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Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

Alamar, Havana Streets Turned into a Great Dump

August 29, 2016 | Print Print |

By Jimmy Roque Martínez

Welcome to Alamar, Havana.

Welcome to Alamar, Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — A tour through the streets of Alamar by the environmental project El Guardabosques, revealed dozens of garbage pick up points that were overflowing with garbage throughout the sprawling housing projects, located on the east side of Havana.

Although it’s nothing new to see such sights throughout the Cuban capital, it’s surprising to see how the situation in Alamar is so widespread, where over 90,000 people live.

The situation is so serious that even Cuban TV’s Canal Habana, dedicated an entire news report on the subject, showing garbage bins overfloowing with food scraps, pavements and flower beds filled with garbage, the breeding grounds for potential diseases from mosquitos and rodents.

Sande, a resident of Alamar, told us that it’s been over three weeks since Community Services (the state company responsible for picking up garbage) has sent teams and workers to this suburb, while piles of garbage continue to grow.

The day after the news report on Canal Habana, “by coincidence” a brigade of workers came to this abandoned, once dubbed model city, to tidy up some of the dirtiest areas. However, the majority of places remained in the same condition as before.

Another resident interviewed by provincial TV told us that there have been many times that, after weeks of not coming, city workers come and take only what’s been left in the garbage bins, leaving behind piles and piles of garbage on pavements, streets and flower beds.

Are we currently facing a situation of “social indiscipline” (a term Cuban bureaucracy prefers to use in order to blame the population and to mask its inefficacy) or State incompetence on behalf of a government that doesn’t know how to manage garbage, while it shows not the least amount of interest in promoting recycling?

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    But if you Google Earth 5 ta D Havana, you will note that there is no garbage on the street, everything is neat and tidy. That compound of five houses with the swimming pool and tennis court in Siboney is the home of Fidel Castro Ruz who lives in very different conditions and with a far superior standard of living than those millions of Cubans whom he has subjected to penury. When bored with life in Siboney and seeking a comfortable period of relaxation, Fidel who like some other multi-millionaires enjoys luxury, would fly down to Cayo Piedra his two island retreat and spend time on his yacht Aquarama II.
    It is of no concern to the Castro family communist regime that they have subjected their subjects to living in squalor.

    • Eden Wong

      Are you trying to insinuate that this is any different than 99% of the world leaders all over the planet?

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        All I have done Eden is to relate fact.
        The conditions in Alamar – which as you know has been constructed and developed by the Castro regime are a disgrace and reflect their policies and management standards. I don’t know whether you visit Alamar, but we do as we have friends living there.

        • Eden Wong

          “… All I have done Eden is to relate fact…”

          Carlyle, with all due respect your “facts” in this case are 100% useless, meaningless drivel that contribute zero to rational discussion.

          Your hated of the Castros has left you totally helpless to carry on a conversation about anything Cuban. In this case you’re bemoaning the fact that a leader of an entire nation lives in comfortable houses and has comfortable retreats. There is NO world leader on the planet who doesn’t have the VERY SAME amenities, but you get up on your soapbox and desperately try to proclaim that it’s wrong in this one singular case.

          I’m sorry I’m being so blunt here, but the blinders you have on make most of your posts unreadable now. You write the very same short essay for 90% on your posts. Your unrelenting rhetoric is becoming white noise.

          Once, just once, please write something that is just a little different. Something that shows not every single thing coming out of your mouth demands an audience and yet another condescending lecture about the very same stuff, over and over and over.

          Again, I apologise for being so blunt but you’re exhausting Carlyle and I’m FAR from the only person commenting on it. You’re being mocked on Reddit as the alter-ego and separated-at-birth-twin of CubaKing. If that isn’t enough to step back and take stock of how you present your opinions then I don’t know what is.

          It’s only the Internet and my comments are in no way personal. I’m simply stating the truth as I see it. All the best to you, sir.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            It may be Eden that living in I assume reasonable comfort in Havana that the garbage in Alamar and the effects of it upon those who live there is of no concern. Therein lies the difference between us. I do have concern about the living standards of our friends in Alamar. Secondly there are those who have swallowed Fidel’s self created myth that he lives as an normal Cuban. That is factually incorrect.
            To describe description of the conditions in Alamar as “meaningless drivel” is to accept such conditions. You may, I don’t.
            Obviously you find aspects of the Castro regime as acceptable or perhaps even commendable. You recognize Castro as a “leader”, I recognize him as a Dictator.
            Please don’t apologize for criticism – free speech is allowed in Havana Times – and maybe one day will be permitted in Cuba.

          • Eden Wong

            100% cop-out, as usual, Carlyle. Your never ending avalanche of rhetoric truly has blinded you to meaningful discussion.

            1.) I’ve been part owner in a tattoo studio in Alamar for almost 20 years (back when you could go to JAIL for being in that business) so I am way more intimately familiar with that neighbourhood than you’ll ever be.

            2.) You try to presume where and how I live in a desperate attempt to somehow discredit me. You should be ashamed of yourself. That’s just as ignorant and rude as me insinuating that you only went to Cuba to nail a young wife since it’s impossible for you to find a partner in your home country.

            3.) You try to insinuate that I’ve somehow swallowed one of the Castro self created myths, again, utter hog-wash and simply another attempt from you to deflect.

            4.) The “meaningless drivel” comment had ZERO to do with Alamar’s garbage and 100% to do with your unrelenting rhetoric.

            5.) You try to make “leader” and “dictator” as some important distinction when it is yet again meaningless to the discourse.

            Bottom line: The people who mock you for being CubaKing’s verbose “twin” are absolutely correct. You refuse to engage in adult discussion, all you’re capable of is the very same red herrings and strawman arguments repeated over and over and over.

            Carry on.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            I am most grateful for your approval and permission

          • Eden Wong

            “… I am most grateful for your approval and permission…”

            Your passive aggressiveness is silly, Carlyle. All it demonstrates is that I hit a little too close home.

            I hope you can take my few honest points to heart and stop the constant attacks on other poster’s integrity and stop pretending that you’re the one and only authoritative voice on Cuba. Some others have spent a lot more time living/working/travelling in Cuba than you have, and not most of it in a small town out in the campo.

            If you could be a bit more open to other opinions and experiences maybe you’d even learn a little something now and then. No one knows everything.

            All the best to you.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Thanks for your good wishes. One small correction – I am not endeavouring to discredit you.
            For others I would just add that they should take a good look at the photographs by Jimmy Roque Martinez and the reality of Alamar which they show.

          • Eden Wong

            “… I am not endeavouring to discredit you…”

            Then please stop doing it. Thank you.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Just re-read in order the contributions made by you and made by me above. My first one which ended by saying that the Castros have subjected their people to living in squalor, did not mention you Eden. You then posed a question which I answered. Following that, you described my response as ” meaningless drivel”. I responded by saying that you might regard comment upon the conditions in Alamar as “meaningless drivel” but I don’t. I added that you obviously find that certain aspects of the Castro regime as acceptable or perhaps even commendable.
            I also said that you recognize Fidel Castro as a leader – you wrote that – but that I recognize him as a dictator.
            You take my responses as an endeavour to discredit you. Well that is your choice.
            But Eden you demonstrate your true view of Cuba and its people with your comment that:
            “not most of it in a small town out in the campo”
            That appears to indicate that you feel a degree of superiority living in Havana.
            I would not bother trying to discredit you, but when I write of Cuba I am not confining myself by reflecting upon only Havana.
            My view remains that the photographs of Alamar and Jimmy Roque Martinez’s article reflect the conditions I have observed when visiting there. I have to admit that I did not notice a tattoo parlour.

          • Eden Wong

            Again Carlyle, you go on and on and on with yet more meaningless comments.You address nothing directly, you simply talk in circles. All you do is dig your hole deeper and deeper.

            All my comments were rational, straightforward and directly to the point. Take it or leave it, it makes no difference.

  • Gerard Matthews

    Has Mr Castro visited this area recently? or does he still walk around with his eyes shut?

  • patriotor

    Mr. Martinez realizes how bad the situation in Cuba is even thou he was born
    IN the system so has nothing to compare it to. I was 18 when I left in 1960 and
    KNOW the way Cuba was before Castro. The ONLY reason Cuba is not in the
    same situation as Venezuela is BECAUSE the close they are to the U.S. and the
    help they get from them.