What’s Happening during Lockdown in Cuba?

By Ammi

Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – The recommended lockdown all over the world to prevent the spread of COVID-19, has also reached Cuba. In spite of constant warnings and the continuous message to stay at home, Cubans have to deal with things that go against these guidelines.

Having to survive amidst an economic crisis that only gets worse, which increases depression, pessimism or a lack of hope, have led to significant changes in mood and the definitive decision of some people that they won’t adhere to the lockdown.

As a member of a women’s support organization and closely connected to situations of gender-based violence, I am concerned about the dimensions this crisis might reach within Cuban women’s social lives.

COVID-19 is not only a public health problem, it is the salt in the wound of our economic hardship, the loose string of the working woman, housewife, single mother, wife; it is inequality, exploitation, loneliness. It is also the burden of domestic work and taking care of children full-time. It is the parenthesis between already normal shortages to imminent shortages, that are baring their sharp teeth, which no one will be immune to. Is an era of profound change upon us?

I can see the need to organize initiatives that truly protect Cuban women’s health and wellbeing, to date missing from the channels here where they can complain about their many problems.

We fight every day with the daily slogan of: what can we put on the table? Every day, we have less and less options, and the ones that do exist are scandalously expensive. There are practically no cleaning products, and you need to stand in long lines to get the bare essentials.

The majority of the people suffering from anxiety, stress and emotional imbalances nowadays, are women.

COVID-19 has come to reaffirm the fact that we are alone, without work, without any money, without life insurance, without a bank account, without food in the cupboard, without humanitarian aid or any concern from the Cuban government. We are at Time’s mercy. We are literally a dot in space, a tiny dot that nobody cares about.

It has already confined us to the four walls of our homes, to find a way to get by, survive, put up with everything, to listen, to keep quiet, day in and day out.