Paula Henriquez

Leaving work at the Ministry of Foreign Commerce.
Leaving work at the Ministry of Foreign Commerce.

HAVANA TIMES — Getting to work can be stressful, put you in a bad mood and sometimes even make you fly off the handle. You have to have a really high level of patience, even when there’s nowhere else to get patience from. In Cuba, we complicate our lives even further and we hurt one another a lot.

I know this may sound like a familiar subject, but just because it is doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about it or speak up against it. What’s going on with shift managers in offices and workplaces? Aren’t they Cuban too? Yes, yes, of course they are. They’re just not “ordinary” Cubans (how I love this term) and it seems that this blinds them and makes them otherworldly.

Demands are rising everywhere. And I don’t have anything against a manager that demands jobs to be well done, people getting to work on time as well as completing their working day, etc. However, and just like I’ve always heard, in order to demand something, you yourself have to be an example and follow the rules. And in the majority of workplaces, I won’t say all of them to save myself from sounding like an extremist, this doesn’t happen. The manager goes one step too far, telling people off, drawing attention to him/herself, and if they are ever presented with the opportunity to say that their staff don’t fulfil their roles, they will.

And I find myself asking, doesn’t the manager fulfill his/her own? On more than one occasion it’s been proven that a lot of managers here don’t even know what the work entails at the office they’re leading or directing. All it takes for an office to fall apart and for chaos to ensue is for the person who carries all of the office’s responsibilities on their back to leave their post. What’s the manager there for then…?

Well apparently, they’re there to show their faces at the right moments, just not to take the lead, resolve problems and progress forward. Maybe that’s why Cuba is the way it is. Maybe that’s why we talk about a loss of values. Maybe that’s why such a small number of people actually care whether a job is successful or not, whether we progress or not. Maybe that’s why who can be saved in the Cuban jungle is saved and who can’t, dies, but not before taking others down with him first.

This is the “save yourself if you can” times we live today. Consequently, we see workplaces fall apart, projects ceasing to work, people who have lost all hope and the will to help as well as events that are no longer held.

I ask myself how some businesses, schools, centers on the whole can continue “to work”… Time and time again we make an effort and get annoyed, just to realize that nothing ever changes. A lot of people say that there is no solution, that we’re lost, stranded in the middle of the sea. Are they right?


Paula Henriquez

Paula Henriquez: Since childhood I have been told I should be careful what I say in public. "Think before you speak, especially in front of others," my mother would say, and it was more of a plea than a scolding. Even today I hear her and I obey her, just that I do not speak, I write. Letters and words are my escape, my exit and daily catharsis, which printed on paper, revive me. And this picture is my refuge.

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