Cuban Youth Are Fleeing the Island

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – My friend Luisa is going to Nicaragua. In a couple of weeks, she’ll soon be on a plane heading towards the Central American country.

She won’t be going to visit Ometepe island, or the Cerro Negro Volcano, much less the Manares River in Aguas Agrias or any other tourist attraction. None of this. She is going for other reasons, the same reasons thousands of Cubans have for using this country as a trampoline to other destinations, ever since Mr. Daniel Ortega made it a visa-free zone for Cubans in late 2021.

There’s no need to be sharp-witted to guess this dictator’s intentions, which are just to set up another migration route to the US, thereby creating a crisis on the US border.

Luisa is a young woman who knows nothing of this, nor does she care. Just like so many other Cubans, she’s only looking for a better life far from the land where she was born. A land with an uneasy present, which stopped offering its citizens a future a long time ago.

In an article published recently in the official press, it mentioned the fact that Cuba is in the lead in terms of population aging in Latin America. It explained low birth rates but placed special emphasis on increasing living costs and the achievements of the Cuban health system, as obvious proof of the success of the social project pushed by the Revolution, in spite of being restricted by a blockade.

However, reasons for falling birth rates are evaded in the State’s apologetic discourse. Everybody knows that women don’t want to give birth in Cuba. Just go to any gynaecology and obstretics clinic and see the high number of abortions that are practiced in these centers to prove this. They don’t want to give birth here because living costs are becoming more and more unsustainable every day, among other reasons.

There’s also the fact that the young population are migrating en masse, whether that’s via Central America or the forever dangerous Florida Strait, the latter being despite the elimination of the “wet-feet/dry-feet” policy by the Obama Administration in the last year of his administration.

We know that emigration has always been a global phenomenon. Moving from southern countries, the majority of which are poor, people have always sought a way to live in more comfortable places. Europe and the US have been the most popular destinations.

However, after 1959, Cuba became a country with an interesting migration activity. So, you no longer find Cuban communities only in the abovementioned places, but also in many Latin American countries.

For now, the most popular topic of conversation in every neighborhood on this archipielago, on every street corner, is how to leave this country anyway one can. Especially young people, who no longer have hope of a future under its skies.  

This is why there are people like Luisa, who will be sitting on a plane heading for an unknown and uncertain future in a couple of weeks, but a future, nonetheless.

Read more from Pedro Pablo Morejon here.



Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

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5 thoughts on “Cuban Youth Are Fleeing the Island

  • A few comments on the comments.
    Bob–yes Pedro’s suave, poignant and sometimes acerbic writing is always worthy of a much wider audience. David–agreed, it would be ideal for Cubans to stay, to be able to improve their own country and solve their country’s problems, and head into a brighter future there.
    ***Robert–sorry but what?? You are saying the big question many North Americans ask about Cuba is if Cubans have honesty and work ethic in them? Seriously? I am surprised no one else is jumping on that brother. That’s an odd assessment at best. Have you watched people farm with oxen or keep vehicles running without new parts? Haul drinking water by hand? Feed families on a few bucks a month? Get building materials to rooftops without elevators or electricity? Help neighbors, friends, family members, tourists even though no one has money to give? Just to tick off a few examples and I’m sure other people could add extensively to that list. God, I don’t know where to begin with that question.

  • “For now, the most popular topic of conversation in every neighborhood on this archipielago, on every street corner, is how to leave this country anyway one can. Especially young people, who no longer have hope of a future under its skies.” I totally agree with what Pedro has written.

    When a country’s – any country’s – citizens, especially the young feel that there is no future to be had, there is no hope in the future, there is no confidence in the present political government, all these serious symptoms manifest themselves in only one unfortunate consequence in this case, Cuba: emigrate.

    Every one knows a country’s future is predicated on its vibrant, enthusiastic, emboldened, educated, proud, motivated youth. Remove the youth, those very people that embrace change for the better with vigor, and what is left but an aging population so much so “ . . . that Cuba is in the lead in terms of population aging in Latin America.” as Pedro states.

    No one knows the exact number of young Cubans exiting the island permanently. Suffice to say that anecdotal evidence, and as Pedro has alluded in his article, the topic of emigration is openly discussed “. . . in every neighborhood . . .” and “ . . . on every street corner . . .” is telling.

    Furthermore, to add insult to injury to the Cuban communist cadres people problem is, again as Pedro alluded, the precipitous decline in the Cuban birthrate. It is not like all these Cuban youths are leaving the country only to be easily replaced by the Cuban burgeoning birthrate. That is not happening. According to United Nations statistics:

    “Cuba’s birth rate has fallen tremendously over the last few decades, and it’s now one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere at 9.88 births/1,000 population. This is mostly attributed to unrestricted access to abortion and the widespread use of contraceptives estimated at 79% among the female population.” (World Population Prospects 2019, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations).

    Additionally, as Pedro has pointed out, “Everybody knows that women don’t want to give birth in Cuba. Just go to any gynaecology and obstretics clinic and see the high number of abortions that are practiced in these centers to prove this. They don’t want to give birth here because living costs are becoming more and more unsustainable every day, among other reasons.”

    Is the Cuban communist government paying attention or more poignantly – does it really care – what is going on regarding its steadily declining and disappearing population? One has to wonder.

    Other countries are not immune from this population decline particularly from low birthrates. For example in Canada and Europe, their birthrates are below replacement levels but there are streams of immigrants flocking into those geographical areas – Canada through its vigorous immigration policies and Europe through, though not planned, youthful refugees.

    In Europe: “Europe’s population growth is low, and its median age high. Most of Europe is in a mode of sub-replacement fertility, which means that each new (-born) generation is becoming less populous than the older.” (Population growth (annual %) – European Union, World Bank).

    “The growth of many developed countries is expected to become negative in the coming decades . . . Nevertheless, Canada is slowly heading toward zero growth, while the United States are projecting growth that should remain relatively stable.” (Statistics Canada, “Population Growth in Canada”)

    The young Luisa in Pedro’s piece will land in Nicaragua to an unknown and uncertain future for sure. She like many others will be added to the immigration number of some place and many do survive and prosper in their new geographical location. Unfortunately, some don’t but to Cuban youths – like Luisa – they are willing to chance the latter to hopefully achieve the former.

  • Yes North America needs all types of medical students that are willy to learn & work & learn for a good living, some more base ball coaches & trainers also are in demand, Top players are always taken in, Youth willing to train in the Trades of Construction with interest in Heating & Colling as HVAC Technicians are growing. Chapmen ice cream has an on going daily Radio ad for workers Grey Country in Ontario, Starting wage is $18.50 per hr with a dollar per hr night shift premium Canada & there is even a U.S. plant to chapmen ice cream. The opportunitys are Endless if your Honest, Trust worthy & Respectful of others, That is what the World is Lacking Today, Honesty. Have Cubans Got that in them is the Question so many North Americans ask or has the Communist Regime taken that life out of them before they become of Value in a Society that needs them as much as they need a new Society, Then Responsibility for your choices in life is Every thing today.

  • It is sad but accurate evaluation of the failure that is marxism under many names(like communisn/socialism) when the future of the country flees. And to where? The USA by way of illegal entry approved by the marxists in what is known as the biden presidency. Cubans belong in a FREE Cuba to make their families’ lives better by their efforts.

  • This is a beautifully written essay. And full of sad truths. Thanks for sharing. So sad that so many feel compelled to leave beautiful Cuba.

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