Cubans Leaving the Island Aren’t Stupid

By Benjamin Noria

Photo by Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – Every time I sign into Facebook and I see activity in my feed from groups called: Cubans in Russia, Cubans in the Dominican Republic, Cubans in Haiti or Cubans in Spain. I’ve confirmed that the majority of Cubans posting in these groups are asking how to leave Cuba and find a home and job outside the country.

It’s a pity that such a large number of Cubans aspire to leave the country and leave their family and close friends behind so that they can try their luck in other places. They are fleeing from hunger, oppression, and the violence of one of the longest dictatorships in the Americas. People’s desperation to leave is growing, as wages aren’t enough to cover their most basic needs and feed their families.

I know that some Cubans have been arrested when crossing the US-Mexico border. Others take trails with dangerous obstacles that put their lives at risk. There are some people who have managed to get fake documents and some are applying for political asylum in embassies in developed countries. Nobody will be able to stop Cuban emigration. All migrants agree on the basic fact that they aspire to have better opportunities, dignified wages, quality of life and well-being.

The general comment I’ve seen Cubans make on social media is that any country is better than Cuba to live in right now. The economic situation is becoming more and more tense, so much so that goods double in price from one month to the next. There are also lots of shortages of basic essentials.

Cubans no longer believe in the government that governs them. The regime’s corruption has increased. People are being sentenced in court for protesting with excessive charges so as to set an example for others. Meanwhile, the government puts strategies into action such as the Communist Party’s guidelines and economic reforms that continue to paralyze the Cuban economy. Furthermore, the Castro regime hasn’t been looking for solutions to get out of the economic crisis but has instead stepped-up repression and the military’s presence on our streets.

It’s a fact that Cuba’s regime is not going to change its ideology. They won’t renounce their luxuries or recognize that they are barricade politicans. What’s more, in spite of 62 years of economic and political failures, they still continue to tell the Cuban people that they are victims of the US economic blockade. That country has carried the burden of Cuba’s tragic fate.

I have seen many analysts and mercenary experts who work for the Castro’s appear on the nightly Mesa Redonda TV show broadcast on Cuban TV. They routinely demonize the capitalist system and try to persuade potential emigrants about this system’s flaws. However, they are not fooling anybody.

With all its imperfections, capitalism is the system that has been the closest to satisfying humans’ biological and spiritual needs. I believe that Cuban migrants aren’t stupid. None of them would risk dying in caravans and trying to cross the border if it weren’t for the jobs, wages and better living conditions that this system offers them.

Read more from Benjamin Noria in Cuba here.

8 thoughts on “Cubans Leaving the Island Aren’t Stupid

  • Migration is not a new phenomenon. Since in the past Cubans have difficulties to travel abroad it may be very attractive now to see what is life in a non-communist country. Blaming the Cuban system for this it’s quite far-fetched.
    UK ex-patriots may adore the UK and are very proud of their organisation. But the weather!! So they go to Andalucia and have a fantastic time.
    We migrants look for a better quality of life, a better job, freedom , following someone, leave what we know for something different. Sometimes it is just about feeling more confortable in another community.

  • The comment made several times about emigration being common throughout the world is quite true. The difference between what happens elsewhere in the world and what happens in Cuba is marked by degree. Only a handful of countries have nearly 20% of their people living abroad. Cuba is among the countries in world with the largest expat community. Another difference are the reasons why Cubans leave. Few Cubans who have migrated have done so as a first choice. Most Cubans would gladly return to their birth country if their lives were better in Cuba.

  • Olga, To politely answer your question, I have to say that I am not aware of any emigration from South to North Korea. I must admit that I’ve never been to either of the Koreas so I’m no expert. Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to visit the Koreas.
    If I so, I will let you know about what I see there.
    I do know of people moving to live and work in China. That’s because China has a relatively successful economy. In fact one of my son’s relatives emigrated from the U.K. to China.
    As you probably know, China is a one party state.
    That one party is called the Communist Party.
    I can 100% assure you that my son’s relative that I mention is not a Communist.
    He just likes China. So he lives there. He has a job there. My son went to visit him. He seems very happy there.
    As I say – people emigrate for many different reasons. The majority of people who emigrate to Capitalist countries emigrate from other Capitalist countries. That’s a plain and simple fact.

  • Nick, people are migrating since the beginning of the human evolution. But I’m not going to spin anything here just ask you. How many people you think would immigrate from South Korea to North Korea?
    I remember after the 1973 bloody coup’Eta in Chile a lot leftist. Chileans went to Cuba the working class parade, the Cuban dictatorship gave them priority ver the Cubano they were accommodated in Houses Apts, rights to shops in stores that Cubans had not access and more. By 1990 only few of them stayed in the “paradise” sone of them for families ties after the dictator Pinochet had the dignified gesture to put his government in a Referendum ( A GESTURE THAT THE CUBAN DICTATORSHIP NEVER WOULD DO) today if you find a Chilean living in Cuba is a miracle. So capitalism is not perfect but everything that humans had try as social and economic system it’s been a failure.

  • And FREEDOM people who leave Cuba are looking for freedom

  • When i heard that the spouse of an acquaintance in Bayamo had gone to Venezuela to do nursing , I was stunned initially and thought why there, the economy is in collapse, the prices are steep, the conditions for foreign workers is deplorable, their treatment and in fact Venezuelans by millions have fled.
    But the family explained to me “any thing is better than here”.

  • A very interesting article which describes the flow of Cubans from the island to other parts of the world.
    The article has one very large and very obvious flaw:
    Each year people leave Cuba. They emigrate.
    But emigration is not specific to Cuba. This is one aspect of a much wider picture of emigration which occurs and always has occurred throughout the world.
    People emigrate for many reasons – to seek opportunity, to expand horizons, basic curiosity, to live in a warmer climate, to flee repression, to flee war zones, to flee boredom, to live with someone from another place, to flee family situations, to flee debts etc etc. There are infinite reasons why people may wish to emigrate.
    The most common stimulus for emigration is the understandable desire to leave one of the poorer parts of the world for one of the richer parts of the world in order to increase one’s chances of a more comfortable life.
    The article describes the perceived benefits of capitalism versus non-capitalism.
    A perfectly valid point.
    But the article’s large and blatantly obvious flaw is that it fails to state that the vast majority of emigration is from poorer, failing capitalist countries to richer, more successful capitalist countries.
    This flaw is perfectly understandable. The author of the article wishes to point to emigration in order to illustrate the failures of the Cuban system and to illustrate the relative merits of capitalism.
    No problem with this as a viewpoint.
    However, the author should know that the wider picture of emigration is just as easily used to illustrate the inherent failures and inequalities of wealth and opportunity within the global capitalist system.

    It really just depends which way one wishes to spin it.

  • Great article. I also would add in addition to the economic struggles, the need for basic human rights is a factor in Cubans wanting to escape. The LGBT are being persecuted again. Artist, bloggers and journalists are also targeted and jailed. The regime has been terrible for civil rights. People want out.

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