Luyano, Cuba’s Garbage Capital, ‘Is Going to Become a Giant Bonfire’

In the vicinity of the Cuban Post Office is one of the largest garbage dumps in Luyanó. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, November 23, 2023 —  “Luyanó is going to become a giant bonfire.” The warning, recently published on a Facebook group of residents in the Havana neighborhood, was accompanied by a photo of Rodríguez Este Street, between Manuel Pruna and Juan Alonso: a formidable garbage dump, which neighbors had been denouncing for weeks, in flames.

The sidewalks, streets and even the doorways of Luyanó attest to the seriousness of the situation. “Complaints are of no use. The garbage dumps are still there and this neighborhood has become the Cuban capital of garbage,” Francisco, who lives not far from Manuel Pruna, tells 14ymedio.

The images of the burning of the garbage dump – one of the gestures of protest considered the most serious on the Island – did not have the impact that the neighbors expected. “Now the Police have stationed their guayabitos (the gray-shirted officers) to ensure that no one sets fire to their garbage at night,” says Francisco.

The cars pass with difficulty between the mountains of waste, which at midday – with the heat and the stench at their peak – no one can avoid. You can barely make out the blue lid of the container, submerged by plastic bags, cans, cardboard and fallen branches. The garbage that wraps around the poles, the traffic signals, gains ground on the street and the sidewalks.

In the vicinity of the Cuban Post Office is one of the largest garbage dumps in Luyanó. Of the three containers in front of the kiosk, two are upright and the other has already dumped its contents onto the avenue.

“No one wants to accept garbage,” acknowledges Francisco, who regrets that there are those who, as long as the waste does not touch their houses, do not even flinch. “If you go to the bodega [ration store], if you want to take the bus or take your child to the circle, there you will see a good dump,” he adds.

Some letters painted with reluctance by the Police on the fence of a garage demand that the people of Luyanó “not throw garbage.” Seen from afar, the garbage dump on that corner looks like the barricade of a city at war.


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