, every day the corners of my neighborhood are this way, or worse.

    The only solution that I could imagine is that thousands of inhabitants of my neighborhood organize them self, each one contributes with capital to create a company that consists of at least 10 trucks of garbage, for that we would need to buy also a local, to create the infrastructure and to hire the personnel.

    I would love to do it, but all that is absolutely illegal in Cuba, you should know it, even so, if that would be legal,
    How would we pay such an investment?

    With which capital would count for something like that?

    I suppose you know what medium wage in Cuba is, I suppose that you know that Cubans have very few properties and less saved money, I suppose that you know that the bank doesn’t give credit for these things.

    Now suppose we find a good Canadian that give us one million of Canadian dollars as starting capital, and that the government allows it because this business will be controlled for an imaginary son of a general or the daughter of some Communist Party big boss, who will pay for the service in the future? My neighbors? Me? With what?

    Ken, the Cuban system is in fact designed so that the government be our father and our mother, the government monopolize the production means, the trade, the banking and the law, Cuban government not only monopolize material and capital, also monopolize people´s capacity to produce ideas, coordination or even motivation to be creative.

    Do you really believe that we Cubans live among filthiness because we are too lazy for not solving it?

  • I have been to Cuba many times and whole heartedly agree with your assessment of your government…but…you know people are responsible for their garbage. Just dumping it on the corner and forgetting about it is irresponsible and dangerous to everyone !
    In Canada we have become responsible to recycle , reuse , and reduce our garbage and yes of course we have weekly garbage pick up but we have made it our responsibility to do these things and it works .
    Your government no matter how they perform are not your mother and father…Your neighbourhood has a problem , find a way to solve it since it IS your problem !
    I have been to almost every city , town , and village in Cuba and seen the poor management of almost every system there . There are many places just outside of towns and Cities where garbage could be safely dumped into ravines and valleys..then , much fewer flies in your house …it’s up to the people to get this done .

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