Where I’ve Been of Late…

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — It’s been a while now since I’ve written something for Havana Times; and I wouldn’t write anything if its editor, a personal friend of mine, hadn’t kept on asking me to. The first thing that comes to mind to tell you is, well, precisely why I stopped writing.

The first reason is financial.

After four months as a refugee in the US, the financial aid I received from the government has dropped from over 400 USD to just 180. If I put this into a Cuban context, it would be like earning 180 CUP (regular pesos) per month, a tiny amount which isn’t enough to get by for starters. I pay more than 400 USD per month for my part of a studio apartment which I share with a friend, not taking into account my phone bill (which is vital here) or food. And now that we’re talking about food, I won’t get any more food stamps as of June, which wouldn’t be a big problem if I had a work permit in my hands.

For all of the above, and to avoid having to rely too much on my friends, I have had to dedicate a lot of time and effort into struggling “on the side” (a term used in Cuba for informal labor) for a few dollars, the essential to keep a roof over my head and without anemia. I dedicate so much time to this struggle that the hours I sleep have been cut down drastically and I can no longer sit down and prepare my articles like I used to and could do while I lived in Cuba.

The other influential reason is spiritual. Moving to this world has led me to question my Whys and my motivations. Now, I’m not sure why I continue to write for Havana Times. Am I contributing something or just wasting my time miserably as well as that of HT readers? If I am to be guided by the comments that I regularly receive, it’s better to hang up my gloves. I have lost the idea of who I am writing for and that is a serious matter. I’m also tired of the never-ending and unavoidable predicament between the guardians of the regime and the worms; I really have.

I am living interesting experiences on a daily basis but I don’t find the time or enthusiasm to sit down and transform them into coherent paragraphs for public consumption. But if my friend, HT’s editor – who I indirectly owe reaching this “country of opportunities” to – continues to ask for my presence on this website, I have no other choice but to keep him happy, so buckle your seatbelts…

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

Erasmo Calzadilla has 408 posts and counting. See all posts by Erasmo Calzadilla

16 thoughts on “Where I’ve Been of Late…

  • What would be a lot of money in Cuba becomes very small if you must make your purchases in the US.
    It is difficult to compare. Back in the late 80’s or in the 90’s two acquaintances of mine visited Russia on some kind of union/political exchange. In the course of their discussions they told some of the Russians that a monthly bus pass in Vancouver was about forty or fifty dollars. (Today the full price pass for the Greater Vancouver area is $170.00) The Russians refused to believe them and my friends had to search their wallets and purses to see if they had a bus pass with them.

  • I will add that it is messed up that they’re cutting his benefits before they give him a work permit. The man should be given the opportunity to work and put food on the table!

  • Quick fact check: 1 US Dollar = 1 CUC = 26.5 CUPS. So the US government is giving you the equivalent of 4,770 CUPS per month for free. Plus money for food until next month.

    Of course the cost of living in the United States is much higher. So you can’t pay your bills with that amount of money. But still you’re being given the equivalent of 7 months of salaried work in Cuba; every 30 days, plus money for food in exchange for simply living the United States. Doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to me.

  • Yep. You 100% prove my point.

  • Or perhaps with Trump we have a President that will change the status quo in Washington and not let the politicians run amok. Only time will tell.

    I’m just happy Hillary lost, & didn’t get another chance to abandon more U.S. personnel in the combat zone, as her husband did in Somalia.

    & you are calling Reagan ridiculous?????!!!!!!!!!!!! He was the greatest president in the last 50 years,,,, I guess than just shows you level of ignorance.

  • “I dedicate so much time to this struggle that the hours I sleep have been cut down drastically and I can no longer sit down and prepare my articles like I used to and could do while I lived in Cuba.”
    “I’m also tired of the never-ending and unavoidable predicament between the guardians of the regime and the worms; I really have.”

    What does that sound like to you?????? Sure doesn’t sound like gratitude. Process that.

  • The USA seems to have ever more ridiculous presidents.
    Reagan, GWB etc…
    Perhaps with trump the USA has now reached an era of ‘peak ridiculous president’.
    Perhaps it is individuals like Ronin who vote these ridiculous presidents into office.
    You will have to put up with Ronin’s ridiculous presidents.
    But please ignore his ridiculous comments.
    The USA is flawed but wonderful (as is Cuba).
    Good Luck there.
    And carry on contributing to HT.
    In my opinion your updates would always be relevant.
    Always interesting articles. Thanks.

  • Erasmo mentioned that things would be fine for him once he gets a work permit.
    Now anyone with the capacity to take in and process very basic information would see that this is not the comment of someone ‘whining about actually having to actually having to work for a living’.

  • More than 25 years ago my sister moved to Greece to teach English. She could not speak Greek and could not even read the Cyrillic script. And this was before Skype and other cheap means of communication.
    Only then could I begin to appreciate the immigrant experience.
    My best wishes to you.

  • Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting my post.

  • I came to the US 37 years ago and went through tough times like most immigrants. This great country provides opportunity if you work hard and smart and has been more amazing for my children. I am a proud American that was born in Grenada.
    Keep looking forward and it will get better. The grass is greener in the USA!!!!!

  • Are you whining about having to actually work for a living? Do you expect to live for the rest of you life on government aid?

    Wait, weren’t you s__t talking about your HOST COUNTRY in your Feb 4th, 2017 post “Am I a Political Refugee?”

    As I recall you didn’t sound very grateful for the help you were getting back then and you were boasting about all the “free” food and accommodations compliments of U.S. Government.

    I guess it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start paying your dues.

  • The grass is always greener on the other side. Looks like the USA isn’t all you expected it to be. Maybe it’s time to go home.

  • I agree wholly with Leslie and Jenny’s comments. All the best to you!

  • I agree with Leslie! More greetings from Canada and hope for your success. – Jenny

  • We are always interested to read what you write-independent, intelligent analyses, no tolerance of hypocrisy. Your current life sounds exhausting. Hope you get a work permit soon. Greetings from Canada.

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