Not So Proud to Be a Cuban

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – My friend Manolito isn’t your ordinary young man. His humanity is way above the average. We shared our lives for a while, which is why I know his life story down to a T.

He used to live in Havana, and his dad was a chronic alcoholic.  He spent much of his childhood with an aunt here in Pinar del Rio for this reason. It turns out that when his father would get drunk (which was most of the time), he would beat Manolito’s mother. He would also accuse her of sleeping with all the men he could think of, baseless accusations.

The child was so psychologically scarred than an expert suggested that he go to live with the aunt. It’s fair to say that Manolito’s father was a very kind and generous person, in his moments of sobriety, especially with his son.

He was shabby looking on the whole. Always dirty, gaunt, his body abused by this addiction. He looked like human waste, and he became chronically ill. He ended up paralytic and Manolito, who was now a man, took care of him right up until his dying breath.

He wasn’t the kind of father a son could be proud of; however, he loved him with every fiber of his being.

In spite of everything, he was still his father.

This story makes me contemplate a little, especially when I remember the article that was published on this website a couple of weeks ago, about being proud to be Cuban.

I’ve mulled over this matter for much of my life and, trying to be reasonable, I haven’t found a convincing enough reason for me to feel proud that I was born in this country.

We don’t only have beautiful women here in Cuba, there are also beautiful women in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and word has it that Eastern European women are stunning.

Every Caribbean island has idyllic beaches and landscapes.

Any natural virtue we have here is shared with other countries.

Maybe a Norwegian, French, or US citizen can feel proud. These are countries that have made great contributions to civilization… but we haven’t.

How can I be proud to be Cuban when I belong to a people who let their rights get snatched away over 60 years ago. A people who always lower their heads and answer any call made by their oppressors?

How can I be proud to be part of a country stuck in time? One of the most backward and poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere?

A country with one of the highest emigration rates in the world?

I can’t be proud of belonging to a country that is head-deep in double standards, opportunists, informers and cowards.

A country without freedom, unity and prosperity.

A country without a future.

But I was born here… I am Cuban. While I don’t have any reason to be proud of it, I still love it. Like my friend loved his father.

Read more from the diary of Pedro Pablo Morejon.

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.

Pedro Morejón has 153 posts and counting. See all posts by Pedro Morejón

8 thoughts on “Not So Proud to Be a Cuban

  • I love your posts. I miss my country even after leaving as a 10 year old child. I agree that Cuba is stuck in time and people have endured many terrible things. There is also the question of the harm that the embargo has done to Cuba, the unfairness of it. I see pictures of the barrio where I was born and lived as a child and I cry. I will miss Cuba until the day I die..y como dijo Jose Marti…NO SON BELLAS LAS PLAYAS DEL DESTIERRO HASTA QUE SE LES DICE ADIOS. Gracias por todo lo que escribes, muchas bendiciones para ti y los tuyos.

  • Dan, wherever you’re are from, give an artist a break and let him share his feelings. Of course Pedro has some aspects of whatever you want to call it—pride, even if overall he is saying it hurts him to look at his country’s 60+ year performance record. If you can’t tell that about him, you haven’t read enough of his writing. You’re missing the point. Just as he said—that his friend still loved his abusive father regardless. Oh and yes Cuba has had plenty of history with death squads. Are you saying that if a country gives up on overt death squads, they’ve matured and are now unreproachable, in relation to countries that still may be worse? That’s like those in the US who say if you don’t support everything the US does, maybe you should leave. No…you just speak your mind in a free country and you get to stay while doing so. That’s one of the many things that’s hard for people to do in Cuba, still, today—speak their minds. So let Pedro try to do that without shaming him. Peace from another Dan!

  • Did Cuba ever have death squads, like Colombia and Honduras STILL do ? Does Cuba have drug companies like Perdue that spawned an opioid crisis for profit, with thousands of deaths ? Does Cuban do a measurably better job than the rich United States in handling the Covid crisis ? Does Cuba have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and contract out its prisoners for labor ? Does Cuban impose sanctions on other countries with which it doesn’t agree ? If you are not proud, maybe you should consider being ashamed.

  • At the very end of the article, Pedro makes the reader understand his frustration with his country by referring back to that drunken father who beat his wife yet his son to the ultimate end loved and cherished his father, metaphorically the Cuban homeland.

    I can understand Pedro’s frustration, his hopelessness, his mournfulness, his sadness with the state of affairs in his homeland, a Cuba that he loves and treasures. I certainly can only empathize with Pedro since I can only imagine the suffering he and his fellow Cubans have had to endure these 60 plus years. Most importantly for Pedro and all Cubans who suffer the same sad sentiment, the serious situation is not their fault.

    Pedro writes: “I haven’t found a convincing enough reason for me to feel proud that I was born in this country.” The desperate disappointment and pain emanating from this sentence is understandable for many Cubans who have sacrificed for so, so, long. The government elites promise, and promise, better times will come but they never do. Desperation sets in – it is only natural to feel dispirited.

    Pedro in his understandable persistent pain overlooks how unique, hospitable, beautiful, Cuba really is in the eyes of a beholder, especially visitors. Examine all the written contributions provided to Havana Times from foreigners and most all of them praise the island for its beauty, its benevolent citizens, its exciting culture. And, the majority of these same contributors also castigate the current government regime who they rightly write are responsible for the misery the majority of Cubans are subjected to.

    Pedro writes: “Every Caribbean island has idyllic beaches and landscapes.” Further he writes that any natural virtue is shared with other Caribbean destinations making the point Cuba is not that geographically special. Not so. Cuba is one of the biggest islands in the world and its biodiversity is unmatched. Visitors from all over the world flock to Cuba to experience this uniqueness.

    Furthermore Pedro states: “These are countries that have made great contributions to civilization… but we haven’t.” He lists a few countries to make this point, but it is not valid. Cuba has made and continues to provide great influence in all avenues of life, particularly its unique blend of music, its dancers, its sports heroes.

    Pedro continues referring to Cuba as: “A country with one of the highest emigration rates in the world?” I believe Venezuela has more people per capita leaving their homeland than Cuba and there are also other countries in the Middle East and Africa who desperately mount motorized boats crossing the Mediterranean sea seeking better economic conditions in Europe. Nothing to be proud of and certainly not anything admirable to compare with but we all understand Pedro’s potent point.

    Pedro is absolutely correct when he says “I can’t be proud of belonging to a country that is head-deep in double standards, opportunists, informers and cowards.”

    Yes, his Cuba, because of the stubborn communist government elites who decry any form of beneficial change, is steeped in double standards, informers in every neighborhood, opportunists who benefit from the status quo, and cowards who are afraid to utter one truthful word against incompetent inherent rulers. Absolutely shameful.

    To circle back to the appropriate metaphor, like that son of that drunken father who loves his father despite his faults, Pedro though not proud of his homeland, loves Cuba along with a multitude of other Cubans and visitors. Good for him!!


  • I understand what Pedro writes and also understand what Elio writes. They represent two opposing views – neither of which paints an accurate picture.
    The truth surely lies somewhere in between the two varying perspectives.
    Just two different takes on the same subject that’s all.
    I would echo the views of Michael and Paul.
    I’m born in England with a large degree of Irish heritage.
    All of which is a total and utter fluke.
    Proud to be British? Irish?
    Some stuff to be proud of. Some stuff to be ashamed of.
    Just like anywhere else.
    Anyone who thinks they’re any better than anyone else due to the fluke of their heritage or which geographical locale they happened to be born in is a total nonsense……

  • For outsiders, it is confusing. We meet so many people who seem happy and love Cuba; we read that Raul Castro calls on politicians to disagree and for the press to be more challenging and yet we read Amnesty International reports and see the rough handling or arrests of the Sam Isidro artists and writers calling for change. So I love Cuba but see serious room for improvement in freedom of expression. Let’s hope for an end to the US embargo and subversion and a start to openness an an end to fear of dissent. Viva Cuba.

  • Always be proud of your national identity. You cannot be responsible for the state your country is in. Be patriotic and put your chest out when your say you are Cuban, this is what we Irish do and god only knows we also have had our problems over the centuries.

  • Your Points Pedro are well Taken, Understood as to How we can Not Stop Careing its your Nation Your Home Land, Others Created & Control Failures No Cuban Can Honestly Hold there Head High when Not being Watched or Not Ordered to Comply. My Common Law Wife has Begged & Pleaded to me, I Must Take her youngest Daughter away from Cuba, I have been her Canadian Dad for just Less then Six years as her Cuban Father did not except her at Birth. How Many Cuban Mothers are willing to Give there Children to another Country to Raise then before age 10. Cuba your Door Must Open & Trust in Change is for the Good of the People Before your Children Leave There Country to Find Freedom, Where many Nations they Can & will Call Home.

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