SOS For the Eastern Beaches

Pieces of wood, big rocks, and in places pieces of concrete at the seashore.

Pieces of wood, big rocks, and in places pieces of concrete at the seashore.

We are on a school break. Mothers and children who want to go to the zoo, the aquarium or some other recreation area crowd the bus stops. In Old Havana there isn’t a single nook or cranny without those little ones demanding an ice cream or pulling on their grandmother’s skirt so she’ll buy them a pizza. Outside the amusement park a long line waits to ride the crazy cars and feel the wind in their hair on the roller coaster. Meanwhile, parents reach a trembling hand into their wallets. They know that in most cases only convertible pesos – hard currency – will do for candy and soft drinks, although the entrance fees for museums and movie theaters are in national money. The schools, until next Monday, will be silent vacant sites.

My son, who is at that awkward age between childhood and adolescence, also enjoys his week of vacation. Yesterday he wanted to swim for a while at Havana’s eastern beaches, and we went there with my father who hadn’t felt the sand on his feet for a decade. The sea was gorgeous, as always, the sun played its part up above, and even a few clouds offered us their shade in this sizzling April. Nature, in short, put the best spin on the afternoon. A mixture of apathy and neglect, however, has changed the coastal landscape I know so well from my own childhood. In the tourist area in front of the Tropicana Hotel, of course, it was impeccably clean with police making the rounds so that no Cuban would “bother” the foreigners. But outside that perimeter of comfort, the setting for natives is a real ecological disaster.

The sand is no longer a rolling area of soft waves. Near the sea it looks gray and compacted, while the wind has blown the finer grains into huge dunes covered with thorny plants. Between the street and what would be the backdrop for the summer beachgoers, there are now these mounds that must be scaled to take a dip. Rocks, pieces of concrete, and even lumber, hug the water’s edge along several areas of the shoreline. Boca Ciega, the part of the beach where families have been going for thirty years — and prostitutes with their clients for twenty — today is an area lacking in the minimal services of restrooms, snack bars and umbrellas. It looks like a battlefield after the bombing. Taking off your shoes to walk a bit is not a good idea, because of the glass and shards of metal. Not to mention the part known as Guanabo, where the sewage ditches drain into the sea. The worst is in the faces of the residents: an expression of neglect and abandonment, of the former glory turned into salt.

My son was paddling about in the water, while the adult that I am remembered all the sand castles built in that place. I thought of those diminutive forts from whose pointed towers the future, then, seemed better and more beautiful.

The sand has receded and accumulated in big dunes

The sand has receded and accumulated in big dunes

Constructions destroyed by the sea and by hurricanes

Constructions destroyed by the sea and by hurricanes

Apathy and ecological damage jeopardize the beaches to the east of Havana

Apathy and ecological damage jeopardize Havana's eastern beaches


108 thoughts on “SOS For the Eastern Beaches

  1. But there will not always fight the lazy sheep and lazy goats but gather and be all under the God,their creator,not any shepherd,a bell sheep or bell goat…

  2. Always will be order after chaos and…chaos after order
    Always will be destruction after building and…building after destruction
    Always will be Night after day and…day after night,moon and sun lighting

  3. “Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution” have maybe a big plan for a world revolution.

    Cuba may be chosen as new French and Russian revolution and used for the South America
    and maybe for the influence in the North America and the whole world…
    Maybe behind Cubans are the gnostic divisions which are very old in history as it shows here…so it looks like there is a long war going on where are all victims..

  4. Humberto,

    That’s one excellent documentary! They catch the people talking and speaking from their heart.

  5. YOUTUBE ENTIRE DOCUMENTARY: “Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution” – The Grandchildren of the Revolution gives the youth a voice to share their feelings of hope and despair. Some speak with humor, many do it in defiance. The film tries to capture the vibe of Cubas youth today. Featuring artists like: Los Aldeanos, Porno para Ricardo, Silvito El Libre and bloggers Claudia Cadelo, Yoani Sanchez and Laritza Diversent, the film was directed by Carlos Montaner with the help of young camera men and women who visited the island throughout a span of several months.SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUB-TITLES!

  6. MIAMI HERALD: Report: 2 Cuban actors headed for N.Y. stay in Miami – Two young stars of a Cuban film featured in a New York film festival never showed up for their movie’s screening and are believed to have slipped away in Miami. – By Diana Moskovitz

    Two actors with roles in a Cuban movie about young people trying to flee the communist island arrived last week in the United States to promote the film — and promptly disappeared, reportedly after their plane landed in Miami.

    Anailín de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Núñez Florian portray two of the stars in the movie Una Noche. Filmed in Havana, the movie is about three young Cubans who, for various reasons, decide to try to escape the island for a new life in the United States.

    Una Noche was scheduled for the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. But when the film had its screening in New York City on Thursday, only one of the three actors appeared.

    “Only Dariel Arrechada attended the Tribeca Film Festival premiere screening of Una Noche on Thursday, April 19,” a statement from the film festival said. “We have not had any contact with Anailín de la Rua de la Torre or with Javier Núñez Florian.”

    The Huffington Post website reported Sunday that Arrechada said all three were supposed to be in New York on Friday, but Núñez Florian and de la Rua de la Torre stayed in Miami. Arrechada also told The Huffington Post that he believed the two would remain in the United States.

    Arrechada told the website that he could not reach the other actors and did not know where they were. He added that he would return to the island this week.

    All three stars were first-time film actors, according to press materials for the film. De la Rua de la Torre was a Taekwondo champion in Havana when a casting assistant discovered her on the beach, according to the film’s biography of her. Núñez Florian was training to become a chef when he submitted his photo, his biography said.

    Arrechada and the film’s British director, Lucy Mulloy, could not be reached for comment Sunday.

    If the pair did try to stay in the United States, it would not be the first time a film artist has come to the United States from Cuba for Tribeca and not returned.

    In 2009, Cuban filmmaker Laimir Fano Villaescusa received a special jury mention at Tribeca for Oda a la Piña. He didn’t return to Cuba, instead asking for political asylum in the United States.

    A U.S. State Department spokesman had no immediate comment Sunday.

    El Nuevo Herald Staff Writer Daniel Shoer Roth contributed to this report, which includes reporting by The Associated Press.

  7. if the God only cares now for the victims of the world evil system than pope should do the same maybe…be everywhere for care and help

  8. And if the church run two opposite systems now uniting…who will be with their victims other than the God?
    Everything looks so stupid…because there are all new generations future destroyed already by the two evil systems,separated or united as now…as an evil big world system…which destroyed the planet too

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