Getting Used to Living in Misery

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Ilustration by Yasser Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES – On a normal day, you plan to go shopping early in the morning so you can get back quickly and make the most of your time, but, the illusion of having a productive day is quickly shattered.

Even though the bakery that corresponds to me to get my bread roll is only a 5 minute walk away, I have to go to another one that is 15 minutes away as the bakery in my area goes to great efforts to make its dough more and more dry and sour.

I remember that a customer once said: “God this bread… one day, it’s going to give us an ulcer.”

It sounds funny but this is a very serious matter. I guess it’s the only way to bear with a problem that has been put forward for years at neighborhood meetings and in the end the response was: “it’s because of the flour, which is poor quality.”

People were outraged, but for nothing, because everybody knows that the real cause of this problem is the low wages that bakers receive, but nobody dares to mention it.

Then, after I managed to get my basic breakfast roll, I went to the fish market to buy some chopped fish which would later become my cat food. Located in the “El Progreso” complex and in spite of it being repaired recently, the fish market highlights the dirtiness of the ground drenched in fishwater and its nauseating smell of rotting food.

As if that wasn’t enough, you run into a line that literally never moves forward, in this place where you can hardly breathe. If you take a sweeping shot of people’s faces there, many of their expressions are gloomy, especially those of old people.

Minutes pass by and people keep calm and in order, but after half an hour you can feel the restlessness. More people come and are taken aback, they examine the line without being able to believe how long it is.

“That’s just how it is.”

A woman responds cynically in the face of a newly-arrived man’s distress, who didn’t take long to give up on getting what he wanted.

Others who came last tried to get in first. Protests, cries and arguments broke out. For a moment, there was chaos but then order was slowly reestablished.

Lastly, when you manage to get into the place, it’s already normal to find a man or a woman with a scale in their hand to verify the weight of the product and this happens at other distribution points too. They always come back complaining that they were sold less than what they paid for.

Apathetic salespeople add what they were missing to make up the weight and continue to scam the next customers.

They also have a reason for doing this which, for the majority of people, seems unappealable:

“Everybody steals here.”

7 thoughts on “Getting Used to Living in Misery

  • 1) Money laundering by European banks into Cuba (and other prohibited countries) in order to circumvent the embargo are not treated kindly by the US.
    2) Cargo vessels are FREELY permitted to port in Cuba as long as that particular route does not include a US port. There is no “blockade.”
    3) Only US companies and its subsidiaries are affected by The Embargo.

    How much US cash do Cubans receive from Cuban Americans relatives?
    Why are there so many reports that the Cuban economy is targeted to exceed its goals?
    Is the US the only country in the world that can provide needed products and raw materials?
    Didn’t Fidel tell President Obama and the world that Cuba does not need the US?
    I see a lot of speaking out of both sides of the mouth.

  • This was part of the said sacrifice of the Cuban Revolution, against the Giant Monster the Corporations, the U.S. Corporate America, the U.C.C. Uniform Commercial Code, and people being turned into STRAWMAN, for greedy taking from the needy, imperialism, exploitations.

  • So why are European banks fined by the US? Why do German Medical companies have to stop business with Cuba? Why can´t cargoboats from Asia, Latinamerica or Europé continue to a port in the US? There are thousands of examples of the blockade, that it affects all countires doing business with Cuba. All problems in Cuba are not because of the blockade, but it is the single biggest cause for the problems.

  • Wow! You are very brave Kabir. Young people like you revive my hopes for a better Cuba!

  • It is not a blockade, its an embargo involving only the US, but I am sure “bloqueo” furthers The Regime’s propaganda much better.
    Cubans are not starving because of the embargo, but because of The Regime’s incompetence.

  • Thanks for updating us on life in Cuba, Kabir.

  • Que triste. Es la realidad no mentira. We all dream of different and had hope for a while. End the damn blockade and let Cuba breathe , people are starving hungry. The world needs more allies and less enemies.

Comments are closed.