My Take on Migratory Crises

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — While thousands of Cubans cross third countries to reach the United States and thousands others emigrate legally or use work-related trips afforded by the government to “desert,” the island’s official media cover the migratory crisis affecting countries in the Middle East and Europe with sarcasm, stating that the lives of war refugees depends on a quick response from the different governments of the old continent.

How are those who flee from war, trying to escape terror, different from those Cubans who choose to leave everything behind and look for what they surely regard as their salvation, deliverance in terms of their civil rights and their right to a life where their efforts and their incomes are more logically related? When will the Cuban government make the life-saving decision it demands from its European counterparts?

“I’ve been living in Venezuela for four years.” a friend who came to Cuba on vacation says to me. “There are a million problems down there, but I’m going to give you a very clear example that explains why I prefer living there and not here. I try to lead a healthy life, to eat properly. Between my house and place of work, there are many places where I can have a stress-free breakfast, ask for whatever I want to have without giving away half my salary, without any tension. That gives you an idea of why I’m there, no?”

So many different people can’t all be wrong, I thought, while, on the Cuban news, the government washed its hands of all responsibility with respect to the migratory crisis in Costa Rica, blaming the United States and its laws (which, I admit, I consider absurd and unnecessary at this point). I wonder: isn’t it time to acknowledge our mistakes? To continue to yell that another country’s policy towards us is solely responsible for our fate seems a show of hypocrisy and weakness.

How long will the same, tired people govern us? How long will we allow people devoid of energy, whose one interest is to cling to power, pull the strings of our destiny? What, beyond our freedom and standard of living, is at stake here?

I would say our history is at stake, the possibility of being remembered as a submissive people, the people who passively waited for a dynasty to hand over power of its own will. It may be too late for us to be anything like our independence fighters.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

4 thoughts on “My Take on Migratory Crises

  • You would like to misrepresent Dr. King’s Poor Peoples Movement, but I won’t let you get away with it. I have been blessed to have within my own family eyewitnesses to Dr. King’s private ruminations on his stillborn movement. He staunchly believed in Capitalism. He wanted nothing more than to help create a country where black folks had an equal opportunity to good jobs and, if it was their calling, to being to create their own businesses. Cubans are clearly not satisfied with their government. This does not mean that they want a carbon copy of the US. It does mean that those who can leave Cuba, are doing so in record numbers. Those who can’t leave are staying and hoping the end of Castro tyranny is near at hand. I do wish that Cubans would rise up. I would like to believe that if I were Cuban, that would be my strategy. But, I am not Cuban, although many people that I love are Cuban and I am resigned to accept that they must find their own way.

  • Yes and MAYBE Cubans , unlike you, realize that their government is doing a so-so job under the 55-year U.S. embargo which was and is still intended as an existential threat to the Cuban revolution and MAYBE those Cubans , unlike you, fully understand this and not being the submissive group you generalize them to be aren’t rising up as YOU and the authors of the U.S. embargo would have had it were the Cuban people the more submissive lot you’d like them to be .
    You’re the ultimate submissive .
    You bow to your god unquestioningly
    You must kiss your boss’s ass as is necessary -the way of totalitarian free-enterprise capitalism
    You obey the tiny percent who own the government… and do so gladly
    And you praise these institutions.
    Dr. King in his last days came straight out against U.S. imperialism and the poverty that comes directly from capitalism .
    It’s strange that you’d write anything good about any man who thinks that way but perhaps you don’t know much about what Dr. King really thought.
    I’m not sure your mother would be proud that you now oppose the moral thinking of Dr. King

  • Your country has been under existential attack for some 57 years by the United States which in the period between 1945 and 1993 intervened in over 54 occasions to overthrow the will of the people in those countries.
    It killed 2 million people in Vietnam and the rest of southeast Asia for doing what Cuba is attempting to do: establish its own economy and society ; one that does not include free enterprise (U.S enforced) capitalism.
    It killed 500,000 children by embargo in Iraq because their hand-picked and installed dictator became a problem for them. Madeline Albright, then Secretary of State said that the deaths of those innocent children were worth it.
    All this to point out something you either don’t know or have forgotten over the long difficult years and that is that there is nothing that the government of the United States will not do , indeed HAS NOT DONE to any people or country that defies the command to have a free-enterprise economy or question the overall authority of the United States.
    You talk about a “submissive” people and rail about Cuba’s systems , all the while taking your attention of the fact that the Empire is slowly strangling the Cuban Revolution hence the flow of economic refugees from Cuba.
    You’re like the frog in the pot of slowly heating water who gets used to being cooked . You’re complaining that the ceiling needs painting and aren’t seeing the flames that will cook you.
    What the U.S. is doing is an existential threat to the revolution . There is no question about that or shouldn’t be.
    I have no love for the Cuban systems but the government will do what it must to survive and while its actions can be legitimately protested against and should be, all those protests must come second to defending the revolution against an imperial force that vey few Third World countries have successfully defended themselves as has Cuba.
    Or you could submit to that horrible force like Honduras, like Guatemala, like El Salvador and some 70 others over the past 100 years of U.S. imperial incursions.
    Is that what you want ?
    Sure, it’s tough and you too could emigrate to greener pastures . You have that choice .

  • Cubans are a boastful people. Despite their bravado, I agree that their response to Castro tyranny has been flaccid at best. As I have often commented, my 90 lb. mother faced Alabama State Police dogs and firehoses in the 1960s marching with Dr. King. She wanted a better life for her children. I will never forget how she cried tears of joy to see a Black man elected President of the United States in November of 2008. Other than a handful of Ladies in White, where are the women like my mother in Cuba. Where are men who stand up to Castro tyranny? Is there no Dr. King or Nelson Mandela among them? Maybe Cubans are as submissive as their actions would imply?

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