HAVANA TIMES – Everything has gone backwards in the city of Cienfuegos over the past six decades. It has become nothing but a shadow of what it was planned to be. Don Luis d’Clouet would be turning in his grave. The exhausted city is slipping away. Locals come and go, without a voice, lost in this city crying out for a push forward, a simple gesture of love,
Known as the Pearl of the South, this metropolis of yesteryear was always the apple of its residents’ eye, because of its almost perfect design in its meticulous plans. Boasting a cleanliness that was critically acclaimed nationwide, its buildings were designed with a hint of French style inherited from its founders, and its coastline hugs the southern sea wall. With highly developed industry, it became one of the most industrialized cities on the island at the time…
Years passed by, and so did its local administrations, some with better intentions than others. Walking around Cienfuegos today is a huge shock to history. Its decadent streets, falling buildings, beautiful but polluted coastline, bad smells that invade it, open garbage dumpsters full of flies. Propaganda posters in favor of a lost ideal are still present.
Cienfuegos has suffered a metamorphosis
The saddest thing of all though, is seeing the look of disillusionment in the eyes of passers-by. Robots in the day-to-day business which is what life is here today. Old people keep quiet while young people shout out PLEASE! at the top of their lungs, to a merciless listener who plays deaf.
This part of Cuba which promised more and more glory when it was founded, has suffered a metamorphosis. What used to be industries, iconic buildings, renowned streets, idyllic beaches, are ruins today, or memories in people’s memory.
A friend told me that “you live death in this country.” I couldn’t put it any other way! Everybody wants to leave to wherever they can nowadays, so they can improve their lives. Or at least have a dignified life as a human being.
They seek a life that doesn’t only revolve around the agonizing thought of wages that aren’t enough to pay for anything. Or about what they are going to eat. There is practically nothing in stores, unless they are in the controversial ones where you pay in US dollars.
At these stores you must pay in a currency that put thousands behind bars just a few decades ago. The currency that virtually no Cuban professional has in their pocket. Cubans have to invent ways of being able to buy the most basic products in one of these stores.
The Glass Border
I was on the receiving end of a bad joke recently. A few days ago, I was walking down the streets of this city I live in and I noticed personal hygiene and food items were in a glass window. A striking occurrence nowadays because of how quickly these things vanish off store shelves.
I ran in to “buy”. However, five words culled my excitement. “This store only sells in dollars,” the sales assistant said. It was like a heavy blow. The money my work pays me in is just toilet paper here. It’s even sadder to see children when they see a candy or food they like in the shop window and they quickly ask their parents to please buy it.
BLESS INNOCENCE! The mother or father just lowers their head and powers on…
Everything has gone backwards in the city of Cienfuegos over the past six decades. It has become nothing but a shadow of what it had been planned to be. Don Luis d’Clouet would be turning in his grave.
The exhausted city is slipping away. Locals come and go, without a voice, lost in this City crying out for a push, a simple gesture of love.