HAVANA TIMES – My partner and I were walking down the streets just off of Cienfuegos’ boulevard, looking for our everyday bread. Stores were closed, which is something that only happens after 5 PM in Cuba. We confirmed that bread wasn’t being made.
I saw great nostalgia in my boyfriend’s eyes. There were old people and ordinary people, from rural areas (and your normal “line-sitters”) sitting down, taking their place in line. Some were snoozing on benches. It was 9 PM or so. Twelve hours to get chicken.
A night like any other, heavy and time-worn. I was wearing the same sandals I wear to go and work at the university. How sad – we said – and we carried on walking… “anyone with a car right now,” “just think, we’re doctors and look at what we earn,” “when will we be able to live together, in an apartment let’s say, because rents take your entire payslip.” Patience, baby – I said to my boyfriend – better times are surely coming…
But when?… That’s the question I always ask myself. It’s the storm and inner debate that swims around in my mind, for as long as I have been aware. It hurts so much to see this infertile Homeland, submissive in grief, that it doesn’t even have the will to live… bah… Plus, what can I say about well-stocked dollar stores? They are the other face of the Cuban Government, the two-fold excuse, the two-fold lie.
Blockades and blockades
It is painful to see those who can go in and buy. But… where do they get so much money from? How can the government allow the currency that colonized us and ended our indigenous history, back into our lives? How do they dare to look at the other side of things, which according to the highest authorities “blockades us.”
Meanwhile, I would also like a logical response for the blockade that a glass window imposes on me. A crisis with shelves full of personal hygiene and disinfectant products, food and even luxury perfume. A ridiculous blockade. Then, I deduce that there is one.
Just like there are lies that string together. Like there are promises of pay rises for public sector employees, which won’t solve anything. Because the State’s alleged socialist benevolence clouds over with exorbitant prices from private sector workers. The same people who pay their taxes to the State, ironically enough. The leitmotif is never-ending.
We are living in a lifeless society, that has been paralyzed for centuries. Moving forward without a wind flag on a pole. We walk with COVID-19 masks on, looking one another in the eye. So, where are we heading?
The rainy, grey Cienfuegos provincial afternoon, now etches itself onto my face. My bone-thin face, hungry for justice, peeps out of the front door, squinting to discern a path forward.