An Exile in Your Own Country

By Abraham

Communist Party leaders like economy czar Marino Murillo live a fat cat life while the general population suffers in long lines to survive.

HAVANA TIMES – No exile is worse than being in your Homeland and feeling like you’ve been kicked out. It’s heartbreaking to see how we just don’t matter to those in power. Jose Marti’s “with everyone and for everyone’s wellbeing” is now a thing of the past. What happened?

Sugar cane is no longer the same; our coffee has lost its aroma; our smiles have turned into grimaces. Our children are just about surviving in poverty. All we do is watch with our mouths shut and our hearts bleeding.

Our Cuba has suffered Kafka’s “metamorphosis”. How? The well-off that the regime said it was going to “get rid of”, has only changed their name: leaders. They make decisions, selling themselves off as men of the people, while living a life worthy of emperors. They have no idea what it’s like to live off an average Cuban wage for 30 days a month. Nor do they know what a never-ending line is to buy a bar of soap.

A profile of our “leaders”

The “leaders” travel around in cars with blackout windows, and we will never see them walking down these streets that have become a jungle. They are restoring a provincial government building in Cienfuegos (the city where I live). They have allocated all kinds of resources to “touch up” this iconic building.

But why are they using resources for this?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to repair the city’s streets, full of potholes, sewage and garbage? The 21st century well-to-do control everything and have everything at their disposal. They have endless resources for repairing and/or building whatever they want to. While those of us at the bottom of the social ladder, can only watch and keep quiet. It’s sad to watch your city fall to pieces. Projects that begin, only to end up unfinished and become part of the city’s ugly landscape.

Cuba is in survival mode. Where you go out like a hunter looking for food. Watching people insult each other in long lines outside stores is embarrassing. People who sleep for days outside supermarket entrances is perhaps one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

However, something makes the heart ache a little more: anonymity. In Cuba, there is persecution of “those who think differently”, and it’s very well-disguised. The people who don’t exactly think differently, but tell the truth. The worst of ordeals awaits them if they are “detected”.

They are kicked out of their jobs, no matter what they do. Likewise, any office paperwork they need is made impossible for them. From getting ahead in their profession, to building a home or leaving the country. Recently, a doctor spoke up on social media and was kicked out of his job.

It’s dangerous to be right

This situation fits in with a phrase by Voltaire: “It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” They think that we will lower our heads in the face of threats and injustice. That will never happen, not in my case anyway.        

I am writing this article so that you can know what is really going on here on the island. I run the risk of being discovered, losing my job and God knows what else…

No exile is worse than being in your country and feeling like you’ve been kicked out. Moreover, that you don’t count for anything, and that only a small minority are favored. If we keep quiet and really pay close attention, we can hear sobbing. It’s our Homeland, it’s grieving. 

Read more from Cuba here.


11 thoughts on “An Exile in Your Own Country

  • November 17, 2020 at 1:41 am
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    I agree with Carlyle. Cubans don’t even imagine the same freedoms anymore. The right to speak freely to my Cuban friends and family is less important than the right to earn a living. The right to vote is viewed as a burden while the right to own your own car is a dream. Three generations of Castro dictatorship have distorted Cuban priorities.

  • November 12, 2020 at 10:59 am
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    In a brief response to Stephen. Can he refer to a single incidence of any of the Cuban TV or radio stations mentioning Guido? Secondly as one who has Cuban friends on social media – including not only relatives and friends in the medical, legal and educational professions, but a couple of fairly sound intellectual ability who sometimes write in these pages, I have yet to see any discussion about or mention of Guido. I would add that when not in Cuba I am in daily contact through Facebook Messenger.

    Stephen is correct in saying that I do not know those to whom he refers, nor have I observed any similar. My observations regarding the effects upon Cuban processes of thought as a consequence of of life-long indoctrination remain.

    In response to the suggestion that I do not comprehend that others have different views that do not align with my own about Cuba, ask Nick, dani, Curt et al.

  • November 11, 2020 at 6:02 pm
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    “The ordinary Cubans to whom Stephen refers know little if anything of Guido, how would they?”

    How do you know that for a fact, Carlyle? How would they? How about social media. The social media my Cuban friends access gives them enough information for them to make very intelligent discussions about what is transpiring in Venezuela, and they do refer to Guido. Perhaps that is a complete revelation to you.

    Again, Carlyle, you interpret what I write from your Cuban perspective. Other regular visitors to the island occasionally have Cuban perspectives that don’t necessarily align with your views, nor analysis.

    I write from the knowledge I acquire from my interaction with Cubans that obviously you do not know. The Cubans I interact with have access to information to the outside world from social media that is available to all Cubans. Now, they don’t have access to sophisticated Internet connection, I know that, they know that, and you know that. But it is sufficient available access to give them some degree of political perspective when synthesized with other news media, like Cuban news reports.

    Cubans do have access to some Internet information and it is not hard for the intellectually savvy to piece together what is going on in Venezuela including the key participant players, including Guido. How about Cuban nightly news information? Do the nightly news reports not mention how Guido has failed and that Maduro continues to be in power. Every nightly Cuban news report has a segment about what is transpiring in Venezuela. The ordinary Cubans I know watch and listen and make up their own minds.

    Any knowledgeable and astute Cuban who is interested in Venezuelan politics and watches the censored and bias Cuban news media knows that Guido is an opposition leader. These are the Cuban “ordinary” intellectuals I speak with and interact with and base my writing. So, in fact, they know more about Guido than you give them credit. Moreover, they would probably be insulted in your insinuation about your claim to their perceived political ignorance.

    It is surprising as someone like you who professes to know so much about Cuba and Cubans that you fail to understand how sophisticated some ordinary Cubans can be in obtaining information, synthesizing information and reaching a coherent conclusion from social media, and thereafter be able to carry on intellectually stimulating conversations about world politics based on their limited social media exposure.

    Yes, Carlyle, it does happen in Cuba, perhaps not in your Cuban sphere.

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