It is no secret to anyone that the Cuban government has received millions of euros and dollars from countries and non-governmental institutions for projects aimed at preserving the environment. Where have these large sums of money gone?
For more than sixty years, the Cuban government has lied to its own people and the international community on the issue of conservation and preservation of ecosystems, the protection of nature and the environment, arguing that the island complies with all the treaties and protocols on the matter. However, the reality is different.
The province of Guantánamo, in the far eastern part of the country, is suffering from the accelerated deterioration of its watersheds. This can mainly be seen in the basin of the Guaso River, which crosses the city in the eastern part and runs from north to south. The slow death of the Guaso River has many causes – oil discharges by the company that generating electricity; the discharge of chemical materials by the sugar industry; the discharge of all the wastewater and sewers in the city; and the thousands of cubic meters of garbage thrown into the river.
Osmel Cintra Robles, a young man from Guantanamo, is one of those who is pained by the deterioration and the inevitable death of the Guaso, due to the lack of political will, social factors, and the institutions of Cuba’s easternmost province. “Our river is going to die and nobody cares,” said Robles, who is a cultural artist, and from his particular point of view, he says that there are thousands of actions that could be taken to save the Guaso.
Together with other young people, Osmel holds performances and clean ups that are later made visible on social networks. “Let’s save the Guaso River! If we all work together, we can do it,” were the words of this extremely humble young Cuban, who dreams of an environment that is clean, beautiful and natural.
Statements and examples like this can be found all over the country. It is no secret to anyone that the Cuban government has received millions of euros and dollars from countries and non-governmental institutions for projects aimed at preserving the environment. Where have these large sums of money gone? Why are there so many problems with desertification, along with a scarcity of drinking water and food production? Why is the government ruthlessly exploiting natural resources that are being rapidly exhausted?
This is just part of a list of questions that would be endless. The government of the island boasts of saying that they are carrying out a series of actions to protect the nation through the project “la Tarea Vida,” which according to their sources is solving the problems that nature faces due to the wrong actions of humanity. However, what is revealed in these lines is evidence of a stark reality.
The Guaso River in Guantánamo is just one of the thousands of rivers that throughout the country are going through an extremely deplorable situation. It is hardly an isolated case as some leaders say. This is happening is in Cienfuegos Bay, the Almendrares River, the Bay of Santiago de Cuba, the Zapata swamp, the disappearance of millions of meters of beachfront throughout the country, and Havana Bay, which is glaringly known for its contamination.
It is necessary to take immediate action to save the Guaso and Cuba in general. Social spaces should be used to raise awareness among the population and the government about the real situation of our rivers and nature, real investments should be made in programs that can help to restore the ecosystem. Only then can we enjoy and give our children a future that includes a healthy and sustainable environment.