Reports from Cuba: Havana’s Trillo Park, where food and garbage go hand in hand

Juan Diego Rodriguez reports in 14yMedio from Havana via Translating Cuba:

Trillo Park in Havana, Where Food and Garbage Go Hand in Hand

The centrally located park does not seem to be among the priorities of the Communal Services Company of the Cuban capital.

“They are not going to pay me for this!” shouted a man Saturday morning, as he was throwing part of the garbage that was overflowing a few meters from a container of the agricultural fair at Parque Trillo, in Central Havana. In the same space, bananas and garbage bags almost bump up against each other. The line for rice snaked past a mountain of waste. The flies went back and forth, again and again, from the pallet of a small private business with cheese and powdered milk to the filth accumulated on the street.

The centrally located park, far from the main avenues and in an area with low-income residents, does not seem to be among the priorities of the Communal Services Company of the Cuban capital. The neighborhood is not among those that benefit from the removal of more than 17,000 cubic meters of garbage that, according to Havana authorities, is carried out daily, “a figure that does not approach half of the total trash generated by the city’s municipalities.”

Shortly after the first kiosks were set up this morning, the proximity of the waste and its bad odors caused complaints from sellers and customers. A few minutes later, a man with a dark cap and a shovel tried to lift some of the trash into a rickety blue container that was only partially full. Reluctantly and grumbling, he clarified that this was not his responsibility and that he was not going to receive a single cent for such a thankless task.

But a few shovelfuls of filth hardly alleviated the problem. In the nearest row, shoppers chose to shake off flies and some placed a handkerchief or hand over their nose to ward off the stench. “Here in Havana we are going to have to use the masks again, but not because of the Covid, but because of the stench that is everywhere,” a woman complained. The new pandemic that hits the Cuban capital is not a virus, but the crisis. It is spread through laziness, its breeding ground is the lack of fuel, and it also affects the human beings who inhabit the city.

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