Cuba Is an Island in Mourning

By Fabiana del Valle

HAVANA TIMES – It’s 7:30 AM and I was walking down the streets in my town to get to the bank. I guessed the electricity would be back on soon after a long night with a blackout, or maybe the bank would have fuel for their generator to switch on the building and tend to the population’s needs.

After so many fruitless trips, I was ready to wait as long as it would take. Despite my optimism, the silent streets were a bad omen. I sat on a wall in front of the bank, and I could see the sun turning the buildings orange from there.

Other people arrived, asked who was last in line, and said:

“I already asked the guard and he told me that they don’t have fuel for the building’s generator. They asked the government, but they were told there wasn’t any.”

“What do you mean they don’t have any? If there isn’t any, how come they’re still driving everywhere?”

“Let’s see if the electricity comes back on, I couldn’t sleep last night. This is the fourth time I’ve come, and I haven’t been able to get what I needed done.”

It’s 8 AM and we all gather outside the door. The manager comes out sorry and explains the situation to us. There wasn’t any electricity and fuel for the back up generator ran out yesterday. We already knew that. But it did surprise us that the bank had also been offline for three days. The problem had been reported to the provincial office and they still hadn’t had a response.

I started walking home. We walked down the streets like demotivated zombies with their brains fried from thinking too much. What do I feed my children? When will the drugstore get the medicine I need? What do I do tonight when the electricity cuts out and my baby begins to cry?

We were born in a country in mourning. We walk over the scars of its silent avenues, every day at dawn. The daily routine that follows dark nights full of mosquitoes and sweat. Work days where bags under the eyes and sleep deprivation limit our efficiency, while hunger tugs at our insides and our pockets shrink.

This is my island, where there were believers willing to put their lives on the line in trenches for inconceivable causes. God bless those who managed to open their eyes! Others continue to give thanks [to those in power] while hardship engulfs everything around them.

Children experience bleak summers, without candy, toys, hope. They are taught doctrines at school, but this generation doesn’t believe, they have too many tears being held back, too many “I can’ts” from cash-strapped parents.

Young people leave in search of opportunities. Places where the future smells like hope. They carry the burden of fear in their backpacks and the pain of a farewell. Parents are separated from their children, wives from their husbands, friends.

Mothers cry in front of empty cooking pots. Fathers look into their helpless pockets. Grandparents reminisce about better times.

We are a people with withered eyes. There isn’t space for smiles in this landscape with leaks and putrid water, mosquitoes, heat, hunger. Leaders are beefing up their hollow slogans and we, the people who never believed, are still stranded in their lie.

I live in a country that is sinking with no rescue on the horizon. How can I escape?

Read more from the diary of Fabiana del Valle here.

Fabiana del Valle

I was a girl who dreamed of colors and letters capable of achieving the most widely read novels or those poems that conquer rebellious hearts. Today around forty, with my firm feet on this island, I let the brush and the words echo my voice. The one that I carry tight, prisoner of circumstances and my fears.

5 thoughts on “Cuba Is an Island in Mourning

  • The antimperialist:
    Hey, it wasn’t me who said that the idea behind the blockade is to punish the Cuban people for their support of Fidel Castro, and to make life so difficult on the island that the solution is to turn against the Cuban government. I quote in my previous comment, the State Department official saying it outright.

    You can say what you want about support for Russia or whatever comes to mind for you or the White House, they are nothing more than pure pretexts to maintain a policy expressly designed to cause penalties to the Cuban people for their support of the Revolution.
    And yes, the hardships caused by that blockade have social and economic consequences, and yes, many people blame the Cuban government, exactly as the State Department official I quoted wanted.

  • I get it Rob. Cubans should put up and shut up because the US is their powerful enemy. Maybe in a generation or two they might deserve some rights that exist in many countries like freedom of speech and association. For now, if the Cuban government could send a few thousand troops to Russia to help fight the nazis in Ukraine, as a close Putin associate suggests, maybe they could get more canned meat and milk powder from Russia. I think its a great idea that die-hard Cuban communists get their chance to fight for extreme capitalist Russia. The problem is the Cuban government would probably send poor young recruits to die instead.

  • Finally, the April 6, 1960 Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mallory) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) is being fulfilled. There are the objectives of the blockade or embargo, whatever you want to call it.
    The Cuban people suffer because of the US measures but blame the Cuban government. The White House is happy, because people like the journalist play their game.
    That memo said:

    The Decline and Fall of Castro
    Salient considerations respecting the life of the present Government of Cuba are:

    1.The majority of Cubans support Castro (the lowest estimate I have seen is 50 percent).
    2.There is no effective political opposition.
    3.Fidel Castro and other members of the Cuban Government espouse or condone communist influence.
    4.Communist influence is pervading the Government and the body politic at an amazingly fast rate.
    5.Militant opposition to Castro from without Cuba would only serve his and the communist cause.
    6.The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.
    If the above are accepted or cannot be successfully countered, it follows that every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba. If such a policy is adopted, it should be the result of a positive decision which would call forth a line of action which, while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.

    Visit and see the truth:

  • just what america wants…. drag cuba down …who is responsible… does the usa have medical for all its people? homes for all its people? look at capitalism and america killing the world… you never seem to talk about the pressure that america loves to put on Cuba… well I guess you all want cuba to become like america… the country of constant war and killing… is it 30 or 40 years now??? the country that would not give its vaccine to the world… only wants the money… not to help people… that is capitalism right???? what a horrible, soul less country

  • It’s so sad to read depressing description of life in Cuba, such wonderful island full of amazing people. I grew up in communist country poorly managed and your stories bring memories. I visited Cuba 10 times and I found of it. It looks like your country is left to suffer on it’s own. We need to read those news as they are key in putting pressure. Hope cannot die. Thank you Fabiana!

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