It Isn’t the Season for Complaining Here in Cuba

By Nester Nuñez (Joven Cuba)

HAVANA TIMES – What will I tell you this time, something you don’t already know? Well, I’ll say the obvious.

It’s July everywhere, wherever you go. The fan already sounds strange because it’s been on non-stop for so many hours, and I spray some water on my plant that is hanging in the coolest corner of my living room because I can hear its leaves drying off. It’s so hot that you don’t want to do anything, much less go outside. But you have to work, inevitably, even if your wages aren’t enough to get by.

What are 3000 or 5000 pesos the State pays in wages? What are the 12,000 or 15,000 you earn sweating and breaking your back for a private business? How fast do the remittances your family send you run out? At the end of the month… what did you do? Other than eat and treat yourself once or twice? 

And as for me… well, what can I tell you?

This isn’t the season for complaining.

It’s July, the summer is unbearable in Cuba, and your economic situation probably won’t change for now, whatever your guru or the stars are telling you. So, relax. Yes, my dear reader, you, and I’ll also tell myself again so I don’t forget and finally roll up my sleeves. Our children are on vacation. Or our nephews and nieces. Or us even. Vacation, a time out, a break…

Many years ago, I used to drive a bicitaxi. It’s the normal story of a father of three children who does whatever he needs to feed his family, nothing heroic. We did eat, but we didn’t have enough money to take them to Todo En Uno  in Varadero with its colorful attractions and rides. There was a river nearby and we’d go there to fish and to swim, even though the riverbed wasn’t sandy but mud; we’d play fight on the grass, the two boys against me, and I was super slim because I’d been pedaling so much under the July and August sun. It was also a time of blackouts, heat and mosquitoes. But this didn’t hold any significant place in the children’s, now men’s, memories. I’m sure of that.

They remember getting each other wet in the backyard with a hose, learning to dive into water, the tiny swimming pool where the three of them barely fit, the ball in the eye, the bike and skates they’d ride through the neighborhood, when things got better and we could buy them.  The two dogs we had that formed a part of their teenage years.

It’s the season to play dominoes, or chess or Super Mario on the computer, if it still exists. To watch a movie, go to the theater, read books… Play with a ball, spin spinning tops, sit in a new park. It’s time to be with your family, to talk about things you’ve been putting off, to be happy, to make memories.

They’ll eventually know what it is to work and not have enough money. Or worse yet, maybe they won’t be here anymore, maybe they will emigrate, but these beautiful times they spent with their family will go with them everywhere. You don’t have to have money in your pocket or a car parked in the garage to show them you love them. Tickle your children, hug and kiss them for as long as they let you, because they soon grow up. Take lots of photos too, even if you don’t upload them to Facebook. One day, in the future, they’ll sit to look at them with your grandchildren.

See more from Cuba here on Havana Times

3 thoughts on “It Isn’t the Season for Complaining Here in Cuba

  • Stephen Webster,

    Your observation is correct. Cuban doctors are severely underpaid and that is an understatement. Those Canadian so called “workers” you indicate as homeless and living in tents and better off than Cuban doctors have the Canadian social system to thank for their comparative well being.

    It’s rather ironic that Cuba which professes to be an extreme socialist state would, in its Constitution, ensure none of its inhabitants suffer economic deprivation, yet a Cuban doctor with the meagre wage earned can barely provide sustenance to his/her family. It’s even worse for the general run of the mill Cuban government employee like police officer, teacher, etc.

    Whereas in Canada a free, democratic, left leaning capitalist country has many social programs to ensure its inhabitants do not suffer deprivation and will spend countless amounts of money to feed and clothe these people, plus municipal, provincial, and federal governments will provide medicines and free needles and addiction services for drug addicts living in some of these tent cities you refer.

    These Canadian people whom you say are homeless and living in tents are not necessarily “workers “ but citizens , unfortunately, with deep psychological problems and many turn to drugs becoming addicts consequently too damaged to work. They really can’t be compared to a Cuban doctor in terms of potential economic deprivation.

    The Canadian citizen has all kinds of social supports to alleviate their dire psychological and/or economic plight if they find themselves in dire straits; whereas, the Cuban doctor, healthy, full of vim and vigor has no help from the state in improving his/ her remuneration in order to properly feed the family.

    Stephen your insight is absolutely correct. Today, in Cuba, unfortunately, there are many hungry people and a critical shortage of essential medicines. If those same Canadian workers you refer were living in Cuba they would receive zero help from the socialist government and would simply die on the street. The Cuban government could careless about the ordinary Cuban citizen.

    The Cuban doctor, on the other hand, if living in Canada would profit and proliferate after of course paying off the expensive medical school tuition a freebie in Cuba.

  • I was recently in cuba I see many Hungary people and shortage of basic medicine and other needed items. The workers who are homeless and living in ⛺️ in Canada are much better living situations than doctors in cuba today.

  • You made me realize that I aged. I used to be one of those children running and laughing in the sun or swimming in a little river with nothing more than friends and imagination. It reminds me that when you are a kid you don’t look for the fanciest clothes or the best phone, it maybe depends on the situation, but you’re just happy.

Comments are closed.