Who Is Cuba’s ‘Marginal’ Minority?

Regina Cano

Havana photo by Elio Delgado

I have a curiosity that I need to satisfy regarding the concept of social marginalization.  This came to mind from research into the issue prior to 1959, but which continues to be used in the same context despite the new changes that were introduced following the Cuban Revolution.

This concept was applied to those Havana neighborhoods and inhabitants who were called “marginal” (in the view of those in power?).

Today, Cuba continues to have “marginal” neighborhoods, “marginal” citizens (who are residents of those neighborhoods) and another marginal minority that is distinguished by its behavior: alcoholics, vagabonds, buzos (literally “garbage divers”) — people with personal characteristics that somehow separate them from the majority of people.

Let’s see if I can explain this better…

Formerly the term “marginal” was applied to people who earned low wages, had low levels of formal education or culture (with that referring not only to knowledge), and a residence in which lived up to three generations of family members.  Such housing was in poor condition; as was the ancillary street infrastructure and water supply.

Currently the same “marginal” conditions exist for the great majority of Cubans on the island, but those in power appear to have clearly had another intention.  So then who is the “marginal” minority and what are they?

Because from what I understand, the great majority of us are marginal; all of our circumstances point to that.


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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