Maria Matienzo Puerto
HAVANA TIMES – “How much is a ticket to Ecuador?”
“Asere (‘bro’), Ecuador is through. Nobody can make it there.”
“How much is a ticket to China?”
“No, where I want it go is Japan.”
“Noooo! That’s even more expensive. It must be at least $3,000.”
“No way! That’s gotta be too high.”
“Come on, girl, what’s $3,000 to a Japanese.”
“Well, I don’t know what it is to a Japanese, but to a Cuban it’s impossible.
I really don’t know how much a ticket to anywhere in the world might cost. And to be honest, I’m not interested in knowing what the prices are when I can’t even think about saving up anything at all on my measly pay.
“By the way, how much do you earn?”
“Me? Exactly 395 pesos [about $20].”
“In local currency or in hard currency?
“Asere, do you live in Cuba or what? Of course it’s in domestic currency.
“The one who seems like they don’t live in Cuba is you. Either that or you ate something bad or you’re trying to play dumb. Do you think this immigration law means anything?
“Well, at least now I can go wherever I want.
“Really? Is that what you think? Don’t make me laugh. And don’t count on the visa they’ll have to give you. Cubans can’t automatically get into any country we want to either. What do you say?
“This law is just another mirage. Things really haven’t improved and nor are they going to. Where’s the economic growth? Where are the better wages?
“Are all the costs going to be in national currency? This is the same story of holding more than one job, the distribution of land or the ability to sell one’s home.
“What? Are you speechless?
NOTE: This conversation could have happened anywhere in contemporary Cuba after the publication of the new immigration law.