What Happened to Our Solidarity?

By Kamil Kenders

HAVANA TIMES – Although we’ve been going backwards for years, I have to recognize that Cubans have always shown solidarity with each other. Unfortunately, that has changed a lot from past to present times.

The same system that once upon a time taught us that we were all equals, that the needs of others must be put above our own, now forcibly shows us that each one must solve their own problems, without looking to the left or right.

Those who weren’t in agreement with the “slogans” coming out of the Revolution back then, left Cuba (those who could). Those who didn’t, simply had to adapt. Many even came to feel that this is how a system should function.

Time has shown that nothing could be further from reality. Within this regressive process that we’ve been dragging for years, we encounter the lack of human sensitivity and scarce solidarity that today’s Cubans are suffering.

The above is my introduction to something I experienced a few days ago. Under a torrential rainstorm – it’s been raining across almost all of Cuba in the last few days, especially in the afternoons – I set out to get a collective taxi. Well, actually, what I spent an hour, maybe more, trying to do, was to hitch a ride, something we in Cuba call “getting a botella.

A lot of State cars passed by me, empty. The rain poured down, and absolutely no one stopped to give me a ride.

You’ll say – “of course,” no car – governmental or not – has the obligation to pick up anyone on the streets. However, the situation with fuel, and the deterioration in our public bus service have been so severe that the government itself has stationed an inspector at every bus stop. The task of this inspector is to force the State cars to pick people up from the bus stops and give them a ride, as long as the driver’s route coincides with some of those who are at that stop.

Nonetheless, it’s very sad to see how even empty State company buses roll right on by the stops. Many times, said buses and State cars are being used to resolve personal problems, yet they’re incapable of stopping to help those who are stranded on the streets.

It’s not even a matter of being obligated to stop, but of doing so out of humanity, solidarity, those qualities that many Cubans of today lack. 

The solidarity of a human being isn’t due to socialism, although it may have some influence. It comes from one’s upbringing, the things we demonstrate and observe every day in our homes, schools, and even on the streets. Yet, unfortunately, very often, the very ones most able to help, are the ones who help the least.

Read more from the diary of Kamil Kenders here.

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