Nonardo Perea

Warhol-PHAVANA TIMES — I know several people who have never had a break in life. When I say “break”, I mean a good life. What’s a good life? For many, having a good life consists in the possibility of obtaining and having anything one wishes, material things, that is.

I have come up with a short list of things that would supposedly make mortals – those living in Cuba and elsewhere, where we can allegedly make our dreams come true – happy.

  • A house with several rooms, a pretty view and – of course – a swimming pool.
  • A car
  • A TV (ideally the latest model) in every room of the house.
  • An amazing kitchen
  • A DVD player
  • The latest cell phone
  • A lot of clothes (if they’re brand-clothes, so much the better – we would spend a little more, but it would make us happier).
  • An excellent job
  • A fantastic salary
  • Good furniture, and the possibility of changing it regularly.
  • Computers, for playing games
  • A stereo
  • Air conditioning
  • Refrigerators

The list could go on, but I don’t want to overwhelm readers.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t know how to write or speak well in Spanish or English, let alone that we are oblivious to the fact thousands of people – including children, women and elders – are being killed right now in stupid wars provoked by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (amen). It doesn’t matter if we don’t know who wrote the The Little Prince, and so on and so forth. What the better part of society cares about today is the ability to buy, to buy again and to always have a little bit more.

Having a little bit more – and more – gives us a sense of security. We consume, we recycle, we consume again, we recycle again. Time passes and we never stop to ask ourselves what will happen after we have everything we supposedly need, all those things that are as essential to us as oxygen (though many never actually get to have what they dreamed of, neither in Cuba nor elsewhere, where many say there are more possibilities).

Nothing, nothing happens, because, in the end, everything becomes monotonous, like the impulse to look at one’s mobile phone all the time, to see whether someone has called you at your new, cutting-edge phone. Big deal! And we’re on the lookout for the latest model, and it doesn’t matter how expensive it is, we want to have it at all costs, because it’s the latest thing out there, and that’s how we spend our whole lives, becoming more and more insensitive. We are so caught up in the race to have more and more that we unwittingly turn our backs on those who have nothing.

Those who don’t have much are freer. They only think about having what they need to get by, not in having more and more – things that, in the end, as in a fairy tale, will all turn to dust.


Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

20 thoughts on “Having a Little More, in Cuba and Abroad

  • Hahaha! Personally, I have dealt with this sort of thing all my life. Once Obama has turned the ‘ship of state’ around economically, the vanguard of the past want to change the rules. This new measure of the unemployment rate may indeed be valid, but against the measure used to judge all of Obama’s predecessors the current unemployment rate is 5.90%. Obama, against the wishes of a majority of his own party, pushed a stimulus package in 2009 that in hindsight proved to a vital tool needed to bring the US economy and by definition, the world’s economy from the brink of collapse. He allowed banks “too big to fail” to continue to feed at the public trough when his political minders told him to do otherwise. Today, there are 30 million Americans who have health coverage who did not have it only one year ago. During his administration, the US has not invaded a single country, especially none other false pretenses. Fewer Americans in uniform have died in combat under his administration than under his predecessor. Student loan rates, Griffin, have dropped by half. Crime rates continues to fall, especially violent crime. Gas prices are the lowest they have been in years. C’mon, give this President the credit he deserves where he deserves it. By the way, those “investment experts” you cite who have owned 401K funds since 2008 have seen these funds increase in value by an average of 80% during the Obama administration. That’s real money and there is no lack of substance in those accounts.

  • I appreciate your pride of “firsts” among African Americans (although sadly, Tiger Woods turned out to be a bit of a jerk in his private life). There are several more “firsts” you could add to that list, including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. One of my favourite first is Michaëlle Jean. Born in Haiti, she emigrated to Canada as a child where she eventually became our Governor General (although a largely ceremonial position, the GG is technically our head-of-state). I had the pleasure of meeting her once, and can say she is a gracious and intelligent woman, not to mention strikingly beautiful. Here’s a photo of her greeting a visitor to Ottawa: http://www.bmorenews.com/bm~pix/michaelle-jean-and-barack-obama~s600x600.jpg

    And one last first: Dr. Ben Carson. He has several firsts in his career in medicine, will he be first for the Republican Party?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-10-15/carsons-longshot-presidential-bid-suddenly-looks-a-lot-more-realistic

  • I presented my arguments which you dismiss as partisan sniping. So here is a list of links you can read from people who actually worked for President Obama and know very well what happened, why it happened and what the problems will be.

    Obama ignores Leon Panetta’s warning – Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marc-thiessen-obama-ignores-leon-panettas-warning/2014/1006/c32e2bd0-4d5c-11e4-babe-e91da079cb8a_story.html

    Criticism Over Troop Withdrawal Emerges From Beyond GOP http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/world/asia/criticism-over-troop-withdrawal-emerges-from-beyond-gop.html?_r=0

    I could go on, as there are many similar articles out there. Neither the Washington Post nor the NYT are known as rabidly partisan, anti-Obama, Tea Party news sources.

    This is the problem with Obama’s approach, which he has repeated time and again. In Iraq, Obama pulled all US troops out of Iraq far too quickly. The result was a power vacuum. Maliki, who was supported by the US government despite warnings that he would become too sectarian, arrested his opponents and pursued a sectarian pro-Shia regime in Baghdad. This proved fertile ground for a resurgence of extremist Sunni militias which eventually coalesced around ISIS.

    In Libya, Obama insisted “no boots on the ground” in support of the NATO air power which destroyed Gadaffi’s armour. Unfortunately, the lack of US troops left Libya’s vast stock of RPGs, MANPADs, AK47s and other light weapons free to the taker, and the treasure trove of terrorist arsenal is now in the hands of radial Islamist terrorists. The fragile civil government in Libya has little power beyond Tripoli and radical Islamists now control most of the country.

    In Syria, Obama refused to help the pro-democracy activists. As protests against the Assad regime mounted, he insisted on calling the Syrian dictator a “reformer”. By the time the civil war broke out in full flame, the anti-Syrian forces no longer trusted the US to help them and they turned instead to increasingly more radical Islamist factions. You can’t turn a brutal dictator into a reformer simply by calling him one.

    A couple weeks ago, Obama announced his strategy for dealing with ISIS, in which he pointed to the fight against rebels in Yemen as an example of this successful strategy. A few days later, the pro-Iranian rebels overran the Yemeni capital. Oops.

    Do you see the pattern here? Obama espouses an idealized world in which everybody is supposed to work toward peaceful resolution of conflicts, because that’s the nice thing to do. He ignores the fact there are some seriously deadly people out there who have no interest in reconciliation. They want to win and are willing to do anything to do so. Making concessions toward extremists does not gain their trust and soften their position: it earns their contempt and strengthens their resolve to continue as they have. Naive idealism might be sound appealing in the faculty lounge or around cocktail parties in California, but in the real world such ideas are mocked.

    And how’s that “Reset” with Russia going? As the Russian Foreign Secretary said to his boss after meeting Obama for the first time, “We can steal his pants!” Contrary to Warhol’s assertion that Obama “provoked” the war in Ukraine, he invited it by projecting weakness. Throughout history, Russian foreign policy has always been cautious in the face of strength, expansive in the face of weakness. Putin is true to form.

    Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Russia. Repeating the same policy over and over again while hoping for different results is not just a failure to learn from mistakes, it’s borderline delusional.

    As Obama’s own top generals have outlined in the links I provided above, the same thing will happen in Afghanistan. The politicians and the people know the US will not be around to protect them. They also know the Taliban will be around waiting. So the Afghani people will decide to save their lives and place their allegiances accordingly. The Taliban will return to power.

    The situation in the Middle East is worse than it has been in decades. Although Obama is not the cause of these problems which run back years, decades and even centuries, the US does have a constructive role to play in promoting stability and security in the region. I believe Obama has seriously failed to do so through his ineffectual approach to the region’s problems.

    Iran is on the verge of gaining nuclear weapons, while pro-Iranian regimes now hold power in Baghdad & Damascus, and their proxy terrorists groups control large swaths of territory in Yemen & Lebanon. The Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE are openly criticizing Obama’s approach and quietly whispering their contempt for President Obama. This is why these conservative Sunni states have taken to backing radical Islamist groups like ISIS as a counterweight to Iran and the growing Shia axis: they do not trust the US to do anything.

    Nature may abhor a vacuum, but war and chaos love it.

  • The interpretation of many investment experts is that the stock market boom was an asset bubble fuelled by exceedingly low interest rates and quantitative easing. The correction we are seeing today demonstrates the lack of substance behind the market growth.

    The real unemployment rate is much higher that the reported figures. This is not to say the reported figures are outright lies, but that they are taken from a narrow statistical perspective which ignores the shrinking labor participation rates, the growing number of people in part-time jobs and the record number of people who have been granted a “disability” designation, and are thus removed from the unemployed side of the ledger.

    Read “Tackling The Real Unemployment Rate: 12.6%”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2014/08/20/tackling-the-real-unemployment-rate-12-6/

    So in fact, the actual state of the economy is the opposite of what you claim it is, and I do indeed give Obama plenty of credit for it.

  • It is called a “market” because prices go up and down. If prices only went up, it would be called the stock “rocket”. Besides, so far it is only a market correction. The market is still more than double the March 2008 low of 6547. According to sources, Fed Chairman Yellen said yesterday that the economy looked to be on track to achieve growth of around 3 percent. She also saw inflation eventually rising back to the Fed’s 2 percent target as unemployment falls further. Housing prices continue to go up slowly as do new home mortgages. The US economy is still expanding, albeit slowly. Of course, you won’t give Obama ANY credit for this. I would bet dollars for donuts that if the economic outlook were reversed, you would be full of blame for the President. He just can’t catch a break.

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