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.

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.

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