Cuba, a Strange Paradise

By Pedro P Morejon

From the 1980 Mariel boatlift.

HAVANA TIMES – I grew up in a rural neighborhood, where people used to be healthier and neighbors were like family. We kids wandered about, without any worries.

We played baseball, we swam in shallow lakes and we’d escape to the river sometimes, risking a beating or two from our parents. We climbed mango or guava trees, we made jokes about adults…

We used to wear shorts without a T-shirt or shoes, but that was how we were happy, we were children at the end of the day. However, years passed by and my friends, now adults, began to slowly disappear, or better said, they emigrated.

I remember Tomasito, my best friend when I was a kid, Jorge, another friend, whose parents were “revolutionaries”, as they held government positions and were Communist Party members, and when Ana Teresa, their other daughter, became Catholic because of her boyfriend, she was forced to leave home. Years later, in the ‘90s, the entire family emigrated without any hesitation.

I remember Lazarito Guerra and Angela, his sister, Omar and Papo, who were also brothers, Yudelkis, Juan Miguel, Maibi… and I don’t want to continue because the list would be too long.

I can say that more than half of the kids that I grew up with are now living in the US or some European or even Latin American country. Entire families I knew, to be more exact.

Before and after this happened, we were told over and over again that we were (implicitly) lucky to live in a kind of paradise.

Sometimes, I remember the song that goes “it’ll be better to sink in the sea than betray the glory that we have had”.

It seems the author didn’t want to sink. He is living outside Cuba now and rejects what he once defended.

There is also that song by Osvaldo Rodriguez that delighted TV viewers who used to watch May 1st parades, back in the ‘80s, in my childhood years. He also left paradise.

Any simple mind would deduce that this paradise is one of a kind. So much so that in the classic Biblical paradise, God only placed one prohibition. Neither Adam or Eve could eat the forbidden fruit, but they could eat all the other fruit on the other trees. They violated this rule and they paid for it dearly, by being expelled for one.

But the God in our paradise has placed so many prohibitions that nearly everything is a sin, which is why people want to leave before they are kicked out, and not even the cherubs, seraphs and other privileged angels could hold out and live in it. They chose to become fallen angels instead and ended up leaving.

In this Eden, there are very few fruits to eat and they are awful in quality. It’s quite a strange paradise. And living in it, is a curse.

The most surprising thing is that we still have some dreamers who don’t want to ban themselves, because they hold onto the age-old hope that this will stop being the paradise it is and become a normal paradise one day, and then, when that happens, they can hope to make progress.

2 thoughts on “Cuba, a Strange Paradise

  • Using the Garden of Eden as a metaphor is an interesting choice. Does that mean Fidel is (was) God? Does tasting freedom (the forbidden fruit) uncover your eyes as Adam and Eve came to see their nakedness in the Garden? Finally, is Imperialism the serpent? Interesting….

  • It all boils down to capitalism where the ‘ vivo ‘ and the privileged by their force, or the socialist and their believe in a commonwealth are always in ‘ combat.’ As this tit for tat progresses many will suffer deprivations that aren’t needed. I probably don’t have much time left to live as a senior citizen but what about this generation and future generations. There has to be a better way to accommodate all. Poor nations, rich nations, they both have to cooperate.

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