Reports from Cuba: Living In or Among Trash Dumps
The stench has overwhelmed Cuba for years, and in Havana it is more apparent in neighborhoods where the common people and workers live, where inhabitants do not have high positions in the state bureaucracy.
We live among trash, and they treat us like trash. Countless malodorous corners overflowing with waste are contagious witnesses, giving evidence that in many areas of Havana, public unhealthiness is due to the negligence of the state. What good are all the fumigations, and the constant health warnings on national television about washing vegetables and hands, and the proper cooking of food, if the enemy decides for us even though it lives outside our homes? The trash cans are overflowing because the garbage truck is a week to fifteen days behind schedule. This situation has been repeated cyclically for years. Resigned citizens declare that “the truck broke” while covering nose and mouth with a hand to reduce the stench as they walk past the corners.
Children play soccer in the street and from time to time the ball goes toward a mountain of refuse. Some have shoes and others run without–perhaps to protect the only pair they have–and kick the ball back out of the dumps.
What happened to the trucks that should regularly collect the garbage? Is it true that in some localities there is only one? Surely in the former neighborhoods of wealthy families, which since 1959 have housed new-rich socialists, there is no shortage of vehicles and personnel to keep every block and corner of their classist suburbs clean.