By Rosa Martínez

HAVANA TIMES – I have heard people talking about COVID-19 ever since mid-January 2020. The new coronavirus that appeared in the densely-populated city of Wuhan, in the center of China, slowly began to rob me of pieces of my life.

The first thing this unknown virus took from me was hours of my sleeptime.

Even though I know it’s not advisable that we use light-emitting devices before bedtime, my curiosity to know how SARS-CoV-2 was developing in the Far East, forced me to read the latest news published online for an hour or more, every night.

The second thing COVID-19 took from me were kisses and hugs.

It reached the Americas and our country was no exception, as expected. So, Cubans – the affectionate people that we are – were forced to say goodbye to greeting in a tight embrace and make do with words that sound cold to the majority, as if it weren’t a hug-loving Caribbean person saying them.

It also ended with classes at every education level. This forced students all over the country to receive classes on the TV and study at home.

Coronavirus also took the joy from our streets, parks, theaters and stadiums. As well as the hullabaloo of carnivals and other popular celebrations.

It has also ended work colleagues socializing, as most workplaces were forced to approve remote working practices, which has led to a double burden for parents, especially mothers.

In Cuba, the pandemic has also taken away our food, as it has disappeared even more so in a country that is suffering a brutal blockade, and shortages have been made worse by the pandemic and a failing economy.

SARS-CoV-2 has taken away my children’s and their little friends’ sleep too, who miss their everyday conversations, games and common stories. They are also afraid for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Last but not least, this damned virus has taken away a dear friend of mine, an extension of the family who I had seen, hugged and loved pretty much ever since I was born.

Read more from the diary of Rosa Martinez here on Havana Times.


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 “What COVID-19 Took Away from Me

  • To be clear, how has the pandemic taken away food? Rosa fails to explain how the virus has impeded Cuban farmers from increasing agricultural output. Rosa criticizes the US embargo as a “cruel blockade”. Someone should remind her that food is and has always been exempted from the embargo. The food shortages in Cuba have existed for 30 years. To the extent they have worsened during the pandemic, it is likely due to the inept management of food chain that imports food from abroad. Countries all over the world are suffering under the pandemic, even here in the US. Cuba is no different and likely even worse off.

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