Don’t Catch the Virus in Havana or Save Yourself If You Can!

By Regina Cano

Most people in Cuba have to wait in long lines on a daily basis to purchase some basic product or for transportation.

HAVANA TIMES – Word on Havana’s streets is that as temperatures increase, the Coronavirus won’t be able to infect us: “It won’t get us…” I’ve heard people say.

So, most people aren’t feeling the pressure of “la Pelona” (The Grim Reaper) on their heels yet with this highly infectious virus.

There’s a general climate of “That has nothing to do with me”, which has more to do with the need of getting on with life, of survival. That’s to say, danger is lurking in our personal lives, in our neighborhood and family, but we still haven’t realized that it is closer than it seems or the official media hopes it is.

People are walking down Havana’s streets, getting on jam-packed buses and there are only a couple of people who are wearing some form of protection such as a mask or covering their faces with a handkerchief.

You hear people constantly talking about how Coronavirus is spreading in Italy, about how dangerous it is or that they have heard from their relatives in Spain that people aren’t allowed out on the street because of fear of infection. “Streets are deserted,” they are told, or somebody who was in the UK comes back or someone comes to Cuba from Austria looking for shelter.

However, the dynamics here are different and people are forced to take to the street and carry on with their day-to-day business.

On a public bus in Havana.

In the meantime, institutions are canceling events that imply large groups of people: Festivals, debates, conferences, etc. People are disagreeing more and more with the news that a cruise ship will arrive with infected Britons, which the Cuban government accepted and has decided to help them reach their country by flying them out, from the Airport in the capital.

After national TV announced this news, people are wondering whether it makes any sense. “If other countries didn’t let them in, how can we when we don’t even have regular supplies of basic goods?” “How and where will they take them so they can leave? Will they cross the city (or a town)? These are the questions and comments you can hear on the capital’s streets.

If Cuba has to stop manufacturing and commercializing goods, like other countries have, what will we do “if we have to go out every day in search of food?”, a friend asked me over the phone. 

It just so happens that now, Cuba has suddenly become the best and safest tourist destination. It’s like telling the rest of  the world: “Here it’s sun and beaches and if things in the world are bad, come here and live like me, I don’t have anything but I have everything,” David D’Omni said, as coming here and spending quarantine with us is the best thing that could happen.

If it’s within our social pact to be as affectionate as the Italians or Spanish, what new social regulation will stop us from being at great risk of infection from our friends and close colleagues?

Is it a matter of the Cuban people, right up to the highest political circles in the country, being afraid if looking silly wearing a mask, or having fingers pointed at us because we lose the label of good Samaritans?

Come on people, let’s get our act together. Lots of us can die!

Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Catch the Virus in Havana or Save Yourself If You Can!

  • March 18, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Cuba should be food self-sufficient. There are abundant natural resources for self-sufficiency to be straightforward. We are talking about failure that is due to dogma.
    Non self-sufficiency is the greatest failure of ‘The Revolution’.
    Cuba is now reliant on imported food and tourism. Not a good combination for the current Coronavirus situation.
    A one party system is no excuse.
    The likes of Vietnam and China with their own one party systems are way ahead of Cuba in a whole myriad of respects. Relatively successful one party systems in Vietnam and China are managing this crisis. Much better than some countries that have multiple competing political parties.
    Come on Cuba. Up yer game…..

  • March 18, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Why would your government act so careless, dont allow that ship to enter it’s more serious than you have been told. Big companies lie and this one is no exception
    Do not allow that ship to enter your waters your putting all your people at risk
    Close off your ports do not allow this virus to enter your world thank you Canada cares about you just be smart dont do it

  • March 18, 2020 at 9:16 am



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