Again, My Cousin Bebito

Veronica Fernandez

Havana barbershop. Photo: Caridad

I commented about my cousin Bebito when I first started writing for Havana Times.  Now, I’ll again pick up on him, such a unique personality who’s so close to me.  My father’s nephew and of course my cousin, he’s one of the few people who I was able to have at my side when I came into this world.

During my first four years of life we lived in the same house in Regla (a community located on the other side of Havana Bay).  Despite the fact that my parents swapped our house for one in Cojimar (a community located to the east of Havana Bay) we’ve remained very close.  It’s not because we’re family that we stay in contact, it’s because we think a lot alike about many different things.

Recently Bebito has been in a bad mood.  He’s faced with several problems that have him a little off balance.  I recommended the he should start living his life in a different manner and try to look at the positive side of things.  But the fact is that no matter how much he wants to, it’s difficult to find the light at the end of his tunnel.

Cubans know how things are and what we refer to as solutions.  The first thing that Bebito commented to me was that for more than a month, people in Regla haven’t been able to buy beans either in domestic currency or in CUCs (freely convertible Cuban hard currency).  What’s more, he was told that there wasn’t any in the warehouses either.

The second thing he raised was the indignation felt by Cubans because our national sport, baseball, will no longer be played in the stadiums at night because of the country’s energy situation.

Once again — I reiterate — we’re aware of the financial crisis at the world level, and we know about the harsh and decades long blockade against Cuba and that we’re a country in the so-called Third World.  But this doesn’t mean that they can instantly deprive us of something that we’ve gotten used to enjoying for years.  Many of us Cubans are fanatics par excellence over this sport.

It’s true that it’s necessary to take certain measures, but never exaggerated ones.  On the other hand, are they trying to promote absenteeism from work?  Because if the local team can only play by the light of day between Monday and Saturday, people attracted by this sport — who are the majority of the population — I’m sure will want to attend some of the games.  But here another situation emerges (and I plan not to make a mistake when outlining it); it’s that I can also assure that a great number of people will in fact see the games and they’re going to get paid as if they had worked.

And I’ll tell you something else: You’ll also see lots of bosses there driving cars with government license plates and using the gasoline given to them for their management duties and not for having a good time.

In short, one problem and situation leads to another and another – but never a solution to anything.  This happened with the beans because of terrible planning and poor distribution.  We’re this way unfortunately, and it’s going to be extremely difficult to straighten out the path.  Let’s hope we achieve it, and I give a vote of faith we do.  However there are things that have slipped out of our hands, things that have led us from one extreme to another – from civilization to barbarism.

What comes to my mind is the principal theme of the famous novel in Spanish-American literature, Doña Barbara.  We’re not in those times or in those settings, but ones that are even worse.  I believe barbarism has arrived in our time and that it has invaded our souls.  But what can we do to free ourselves from wrong and to attract sanity, good common sense, discipline, organization and justice in our society?

Veronica Fernadez

Veronica Fernandez: I was born in the town of Regla, on the other side of Havana Bay. Over the years, many people from Regla have gone to live in Cojimar, fleeing the contamination from the petroleum refinery in Regla. That's what my family did when I was just four years old. Since I was a little girl I have been drawn to the arts and letters. Poetry and narrative writing are my favorites. I had the good fortune to study philology, a branch of the human sciences dealing with language and literature, at the University of Havana with top notch professors. As a Capricorn, I adore organization, people who are mature, the romantic things in life and the lack of self-interest that is the backbone of these times. I enjoy our typical Cuban food, (white rice, black beans, pork and yucca with garlic sauce) and also Italian food. I also like chocolate and drinking a mojito (rum cocktail) in the historic center of my city.



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