By Rosa Martinez
HAVANA TIMES – Diana and I are long-distance friends. We’ve been sharing our dreams, happiness and woes over instant messaging for about two years now.
Even though Diana is a US citizen through and through (with all of the good and bad things about living in the world’s greatest superpower), and I’m just a simple Cuban, from Oriente as well – Cuba’s poorest region -, we have more things in common than we could have imagined the first time we spoke to each other.
In spite of never wrapping our bodies in a physical embrace, we have found many other ways to do this, by offering each other support in tough times, by giving accurate advice and this confidentiality friends share, which only we women can understand.
She is in quarantine right now. Coronavirus is causing more harm than it should have in this huge nation, due to Trump and his Administration in the White House’s poor handling of the situation. They were too late in taking action; how can you when the president himself is calling it a small bout of the flu (this was his derogatory term for it): “Relax, relax, we have it totally under control.”
No US state has escaped this terrible disease. Up until now, there have been 38,792 confirmed cases and 401 deaths, however the government is preparing for a pandemic that could stretch out for a year and a half. Supplies are running out in hospitals and the number of people infected has multiplied by 40% in just 24 hours. Diana lives in the most powerful country in the world, but this country’s power hasn’t stopped this lethal virus from entering the country. The opposite, in fact, some people’s stupidity has helped its silent and rapid propagation.
I live on an island in the Caribbean which, in spite of the damage wreaked by the US blockade and all kinds of restrictions, it has found a way to build a quality Health System. Right now [Sunday March 22], we have 35 people sick here and 954 potential cases of the coronavirus. While our health system isn’t one of the worst health systems in the world, the shortages we’ve been experiencing for a long time now could be lethal if COVID-19 were to spread.
The government had chosen to keep our border open to tourism, in spite of the great risks this implies for the general population.
Governments make mistakes time and time again, and as always, it’s the people who pay the consequences who won’t have access to what they need if they get sick.
Diana and I only have one choice: to come together once more and pray for our families, our friends, our fellow countrymen, our peoples.