Rosa Martinez

Foto: Caridad
Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Many things can be said about what people eat in Cuba: that overall food is becoming more expensive, despite the fact some prices went down in recent days. The average worker has to work miracles; either by stealing from their workplace or having an extra income so that their loved ones won’t go hungry.

There’s hardly any variety of products, even though we live in a tropical country and therefore our diet is not rich in vegetables or fruits and, what’s worse, almost all products sold by the State and private establishments are sugary flour ones (which is why the Cuban population tends to be overweight).

Even though my story doesn’t have to do with our daily bread, this post is not about the quality of the food we eat or how we manage to make it through the month earning a mere 500 pesos (the average salary of Cubans equaling around 20 usd). I promise to tell you about this on another occasion.

Today, I will only share with you an experience I wish wasn’t real.

Carla is my younger daughter Giselle’s best friend. My little one spends more time with that classmate than with her only sister, for, in addition to being with her the 8 hours she spends at school, after doing her homework, she spends at least one or two more hours playing with her, running around, messing things up or drawing.

The little girl is like another member of our family and she eats with us frequently. On several occasions, she has slept over and has even gone with us for visits outside the city.

Owing to the beautiful friendship the girls have, the two families have had no choice but to establish an intimate relationship as well.

Recently, something very sad happened. It was certainly nothing new and is in fact a recurrent reality for many low-income families.

Carla’s 18-year-old sister arrived at our home looking a bit flustered and asked to speak to me in private.

She said to me: “Rose, my mom wants to know if you’ve already cooked supper and, if things aren’t too tight around here, that you send a bit of what you cooked over, for Carla, who’s starving, and there’s nothing to eat down there.”

“It’s ok, not a problem,” I replied immediately. “Just wait two minutes, I’ll look for a container.”

While doing this, I started thinking: “If I send a bit of food for Carla over, what will her father, mother, and sister, who’s also at school, eat?”

What’s important isn’t what I did or didn’t do, what interests me is that her parents are people who work, like I do, and, if they’re as responsible and self-sacrificing as any Cuban worker is, that shouldn’t happen to them, right?


Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

128 thoughts on “Food in Cuba

  • The US embargo can only be lifted through Congressional action. Not very likely with this President and this Congress.

  • You know its true… Once the Blockade is lifted… The anti Cuba crowd will be no more and you know it which is why you dismiss it so easiliy…

  • Your childlike response has worn thin.

  • Even Camden and Detroit are better off. Buildings in Havana, with whole families living in them, would have long been condemned anywhere else in the world, let alone the US. The Castros have chosen to make the US embargo the whipping boy for everything gone wrong in Cuba. It seems that you have drunk the kool-aid too.

  • Javier, you keep saying Let’s lift the blockade. How do you propose doing that. Do you know something that even Obama didn’t.

  • oh you mean like Camden, detroit etc in the richest country in the world…Yet Cuba which has been under a Blockade for 50+ years continues to advance despite the economic war against it…

  • Like I said let’s lift the Blockade and see… But I think you know the answer which is why you and those that think like you want to keep the Blockade!!!

  • Well Maduro claims that Venezuela is socialist, so do you consider yourself a greater authority than the president of that country?
    The difficulty for socialists is that when there is inevitably another socialist failure, they maintain that it wasn’t the mythical ‘real socialism’ that was in practice. So I guess Javier Vargas that such is your view about the failure in Venezuela where the population is on the verge of starvation and their money is valueless.

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