From Martha Beatriz Roque:
A slice of life in Havana.
Forget the hotels for tourists. This is how Cubans live. This is where the people-to-people tours never go.
On the corner of Monte and Rastro streets in Havana, a former laundry has stood empty for twenty years. The building is collapsing bit by bit. A hand-painted sign next to a hole in the wall says: “Don’t throw trash in here. Look…use the trash bin.” But the well-educated neighbors don’t care. The ruined building has become a garbage dump.
Rain water leaks in and puddles under the garbage. It stinks to high heaven and is infested with rats and hutias (a large Caribbean rodent).
No one owns it. No one fixes it. Some makeshift supports prevent the building from caving in completely. No one cares about the health and safety risk.
Another sign on the wall reveals the excellence of the Revolution’s much-praised educational and health care systems. It reads: “Akí hay un foco de aedes.” (Here is a breeding site for the Aedes mosquito — “Akí” should be “Aquí”).
And this is the country most of Latrine America sees as a role model.