HAVANA TIMES – After the tough years we experienced in the ‘90s (which I don’t even want to remember), our country still hasn’t found a way to free itself of economic hardship.
In the nearly 30 years after Fidel declared a state of “Special Period in Peace Time”, we have received aid from many brotherly nations along this difficult journey, especially Venezuela, but not even low oil prices could help us get back up on our feet and not have to depend on foreign powers again, nor be crushed by the US blockade, which does exist and harms us whether we like to admit it or not.
Forced to be ingenious because of shortages since then, Cubans have found many ways to survive, like, for example, living at the expense of government resources that they are meant to look after, read here: car, oil and other goods; working “on the side” when self-employment still hadn’t been legalized; taking state products which isn’t recognized nationally as theft, but as a way of “struggling”; and lastly, emigrating.
Emigration has been one of the main consequences of the excessive shortages we have suffered here in Cuba. Like everywhere else in the world, people emigrate for many other reasons, including politics, but the state of our economy has been the main driving force behind thousands of our fellow countrymen risking their lives to cross the Florida Strait, crossing through several countries, dangerous jungles and forests, unknown rivers, or getting on a plane heading anywhere, even Iceland, a place that is just as cold as it is unknown.
Well there you have it, when people can’t invent anymore; when your job or the struggle can’t give you anything else; when getting through the day to the next is impossible without being in constant danger of being put away; when your children grow up and feel like they don’t have any opportunities to grow, then many of our relatives, friends and neighbors decide to leave for good, even though they leave many loved ones behind, especially the elderly, like their parents and grandparents.
After the Wet-foot/Dry-foot Policy was revoked, which used to grant Cubans the right to stay in the US if they arrived by sea or land, many people who had been planning on heading North were left with their dreams unfulfilled.
Last month, in October and up until early November, a lottery opened up, which involves the US offering 50,000 visas to immigrants from different countries, Cuba being allocated 3,500 visas.
At least 3,500 Cuban nationals, out of the many thousands who have surely registered, will be able to make their dream of stepping foot on US soil true, starting their lives over in a developed country, trying to better their lives and to help their family members who have stayed behind.
Let’s hope that 2019 and 2020 (when the result of this visa lottery, or bombo as we call it) marks a new path for the chosen ones. This seems to be the last lottery of this kind. Everyone who applied is expectant right now because luck is a crazy thing and anyone can be on the receiving end…