A New Year with the Same Old

By Nike

HAVANA TIMES – After a whole year of so much hardship, and a New Year’s without the traditional roast pork, beer that Cubans like so much, and Spanish turrones, lots of people had to settle for eating chicken. We’ve never really liked this meat. We prefer beef and pork.

Some families were able to have a proper dinner on December 31st thanks to family living abroad who send food packages, including myself thanks to my brother. The reality is that nothing is looking good here in Cuba, and the horizon doesn’t look so bright either, on the contrary.

Everyone I run into says the same phrase every New Year for as long as I can remember: “This year is going to be worse.” Are they masochists or do they have a witch whispering in their ear? I feel this phrase is quite perverse as if they really enjoy the bad rut the country has been stuck in for so many years…

The first few days of January, you couldn’t find any root vegetables, fruit or vegetables, and you’re only beginning to see beetroot and carrots now, for 100 pesos for a bunch of six (a day’s worth of work for many) and root vegetables like cassava for 25 pesos per pound, malanga for 70 pesos and sweet potato which has gone up in price and now costs 50 pesos per pound. Guava and pineapple are the only fruits you can find.

The Cuban people long to live a peaceful life, but instead they are pretty resigned to a miserable life.

Now 2023 is here and we are all very uncertain of what is going to happen, after seeing in a New Year without a lot to celebrate with family scattered all over the world.  Some people in my country continue with high hopes of managing to achieve something this year we couldn’t last year.

We leave a year behind with unfulfilled dreams but go into the new one with hope.

Read more from Nike’s diary


I was born in Havana, Cuba. All my life I have had the sea as a landscape. I like being close to it, feeling its breeze, its smell, as well as swimming and enjoying the wonders it gives us. Thanks to the manual skill that I inherited from my parents, I have been able to live off crafts. I work primarily papier-mâché, making puppets for children. I write for Havana Times for the possibility of sharing with the world the life of my country and my people.

One thought on “A New Year with the Same Old

  • February 2, 2023 at 10:19 am

    I appreciate all of the different views from Cubans: those who have left or want to and those who stay and still have hope. Your stories help me, as an outsider, to have a realistic view of your realities. Visiting and living in Cuba are not the same. So thank you Nike.

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