Deciding to Stay in Cuba

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Different perspectives. Illustration by Yasser Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES – I don’t believe there is a single person in Cuba who hasn’t experienced a relative or friend leave in search of a better future abroad. I believe some of them are never able to forget that feeling: bearing witness to somebody change their life radically while they remain behind, paralyzed, trapped in a country with a suffocating reality and no prospects of improving whatsoever.

A reality that didn’t cease to exist when the “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy was revoked. The United States or any other capitalist country continue to be the life mission of many Cubans. Both young people and adults smother their own thoughts and those of the people closest to them with the desire to emigrate.

It doesn’t matter whether there aren’t any real opportunities to leave, the enquiring question: “And, what are you going to do here?” sheds light on the Cuban people’s hardships, the lack of options they have to prosper and even make plans.

Outside of Cuba, even the worst jobs are better paid than the best professions here; there is free enterprise and you can set up a small business and make slow progress without being afraid of them coming crashing down on you one day and taking everything away from you. If you love technology and the internet, even if it isn’t for work but as a pastime, you would never have time to be bored. Plus, even though you have to work non-stop abroad, at least you have something at the end of the day, while here, you are a slave of the State your entire life and when you die, you have nothing to leave behind for your family.

With these over-nourished thoughts, anyone who gets an opportunity to emigrate takes advantage of it, as if there wasn’t another day for them here in Cuba.

But, what about those who decide not to cut their roots?

The majority can adopt a tolerant attitude when passing judgement if they are old, but if young people or relatively young people decide to do this, they are called stupid because they aren’t thinking about their future and the future of their own family who they could help if they were to move abroad.

However, if everyone were to flee whenever they got the chance, who would change things? It’s impossible to improve a country when you are ninety miles away.

Even though they are criticized by their own fellow countrymen, there are Cubans who feel like they have a commitment to their birth country, they feel like it is part of their duty to change things that are bad. From public servants, to artists and ecologists, they are trying to lay the foundations for a progress that will benefit everyone.

It doesn’t matter if they receive threats that these foundations are going to be knocked down. In fact, even if they are destroyed, they continue on with their mission and start all over again. Maybe out of determination, stubbornness or because deep down in their hearts, they realize that times are changing even though the country continues to appear static.

While less courageous people are afraid to get the ball moving so that change can come, they do vehemently wish to be here to witness it when it happens, to be witnesses of Cuba’s evolution.

One thought on “Deciding to Stay in Cuba

  • You are an excellent writer and I hope you continue to express your views advocate for Cuba from Cuba.

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