By Safie M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – It’s not news that the Cuban population is aging. Every year, people are becoming more and more convinced that bringing a child into this world isn’t what it once was. People live very hectic lives, we must deal with a thousand needs, especially in this country. A place where wages were only enough to see us through to the 10th of the month… up until less than a month ago that is.
Although, honestly, the recent pay raises for state workers hasn’t made much of a difference. Prices have also gone up and the month continues to end on the 10th of the month for a “normal” worker, who also has children on top of that.
This isn’t news, just like the fact that there are more and more elderly people here in Cuba every day. Let me say all of this out here for you, before telling you the following story.
I have a young neighbor, a teenager. She is about to turn 17 years old and she has a boyfriend. I spoke about her in an article I wrote back in November (A sad and touching story). She’s the girl who ended up an orphan when she was still very little, and her family turned their back on her. Despite a lot of advice, from my mother and I, the girl is now pregnant. But that’s not what this article is about.
Five months ago, she started to not feel very well, she stopped having her period and she went to the doctor. She managed to get an ultrasound scan (and I say managed because all of these medical procedures are given by our great medical power). That ultrasound came back negative, but the girl continued to feel poorly, and her period wouldn’t come.
She waited a “prudent” amount of time and went back to the health clinic… the same thing happened. The ultrasound showed nothing. Today, the girl is five months pregnant, and she doesn’t have the option of aborting.
She has already accepted that she’s going to become a mother, in spite of being barely 17 years old. The boyfriend has also accepted his responsibility.
However, ever since she discovered this news, I’ve been wondering something. Are these ultrasound machines in such a bad state they couldn’t see that the young woman was pregnant? Twice?
What kind of professionals are running these tests? Or is it a strategy to force young Cuban girls, who end up pregnant, to repopulate this aging country? In any case, it’s not right. Above all else, it’s the person’s own right to choose whether they want to bear a child or not.