Cienfuegos in the Rain

By Jetzabel

A rainy day in Cienfuegos, Cuba

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.

Read more from people in Cuba in our diary posts.

6 thoughts on “Cienfuegos in the Rain

  • What keeps Cuba starving is can incompetent political system based upon 19th century thinking. Marx/Engels as interpreted by Lenin, as re-modelled by Stalin, as adopted in 1953 by Raul Castro, as implemented by Fidel Castro in 1959 and suffered by the people of Cuba for sixty one dreary years. The US embargo is but a useful excuse for the Castro regime for all its failures.

    Although blessed with abundant good productive land, the communist system annually produces plans approved by the Poder Popular when enjoying the fleshpots of Havana and the delights of Revolution Square, which plans inevitably fail, while that good land reverts into bush.

    That is why Cubans go hungry.

  • Its so sad that whats keeping Cuba starving is Cubanamericans in Florida. Senator Rubio and his friends stepping on our island while kissing China and Russia, this two are the USA enemy, not Cuba.

  • What a heart rendering story….you are a brilliant writer ….I live in cfgs when ever I come to Cuba ….pls can we connect on messenger?i am a songwriter…I am coming dec 15….frank dalton cfgs….

  • Hi jetzabel!great article!i feel for you!i love cuba and the Cuban people!but something has to give!cuban society can not keep going on this way!something has to change from up above in the Cuban government!there has to more dialog with the Us!it’s only 90 miles off the coast of key west florida!the us is the richest and most power country in the world!all the best!

  • The very sad reality, reflecting over sixty years of Castro controlled “progress”.

  • Hello Zetjabel I think you write from the heart I believe in what your concerns are about your homeland it is sad to see your beliefs thorn apart by a government who actually is selling out its own people for the sake of the mighty dollar it’s not enough what Christopher Columbus did to the indegineous people of you land he committed the worse crimes against humanity that ever existed I don’t want to go any further thank you Jesse

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