HAVANA TIMES – Recently I wrote a diary post about survival, in the eyes of a friend who experienced the rough years of the 1990s crisis in Cuba, a crisis that still continues to exist.
Today, I want to tell you what this survival experiment, at all costs, has left us.
This struggle of trying has transformed a noble, hardworking people who love their family, neighborhood and people, into a people of outcasts, who settle down in the most remote places in the world. It has transformed them into a group of thieves (because that’s what we are when we try to “resolve” the basic essentials behind our manager’s back at work).
It has transformed bravery and values into a hyprocritical silence in the face of injustice, for fear of losing what little we have left, which is almost nothing. It has taught us to only think about what we’re going to eat tomorrow and to hold onto our food until our guests leave, not out of selfishness, but rather out of the conviction that what we have in the kitchen won’t be enough for everyone.
Blissful survival in Cuba has destroyed the sacred family code. Siblings fight over the house of their deceased parents, so they can sell it and generate some capital to start up a business. A piece of bread can kick off an epic Trojan fight between cousins, aunts and uncles or anyone who is left without breakfast, because somebody else ate first.
Cubans’ natural joy has been stolen from them, and it has made them look at those abroad with hate, because they managed to “leave”, while those left on the island are being corrupted by so much garbage.
After writing all of this and knowing that I could spend my entire life writing about what it means to survive in Cuba, I realize that I still don’t know what I’m surviving for. Surviving who? Surviving to do the same thing all over again tomorrow?
I don’t want to just survive anymore. I have already fought many battles and I don’t like to cope. I want to live a dignified life, without finding myself on a tightrope every time I open my eyes in the morning.