Dariela Aquique 

Revival in Santiago de Cuba

These days a certain enthusiasm can be noted among the residents of Santiago de Cuba because of the urban revival the city’s experiencing.  Several new restaurants have opened in different parts of our town with designs and styles denoting modernity and good taste.

What we’re seeing are restored parks, street fairs, bars, restaurants, pastry shops, markets and tent-covered complexes that are no more than small, pleasantly decorated spaces where one can find pizzerias, snack bars and cafes.  Like this, Santiagoans now have varied alternatives for spending the sweltering summer.

Work has finally begun on renovating neighborhood cinemas, as well as cultural and recreational centers that invite locals to leave the confines of their houses.  Though still insufficient, keeping in mind that this is the most densely populated municipality on the island, one cannot deny the rebirth now being experienced.

The work of the diligent first secretary of the Communist Party — the person who has responsibility over all the locality, along with the provincial government — has been worthy of the public’s recognition.

Admittedly, work still has to be done to ensure that services achieve excellence, because there’s not enough attention by dynamic young people rendering affable services; likewise, guests and customers also deserve the best quality products that they request and pay for.  Nonetheless, the main point is that one can now speak of a city that appears beautified and pleasant.

Street fairs during this summer in Santiago de Cuba.

Still, there’s something that concerns me.  I don’t know if I can attribute it to the years of decline that we experienced a while back, but there seems to have been created in the most indolent people the bad habit of forgetting the most elementary norms of behavior and care for places of common enjoyment.  Atrocious demonstrations of social disregard now leave their lamentable marks in how some of us act.   `

There are very young people who mark up and splatter recently painted, constructed or rejuvenated walls.  They smoke in enclosed settings and places full of people though this is forbidden.  They debase community life with their vulgar behavior in public settings.

It would be unforgivable if in such a short span of time — after so much effort and expense by the country — all of this turned out to have been in vain and our surroundings relapsed into the blighted and defaced quarter we had grown accustomed to.

In what aspect of education have we failed?  How is it that while we’re enjoying urban revival we have to witness such anti-social acts?

We’re left with nothing else than to say “what a shame, nothing’s perfect.”

 

 

 


Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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