“Smoke gets in your eyes” / Rebeca Monzo

Photo taken in the neighborhood of Vedado

I’m not referring to the beautiful song by David Kern, that is now an American classic, but to the terrible smoke of the fumigation that irritate the eyes and penetrate the nasal cavities, making it difficult to breathe; becoming in turn, the cause of so many diseases of the breathing passages that afflict many our citizens nowadays.

Every Tuesday they fumigate in my neighborhood. This makes the majority of the neighbors uncomfortable, but almost nobody refuses to let them pass by, still knowing full well that this doesn’t take care of the mosquito problem. I think that this attitude of the majority of people is induced by fear or laziness, because it doesn’t make sense to do this, and complain later, between those same neighbors, and not in front of the responsible authorities.

If this practice solved the epidemic disease, after so much time, it would have already been resolved. But it isn’t like that, every year we confront the same problem, except that it keeps increasing. This fumigation is already becoming the story of The Good Pipe*: endless! It is about filling your house with an unbearable smoke, a product of burning petroleum. It only serves to kill a few cockroaches and to leave the floors saturated with a slippery substance that becomes the cause of not just a few falls and broken bones by older people.

As long they don’t collect the garbage every day, clean the containers on the same schedule, periodically cut the grass in the yards and vacant lots, sweep and wash the streets, fix the potholes where the sewage water accumulates from the innumerable public and private leaks, and above all, eliminate the major causes: state farms located in major streets and avenues which causes these to always be covered with red soil, urban and suburban agriculture, which in itself attracts flies, mosquitoes and rodents, as well as the waste open to the weather, which these inadequate facilities generate. Until this is not eliminated, no progress can be achieved in combating dengue. The number of years they have been spraying without any positive result is overwhelming evidence of this.

Yet, the private fields are clean and so is the merchandise they offer, too. This possibly is due to the fact that it is the private sector where they demand and apply all the norms, penalties and fines. Why not to the State sector, who should be setting the example?

In terms of household fumigation, the process is too negative and annoying, to the point of threatening those who cannot let the bad mannered fumigators — who interrupt whenever they want and make rude demands — into their homes for medical reasons.

*Translator’s note: “The Good Pipe” is what in English is often known as a “shaggy dog story” — a joke that goes on and on and on and on…

Translated in part by: Derek Gonzalez, Jose Mas, and Oscar Sanz

September 26 2012