By Garry Pierre-Pierre
Editor’s Note, this is the first of three-part series comparing Cuba with Haiti
HAVANA, Cuba – The first thing I noticed when I landed at the airport in Cuba is the ubiquity of the 1950s American-made cars. Then I quickly realized how clean the air and ocean is, and how the streets are void of trash. The place is spotless and even in the countryside, peasants have trash disposals to ensure that towns are not overran with garbage.
This is a far cry from Haiti, where soot, trash and a putrid smell hits you instantly. Cuba and Haiti share many similarities. Both countries have been the subject of punishing embargoes from the United States and Haitians have been moving to Cuba since the turn of last century, largely to work in the sugarcane fields throughout Cuba. The eastern province of Oriente, the heart of Afro Cuba culture is decidedly Haitian influenced.