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.