Stay at Home?

By Safie M. Gonzalez

The lines to buy a couple food or cleaning products can last for many hours. Photo: BBC News

HAVANA TIMES – “Stay at home” is a phrase that we are constantly being told over and over again, every day. We see it on the TV, we hear it on the radio, but can we really stay at home?

The situation in Cuba has become even more depressing. On top of that, the number of COVID-19 infections is on the rise. Havana is the most affected, because it’s the capital and the most heavily populated province. More and more positive cases are reported every day. 

However, I’m surprised to see that lockdown measures are a lot stricter in other provinces. I can’t make any sweeping statements, but, for example, every workplace in Cienfuegos needs to shut at 2 PM and nobody can be out on the street after the 7 PM curfew.

Things aren’t like that here in Havana. The Cuban capital has been waiting some days now for measures to be announced to try and help reduce the number of positive cases, but this information has yet to come.

They are only talking about stepping up hygiene measures in workplaces, and that’s it. But what about food shortages? Crowds outside some stores, and the lines that go on for hours on end? Will any measures come into effect in this regard?

It isn’t only a matter of putting four police officers out there to try and organize these long lines, nope. It’s a matter of stocking different places equally because the people who are exposing themselves the most at stores, are people aged 60 and over.

A family friend lives on Baracoa beach, in the Artemisa province. She tells me that they haven’t had a case reported in many months, and that her municipal government took very strict measures to prevent the infection and spread of this virus.

Every district is warned ahead of time to buy whatever comes into the store, at a specific time, so as to prevent crowds and people exhausting themselves standing in one line after the other.

It’s obvious that we can’t stay at home, when we have to go out and search for food, above all else. Food that can’t be found on every street corner, or in every store. In the best or worst cases (it depends on the way you look at things), you must buy many products well above their retail price from resellers. If you have the financial means, of course.

In the meantime, those who can’t by on the illicit market will must continue exposing themselves every day to this invisible virus that is growing thanks to the organizational incompetence of those who have never had to stand in line, nor have the need to get on a bus.

Read more from Safie M. Gonzalez

Safie M. Gonzalez

I was born in the 80's. I love nature and animals, as well as my country. I admire the sacrifice of a people. I consider myself a simple and honest person, therefore I detest injustices. I have a taste for the arts in general, but especially for literature, photography, and cinema. I believe in the power of the word and in the ability of the human being to change the world.


One thought on “Stay at Home?

  • April 17, 2021 at 9:36 am
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    ““Stay at home” is a phrase that we are constantly being told over and over again, every day.” Not only in Cuba but also here in the province of Ontario, Canada is there a “stay at home” order as of April/’21.

    I premise my contribution by stating first and foremost the tremendous suffering the majority of Cubans must endure with their “stay at home” government decree which certainly cannot be compared on the same level with the Canadian version because the Canadian only waits a miniscule amount of time to enter a grocery store as compared to a Cuban who must stand in a line for endless hours and hours under a scorching unrelenting sun hopefully to buy something to feed their family. Sometimes zero.

    Safie writes: “The situation in Cuba has become even more depressing. On top of that, the number of COVID-19 infections is on the rise.” Similarly here in the province of Ontario. The Ontario Premier has extended the province of Ontario “stay at home” order for another two weeks as the case numbers of COVID and the assault from the COVID variants are causing a dramatic spike in the amount of people, particularly young people, entering into intensive care units in many hospitals. According to some Ontario health officials the situation can be described as “catastrophic”.

    Safie compares her dire situation with the pandemic situation in other Cuban provinces. She says “I’m surprised to see that lockdown measures are a lot stricter in other provinces. I can’t make any sweeping statements, but, for example, every workplace in Cienfuegos needs to shut at 2 PM and nobody can be out on the street after the 7 PM curfew.” Similarly, here in Canada. Things are bad, an understatement, in Ontario but just as bad if not worse in Quebec, the province next door. In fact, in Montreal riots have taken place whereby some residents are deploring the “excessive” measures the local medical authorities are using to try and control the pandemic, such as curfews. Residents in both Ontario and Quebec are restricted from traveling to another province. The borders are now monitored by police.

    Safie ends her article by stating that ordinary Cubans will continue to become infected with the virus because they cannot “stay at home” as per the communist government decree but must go out and potentially expose themselves every day to COVID in order to be able to buy food to feed their families. She blames the proliferation of the encroaching pandemic on “. . . the organizational incompetence of those who have never had to stand in line, nor have the need to get on a bus.”

    The COVID case counts keep rising in here in the province of Ontario and in Quebec and the medical authorities in both jurisdictions blame the surge on the mutating variants spreading rapidly. Others, though, blame the current health crisis on those politicians who have been to meek in their response to the pandemic months ago when a more aggressive societal clamp down would have certainly reduced the amount of hospital admissions presently, and sadly, deaths.

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