By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – The situation many Cuban emigres find themselves in once they live in the US, depends a great deal on how they left, how ready they were to leave, and their achievements. However, one thing is for sure: none of them forget the island.
Many continue to dream that political relations between the two countries changes so they can visit their land freely. Others wish to carry on sending remittances, medicines, and anything else to help out their families.
I have a friend who has been living in Miami for over a decade. Her daughters emigrated processed by their respective fathers, and then they urged her to join them.
Mara sold her apartment for less than what it was worth, just so she could get all the money she needed for the paperwork.
While it’s true that she got what she wanted, the leftover from the sale of her house was a ridiculous amount to sustain her for a while abroad.
She is a Philosophy graduate but that’s worth nothing, because she doesn’t speak English. She has had many different jobs, such as a caregiver and babysitter, as well as a cleaner for apartments.
This is how she’s got by. We recently spoke and she told me how badly things had gone when living with her daughters. The eldest one kicked her out because they had a fight. She had problems with the youngest too for she is so insensitive. She didn’t even do her mother the favor of dropping her off at work. As well as other details that I won’t write here because they are shameful.
My friend admits that her daughters have changed a lot and don’t love her. She is nothing but a burden to them. They don’t take an interest in her health, and her eldest daughter doesn’t let her see the grandchildren.
She had a partner for a while, a retired 70-year-old man (she is 60). He was a good guy who looked out for her, he didn’t let her spend a penny. He apparently loved her.
Thanks to this financial security, she was able to send remittances back to her mother quite frequently, and save money to visit Cuba.
But it’s not all roses, she explains. He laid things straight from the very first moment they began their relationship: he’d never marry her.
They broke up not too long ago because he began to feel depressed and jealous, and he suspected that she was using him for her own interests.
I asked her if she could be repatriated, work as a professor and live with her mother. She said that she couldn’t even get the money she needed to travel, let alone for all the paperwork.
Right now, she works in a Publix (a super market chain) and spends most of her wages on rent.
She is a person who seems strong, but I could sense her pain and loneliness. “In this country, only status matters and you don’t have real friendships,” she says.
Keeping healthy is her priority now, for she doesn’t know what the future holds for her.
I want to help her, although I don’t know what to say… Things aren’t easy here either… Coming back would mean a thousand problems like dealing with medicines shortages, spikes in food prices and utility rates.