Rosa Martínez

One of thousands of Havana buildings needing urgent repairs.  Foto: Juan Suarez
One of thousands of Havana buildings needing urgent repairs. Foto: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — I’ve heard that shame is popularly known as the “secret” or “hidden” emotion. We’ve all experienced the feeling at one point in our lives, an episode we do not wish to share with anyone, not even our closest friends.

When I speak of an embarrassing episode, I am not referring to a public faux pas or, as they say in Cuba, “sticking one’s foot in it.” I am not referring to underdressing for an important party or tripping and falling in front of other people (even though such episodes do tend to make most of us blush).

I am specifically referring to actions we provoke, and about which we feel ashamed, angry or remorseful.

This happens with parents who hate the mistreatment of children; because they were victims of it, but who, on certain occasions, end up provoking it. It is also the case with men raised in a violent environment who, unable to get their wives to understand them or do as they want, deal blows that end up hurting them more than they do their partners.

The world is made of such shameful situations. Our souls are full of self-inflicted pain.

There’s an excuse for everything. I personally cannot find a proper excuse for yelling at a peanut vendor when he tried to hard sell me his product, even though I was stressed and in a hurry at the time.

After the incident, and regretting it, of course, two friends tried to calm me down saying that the reason was the many financial problems we average people have and cannot overcome, note even by working eight hours a day and doing honest and quality work.

I don’t think that not having a dime, not even enough to buy half-decent bread, not knowing what to do to buy a pair of shoes for one’s kids, not being sure you’ll be able to put food on the table for your family the next day, and many other stressful situations we experience every day, is an excuse for mistreating anyone.

One can be frustrated, sad, in a bad mood and who knows what else. What you shouldn’t do is vent your anger on someone who has nothing to do with your problems, true?


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.

One thought on “Shameful Incidents

  • Having read your contributions to Havana Times, you are as you indicate stressed and frustrated, Trying to bring up your daughters with the standards that you seek for them is a huge challenge when living on the earnings of a University Professor in Cuba.
    I know of other professional people in Cuba facing the same difficulties. I have in the past drawn attention when commenting upon articles, to the earnings of staff in the educational system in Cuba compared with a bicycle owner with a cardboard box on the pannier going to the empresa, purchasing 25 200 gm loaves of bread for 5 pesos each and then cycling around shouting out “pan” “pan” and selling them for 6 pesos each. By doing this he earns as much as a schoolteacher with university education working 7 hours a day.
    The actual cause of this nonsense is the policy of the Castro family regime. I know it, and you know it. But like all Cubans living in Cuba, that only adds to the frustration and concern that you feel as a mother, for there is nothing that you can do to change the system that the regime imposes. You cannot join with others to form any alternative party – doing so would put you in jail. You cannot join with others to protest the system by demonstration, that too would put you in jail. You are helpless – that is the purpose of the Castro family regime which has achieved its objective of power and control over the people. Anybody in the free world subjected to similar conditions would also be frustrated.
    You can only ease your pain by remembering that despite all the difficulties you have succeeded in brining up you daughters and by hoping that in their lifetimes Socialismo will collapse as it did in the Soviet Union.

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