Life is Ever Harder and They Tell Us “We’re Going for More”

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – For reasons of work, I recently had to meet with a Communist Party functionary. Actually, it was the director of my workplace, not me, who had to go, but I was also called to accompany him as his legal advisor.

It had to do with a strictly contractual matter that had taken on some political overtones, and that was the reason for our presence. In the entrance hall of the meeting place, the Party functionary commented on the results of the [November 2] vote in the UN General Assembly against the US embargo, and right away began checking Google news about the event.

Frustration wasn’t long in coming, when he couldn’t find any related news, except in Cuba’s Prensa Latina and other official national news sources. He complained of a lack of seriousness on the part of the international media, the “large media companies,” as he called them.

While he was saying this, he trained his eyes on us, looking for some comment of support. I looked the other way, simulating distraction, while at the same time, the trail of photos and slogans caught my attention. I couldn’t hold his gaze without expressing some kind of disagreement.

I was only thinking that between the wars in Gaza and in Ukraine, the mass shooting in Maine, Javier Milei who is at the point of making history in Argentina, Nayib Bukele in El Salvador, etc. The “big media companies” have no room for a news item so lacking in importance as to be nothing more than a mere anecdote amid so many humdrum resolutions that are approved in the UN. Itself an organization so discredited as to maintain dictatorial regimes such as Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela on its Human Rights Council.

Right after that the meeting began, which luckily was brief. One of those familiar slogans remained with me, though, until the next morning when I was heading home. I contrasted it with that piece of street, when within no more than 300 meters, I encountered five indigent souls asking for a handout – an image, like others of people going through the garbage cans, that has become commonplace for a while now.

While I was noting these things, the phrase kept repeating in my head like an echo: “Vamos por mas” [“We’re going for more.”]  I reached the highway, where there were over 30 people trying to get somewhere. With the worsening of the current fuel crisis, not one private passenger truck had passed.

I ran into a friend who was coming back from the hospital, and he told me they had to spend thousands of Cuban pesos on antibiotics for his uncle who was a patient there. While in the hospital ward, he saw people with infected wounds due to the lack of these medications. While I was hearing this, I could only wish, from the depths of my being, never to fall into any hell like that, but to continue considering myself fortunate for having, up until now, a healthy daughter.

Nearly two hours passed until a large dump truck stopped and picked us up. I got off with the sensation that there was enough dirt on me to plant a sweet potato patch on my body. After nearly a week away from home, my reception was not at all pleasant: it was nearly noon and there was no electricity.

They turned the electricity back on at 2 pm, only to cut it off again at twilight.  I came back from the gymnasium, bathed, and ate (luckily, I had cooked earlier). Then I joined the conversation in front of my friend’s house. Since I’m a stoic type, I’ve learned to be calm in the face of adversities and to accept the things that are out of my control. The night was cool, and I was in a good mood. My friend only knew how to complain, so to bug her a little, I told her not to be an ingrate, that thanks to her Communism we could enjoy this lovely starry night. She replied with some nonsense, and we all burst out laughing.

I lay down without waiting for the lights to come back on, and I never knew what time they did. Dawn received me with another blackout, and while I was thinking about all these shortages that every day threaten to strangle us, that phrase wouldn’t leave my head. Not like some gigantic stupidity, but like a cruel joke, or perhaps something worse: “We’re going for more.”

Read more from the diary of Pedro Pablo Morejon here on Havana Times