The Invisibility Virus

By Ammi

HAVANA TIMES – In the past, I have wanted to leave Cuba because of hunger, poverty, a desire for freedom, but now I want to leave because of a disease that has taken over the island, it goes by the name: Indifference.

I have stopped feeling this sense of attachment, this enthusiasm that defined Cubans for being empathetic and making any cause their own, from a bit of salt for the neighbor in need, to the burning desire to accompany them to the hospital and track down a medicine they need.

I can’t say that this is a widespread ill of society, I have always heard my grandparents say that famous phrase of “there are still good people around”, it isn’t that this emotional numbness is stopping me from living my life and adapting to the space I live in. I’ve just got used to living in a country of simple people without any barriers or body fortresses, people who would hug you as soon as they met you.

This emotional coldness has come to stay in Cuba. It has come with a shield that protects the “I”, isolating it and hiding it in the darkest and most uninhabitable place of human existence.

In terms of social living, indifference is normally rejected. I believe it goes against the values of respect, solidarity and empathy needed to live in a society.

I need movement, I need to respond and for anyone who hears an emergency call to respond, a combination of emotions, an interaction that goes against taking a neutral position which brings us to a standstill, paralyzes us, where things don’t tend to change.

I want to leave Cuba because it has fallen into a slumber, it has fallen into a “medically-induced coma”.

My flag, my homeland, my national anthem sung by voices that are used to the same catchphrases without finding the resounding truth, hurt me too much.

I don’t want to see how our steps slowly take us away to nowhere, I don’t want to listen to what people say without understanding what they are thinking. I don’t want to hear words with deaf ears, while a woman is killed, while I see a child go hungry or a helpless animal. I don’t want to keep running into lifeless bodies, with scents and sounds but without an owner, like a full cemetery, but empty…

This ill is an undeniable global reality, but it has hit the Cuban people hard in recent times, and I’m afraid it has now become our culture.

I want to stop for a moment, in another place, realize what is happening around and inside me, not to become infected by this dying state of non-reaction. I can’t stand this lack of feeling being our feeling, while every step silently leads us towards an indifferent society.


I’m a mother of four children who through perseverance, studies and improvement managed to improve her environment and I have learned that every effort is rewarded and knowledge is shared. For me there is nothing more important than freedom and especially that which is capable of breaking personal limits. I am considered a cheerful, enthusiastic, curious person, willing to learn from each new experience.

15 thoughts on “The Invisibility Virus

  • August 7, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Manuel, like so many armchair Bolsheviks, makes the unjustified assumption that but for the US embargo, Cuba would be an socialist economic success. Really? Like China? Like Vietnam? These countries are far from being ‘socialist’ countries. Authoritarian State Capitalism at best. The truth is given the size and underdeveloped infrastructure in Cuba, economic success even under the mist lenient capitalist system is at least a generation away.

  • August 6, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    I have enough Mr MacD. Thanks.
    And I have every sympathy with Ammi’s ‘plight’ as you refer to it – as I clearly stated in my comment.
    I read Ammi’s articles with great interest. They are very well written and do all seem to have a similar take. She seems to have replaced Good Old Elio who’s articles had pretty much the polar opposite take.
    I personally think it is great that Ammi is a mother of four. The birth rate is worryingly low in Cuba. I wish Ammi and her children all the best.
    The Cuban State makes certain provisions for children: healthcare, education, subsidised foodstuff to an extent.
    Capitalist countries at the bottom of the ladder would provide far less state provision. Capitalist countries at the top of the ladder may well have much greater provision in the form of support, welfare, benefits etc.
    My point is this:
    If someone in places such as the UK or the USA has four children and struggle in any way and are in receipt of state support then they are subject to tirades of abuse from right wingers, Conservatives, right wing propaganda/media, press, commentators, radio shock jocks etc etc etc…. This type of ugly criticism is also rife on social media. Unfortunately It’s widespread.
    The ultimate insult is to say that the object of their abuse is wasting tax payers money and ‘shouldn’t have had four kids’.
    This is common in the U.K., the USA and I reckon that this even occurs in the wonderful and virtuous expanse of Canada.
    But if someone wants to suggest that this type of criticism is not widespread or does not occur, then they simply ain’t being honest about the facts.

  • August 6, 2020 at 11:41 am

    So, here we have a good ‘ol anti-capitalist boy (don’t call me socialist – ) actually agreeing with the good ‘ol capitalist boys.

    But, to excuse or ameliorate any guilt by association, Nick suggests that capitalist countries are guilty of greater levels of cruelty. It is the same old, same old, weary, worn out excuse for the excesses of the Castro communist system – things are even worse elsewhere!


    Dishonesty Nick is when you not very subtly, suggest that “the good ‘ol pro capitalist boys” would hold Ammi responsible for her plight, by having four children. That is an endeavor by you to endeavor to excuse the Castro regime for a plight suffered by millions of Cubans, irrespective of family numbers. I speak as the father of four children! How many do you have Nick? Are you actually able to absorb the reality of Ammi’s plight?

  • August 5, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Ammi’s got the sympathy of all them good ‘ol pro capitalist boys.
    Sympathy that I would most definitely also share. Without a doubt.
    But despite my every sympathy I would say this…….
    In the perhaps crueler reality of Capitalist countries what would some of those good ‘ol boys say ??
    They would say this:
    If you ain’t got the dough ray me then don’t have the four kids.
    That’s how it works in the Capitalist alternative.
    And if some of those good ‘ol pro capitalist boys dispute the sad but true facts of what I’m saying then they’re being dishonest with themselves.

  • August 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Manuel, you know perfectly well that Cuba is not a “socialist nation”. Cuba cannot prosper because it is a dictatorship pursuing the Stalinist form of Marx/Engels/Lenin. The “nation” has never voted in favour of communism.

    Sycophants prefer to forget that a declared purpose of communism was (and still is) world domination.

    Ammi does much more than your dismissive view that “She writes a nice blog”. She is a resident Cuban with children, not only has the courage to expose the consequences of the oppressive regime which has been imposed upon her, risking like other Cuban writers the possibility of imprisonment, but permits we observers to understand and perhaps to a degree, share her pain.

  • August 4, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Ammi: I believe I understand the emotion you express. I see it in some of the members of my family in Cuba.

    I will not assign blame. Nor, can I offer any realistic solutions. I can only tell you that I understand your pain.

  • August 4, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    She writes a nice blog. But with an embargo in place, sanctions, and financial strangulation at a global level what can you expect ? The powers that be can’t allow a socialist nation to prosper in Latin America. It’s just that simple.

  • August 4, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Castro communism in Cuba has crushed all expression of individuality! It’s very purpose is to instill a mindless conformity. Cubans are unable to influence the political direction of their country and consequently their way of life. Theirs is not to question why, theirs is but to do…….and mentally die!

    Oh, there may be brief moments when the lovely Cuban music plays and perhaps with the aid of cheap rum, brief periods of relieve or even oblivion occur, but then inevitably, the harsh reality returns

    Ammi is describing with obvious pain and distress, that the consequence of a lifetime of constant indoctrination, repression and trying to exist under the power and control of dictatorship based upon concepts initiated in 1867, is indifference within the society to which she belongs and to which she would like to be able to contribute.

    Why hope. when nothing can change?

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