There’s a Cuban saying which goes as follows: “A lamp in the street, dark at home.” It comes to mind because some years ago the town where I live was deprived of the cistern-tank which collected human waste which they took to Holguín, the provincial capital.
Three years later we still lack the necessary services for cleaning out the septic tanks, we don’t have a single vehicle to collect the trash, we never had a drainage system, and the local service workers do a bad job cleaning away the dust and grime that overwhelms us a bit more each day.
When it comes to public sanitation, poverty smacks you in the face before you get to the door.
Every day Cuban television bombards us with reports about the work of Cuban epidemiologists elsewhere in Latin America while turning its back on the municipal shit-tips which the small towns in the interior of the country have become.
Without gloves or masks or thigh-length boots the garbage collectors, like the rest of us, confront the most threatening pandemic of all, the one coming from our own homes and which sits there for weeks out in the open.
Television, that box of fantasies, will always come up with something more to offer us than the meagre daily ration. Holguín’s weekly paper is at present bubbling over with optimism about the year that just ended and the litany of success stories prescribed by the Provincial Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
So as putrid, tatty and filthy as they are… the streets, who can doubt it? They belong to the revolutionaries.
Translated by RSP