By Safie M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – Anxiety cripples people, or at least the vast majority. It doesn’t matter where I go, conversations are disheartening. Sadness, which was already present in Cuban households, has now turned into hopelessness.
Cuba has been suffering transformations for over sixty years, but very few of them have benefited the general population. This, despite the fact, we’ve always been told otherwise.
Uncertainty is the first thing that every Cuban feels today. Followed by need, disagreement and desperation.
It is no longer a matter of food, which has been the greatest concern of anyone who has a family. Right now, it’s a matter of there being absolutely nothing. Or rather, there are things, but not every Cuban has access to these products, basic essentials in our everyday lives.
It’s no news that ever since US dollar stores opened in the country – stocked up with everything from food items to soap, shampoo, detergent, coffee -, there is practically nothing in the other stores that sell in the two Cuban currencies.
The little stock that arrives in other stores charging in Cuban currency, trickles in very gradually. For example, let’s say that store X gets chicken in. People will line up for it, and wait for hours on end to buy a packet. Maybe next week another line when cooking oil or detergent comes in, and so on. Is this a game?
What about people who have to work and can’t spend the whole day waiting in lines? Today, they’re waiting for chicken, tomorrow for cooking oil, hot dogs or minced meat, regardless. It’s so sad to watch people invest all of their time waiting in lines, day in and day out. Many people line up even when they don’t know what the store is going to sell. That’s because people are so desperately in need and shortages are so great, they will line up for whatever is being sold, however many times they need to.
I know (lots of) people who can’t get hold of a card to pay in dollar stores. They either don’t have relatives living abroad, or they can’t buy dollars on the street for such an expensive price.
I don’t believe this is the Cuba many of our parents and grandparents fought for. An equal Cuba, for everyone and for everyone’s wellbeing.