By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – People emigrate from the island every day. Long lines at the ID office, Civil Registry, to get registration forms, are nothing new, and we know these people are planning to leave.
Now, departures will intensify with the US new two-year sponsorship measure, of Cubans living in the US. Another way to leave the country and then opt for residency. Nevertheless, some people refuse to do this, even when they have the chance to leave.
This is Tony’s case, a childhood friend, who is an engineer and works as an editor and sound engineer. His daughter lives in Naples and she’s always telling him that she’s going to get the papers she needs to bring him over.
She’s been there over five years and still lives with her mother (Tony’s ex), and her two teenage brothers. She managed to get a job managing a business’ accounts not too long ago, and she makes a good living.
But he refuses to depend on his daughter, he only accepts the medicine she sends, because he needs them, and they are in shortage here.
When he explains to me why he wants to stay, I understand him. He’d have to live as a plus one, as if he were a tenant in a guesthouse.
He tells me he can’t start his life all over from scratch, he’s already turned 53 years old. He doesn’t speak English too well either. So, what’s he going to do? Work in a supermarket?
Here, he owns two properties, which he doesn’t want to lose, and his idea is to fix one of the apartments up to rent it. The problem now is building materials.
Nancy’s case is completely different. Nancy is a friend who went to Tampa after her son called for her. She hasn’t worked for almost a decade, she spent all of her time missing him and with the desire to meet her grandchildren.
When she visited me, she’d vent out all of her frustrations, about food shortages, how bad transport is, having to go onto Revolico to buy medicine she needs for her blood pressure, and so on.
She was alone, and I’d try to snap her out of her depression by inviting her to the movies or the theater, but then the compulsory subject of conversation of being reunited with her loved ones would always come up.
I don’t know what’s going to happen because most young people want to leave. Cuba has become an old folk’s country.
I think the solution needs to come from within, a change that doesn’t exclude our most active forces, nor bring uprooting or families breaking part as a result.