What Cuban Women Have to Put Up With

The shortages include even simple floor cloths to mop the house

By Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES – In a patriarchal, sexist society, perhaps it seems natural that a women suffers twice as much as men, and her world becomes entangled because she does not have the support she deserves. Her condition as a woman does not make her weak in the face of her difficulties, but it also violates her.

It shows daily in basic things, like not having a simple floor cloth to mop the house. This is serious, I myself am having problems, because they do not sell this product with the monthly rations of (chicken, turkey mincemeat, sausages, and hopefully, detergent and soaps).

I have no choice but to use an old T-shirt to clean the floor. The domestic task takes longer and I end up exhausted.

I wonder: how are women and adolescents doing with their periods if sanitary pads are only offered in the USD stores. They are very expensive on the illicit market. I imagine they have to resort to boiling rags and using them to contain the flow.

There are aspects that I do not want to fail to mention, one of them is the way in which the number of femicides has grown lately in Cuba. Women are murdered at the hands of their partners and the culprits flee, while others are sentenced to ridiculous sentences, even though the horrendous crime should bring a life sentence. Personally, I would shoot them.

Warnings go unheeded, potential victims have no shelter available to leave home, and their lives are in permanent danger. Until the worst happens. Then the children are orphaned, with consequences of psychological damage. A mark that will accompany them and remind them that one day they had a mother.

There is discrimination between roles, as something tacit, for example, most women have to be caregivers, when an elderly family member falls ill. An exhausting job, which deteriorates physically and mentally. Sometimes sick people outlive caregivers.

It is sad to know the stories of sisters, daughters, and wives, when they have to visit someone from their family who remains in prison. Not only because of the distance (in a prison in another province), but because they must pay high prices for transportation to get around. Likewise, the food they bring since prices continue to rise.

The situation of wives and mothers with minor children, with their husbands in jail, they become the sole breadwinner of the home.

Read more from the diary of Irina Pino here.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.