What the Last Wave of Migration Has Meant for Cuba

Regina Cano

Cuban university students. Photo: Caridad

What is now being demonstrated are the consequences of the most recent wave of emigration from Cuba, that which has occurred over the past 15 years.

I know the first thing necessary to refer to are the advantages, the motivation that forces people to emigrate: economic improvements in the emigrant’s life and that of their family.

There are many stories supporting this.  People have found stable ways of life; they’ve started families and made themselves decent lives, working hard and becoming legal and moral parts of the societies they’ve joined.

But other histories are sorrowful.  There are those who have had to stay outside of Cuba when this was not their intention; others have completely forgotten their families and have broken the ties with their friends, as if their previous life left no impression on them.  They have “drank the Coca Cola of forgetfulness” (as we Cubans on the island say).  Still others have been used and manipulated in diverse ways after leaving Cuba, without having ways to defend themselves.

The rupture of family harmony — and therefore social harmony — is one of the first elements that most people are not aware of, since someone who has successfully left the country is considered to be “enjoying a better life.”

Getting married or sharing one’s life with another person who may at first may not be the ideal partner or at least the desired companion, along with the usual dose of psychological or moral dissatisfaction, is another of those elements.

In addition, these people who depart in search of an adventure — which is not in their control in most cases — leave behind the personal and professional goals they had perhaps planned.

And now — another of the consequences — it remains clear that if the Cuban population is getting older, part of this is due to the younger members not seeing a future in their country and ending up having children in other countries.

These are reasons for placing blame, or perhaps posing questions, but the fact is this is the present reality.

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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.

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