Cuba: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil

Rosa Martinez

Havana’s Central Park. Photo: Elio Delgado Valdés

HAVANA TIMES —What Cuban doesn’t know that popular and eminently Cuban saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” and who hasn’t put it into practice at one point or another?

I use the expression when I’m alone at home and need the help of a neighbor for something. When I have to install a water pump, carry groceries or move building materials around, for instance.

When I don’t have a penny to my name (which happens often) and urgently need to buy something important (like a medication), I mention this in front of a young man who lives on my block, someone who, in addition to having a lot of money, is a very kind person who immediately offers to lend me the money until I get paid.

We Cubans have become experts in complaining and sniveling so as to arouse sympathies and get others to help us. That is simply the way we are and what we do, just as we bother neighbors, interrupt others without asking for permission and arrive at places unannounced.

Though this is part of our everyday, I am put off by those who snivel non-stop, and do so not to ask for a hand at a time of need or in a moment of despair, which we can all have, but to beg for money and pretend they are poor, when they’re not.

I am not referring to those who truly need someone’s help to survive, mind you, or those who live in extremely bad conditions (which are many). Generally speaking, those people are the ones that bother you the least.

I am referring to people who have a salary that is higher than average and (of course) is not enough to get by on (no one’s is). All they do is whine about this to every foreign friend they have in order to get some money out of them, money they then spend on the latest cell phone or to maintain a standard of living they know they can’t aspire to.

3 thoughts on “Cuba: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil

  • Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  • Hey Moses, isnt this an article about you? you keep posting your non-stop verbal diarrhea all day…on every article… LOL..squeaking away…but not getting any oil. Only 8 followers after 900 posts? jajajajajaja….
    I couldnt help noticing the reseblance with you!…just sayin

  • Rosa, in the US, we have long had the same saying. We say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Cubans are great beggars. Fidel has given Cubans a sense of entitlement so to Cubans it is not begging. Ask any Cuban and they will tell you that the Soviet subsidies that Cuba received over the years was earned or at the very least a fair trade for Cuban sugar and other agricultural goods. Likewise, today, most Cubans believe that the 100,000 barrels of oil they receive from their Venezuelan wetnurse is fair exchange for the thousands of doctors, nurses, engineers and sports trainers that Cuba has sent on mission to Venezuela. Even the prostitutes in the streets and discos believe that Cuban sex is so rare and valuable that they are doing Canadians and other tourists a public service by selling their bodies. Fidel has convinced most Cubans that the universe spins with Cuba at the center. Maybe that’s why Rosa thought that was a Cuban saying?

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