Is Cuba a Country for Young People?

A group of young people sitting on the wall of the Malecón in Havana. (14ymedio)

The regime acts with the same psychopathy as the character of Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem in the movie ‘No Country for Old Men’

By Yunior García Aguilera 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – I’ve rewatched the brilliant Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men. The 2007 thriller tells the story of a hunter who finds two million dollars and decides to run away with the money, while being pursued by a relentless hit man. The plot is completed by the county sheriff, who ends up baffled and skeptical of a reality that he can no longer understand.

At the end of the film, I thought a lot about Cuba, about the growing violence in a country where everything remains the same, although nothing is the same anymore. I have thought about how the Revolution tried to sell a narrative of itself that ended up as a cliché, in a crude parody of Animal Farm. I have imagined the possible endings of something that was intended to be an epic saga, but ended up as a soap opera: an exhausted model that is endlessly recycled, producing increasingly mediocre and decadent versions of the same failure.

Even those flags that were once arrogantly raised have ended up in rubble. Education, for example, has been reduced to simple indoctrination, and social networks demonstrate it. Our spelling is no better than the most backward nations in the region. The Ministers of Education and Higher Education were among the few removed in the recent parliamentary circus.

Their dismissal is even more significant considering that the others, although they could not have done worse, retained their positions. The tweets of the highest leaders are embarrassing. The first secretary of the Union of Young Communists has written the phrase “Fidel didn’t told them” five times, demonstrating not only the absence of her own ideas, but also an absolute contempt for the most elementary grammar.

Healthcare, meanwhile, suffers the worst crisis in its history. In 2021 we saw 55,000 more Cubans die than in the previous year, due to the Covid pandemic and its mismanagement. In hospitals there is nothing to treat the most common ailments. I have relatives who have had cardboard taped to a broken arm, because there is no cast. Suicide is among the top ten causes of death, even though the regime uses the euphemism “self-inflicted injuries.”

Meanwhile, the much-vaunted vaccines ended up being another Ten Million Harvest, an excessive expense that affected the rest of the production of medicines and that did not yield the expected results at the international level. More than an honest interest in confronting the pandemic, the Cuban vaccines tried to be a political weapon, although they never hit the target they were aiming for. In the end, they were neither fully recognized on a global scale, nor were they sufficient to satisfy domestic demand. The country had to acquire the Chinese vaccine from Sinopharm to combine it with a Soberana [Sovereign], no longer so sovereign.

The Cuban regime acts with the same psychopathy and violence as the character of Chigurh, masterfully interpreted by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. More than once Castroism has decided if someone lives or dies, if they go to jail or exile, as if it were tossing a coin. We are the country with the most political prisoners in all of Latin America. There are hundreds of Cubans who are prevented from leaving and many others who are denied the right to return.

Cuba is a land without law, where the “president” assures that his decrees are a “joke.” The hand-picked office-holder has also said that the separation of powers is an evil of the capitalist countries and that is why they practice the “unity of powers.” The courts are simple lambs that obey the guidelines of the single party, they are puppets in the hands of ventriloquists.

Fidel Castro, the greatest scriptwriter of the tragedy we suffered, has not been and will not be absolved by History. He wanted to blame José Martí for being the mastermind of his fight, but evidently he looked elsewhere for inspiration. One of the last paragraphs of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, literally says: “The judges of this State can calmly condemn us for our actions; but History, which is the embodiment of a higher truth and a better right, will one day despise this sentence, to absolve us of all guilt.”

That’s why our young people flee. They do not want a future that is reduced to clapping or being locked up. But neither do they want to face the beast, only to later fall victim, as in the film, to the extras that swarm on social networks, even attacking brave men like Luis Manuel Otero.

Cuba, definitely, is not a country for young people.

Translated by Translating Cuba


Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

14 thoughts on “Is Cuba a Country for Young People?

  • Chas,
    I don’t have time to review all the videos you recommend.
    I do want to respond to one statement you made:

    “ I don’t know why Cuba has this lack of food problem, but some Cubans are trying to do something about it.”

    To the latter part of your statement, absolutely, the ordinary majority of Cubans are trying their earnest on a daily basis to rectify their abysmal economic situation, but because of the intransigence, incompetence, ineptness, power hungry totalitarian rulers who simply refuse to change their unproductive ways so that inertia transpires, at the end of the day you end up with a clear answer to the former part of your statement: “ . . . why Cuba has this lack of food problem. “

    I don’t know whether you have read George Orwell’s literary masterpiece “Animal Farm”. If you have not, I highly recommend you read it. It is a metaphorical take on how totalitarian governments come to power, seduce their people without them even being aware of what is transpiring until it is too late.

    You should enjoy the read because Mr. Orwell brilliantly uses innocent farm animals as his protagonists to illustrate his point. It captures the Cuban political situation and its relationship with ordinary Cubans to a T. Enjoy.

  • Thanks Stephen for your thoughtful reply. Here’s another video with less Castro. I like that these people are working hard to solve the lack of food problem. They are working together and they are smart and serious. Cuba is the world leader in organic agriculture and this is something to be proud of. I think this is the video that shows that Cuba is one of the last places in the world where honey bees thrive and the country is increasing its honey production. People seem to get caught up in politics and develop a defeatist attitude from it. I don’t know why Cuba has this lack of food problem, but some Cubans are trying to do something about it.

  • Chas
    I had a look at the video link you provided. Thanks for that.

    Don’t know if in your visit to Cuba you watched Cuban television. Invariably on Cuban T.V interspersed between programs throughout the entire day there are vignettes of black and white footage of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in their “triumphant” overthrow of the Batista regime during the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

    The propaganda Ministry constantly reminds its citizens of the “heroic” Revolution against the imperialistic foreigners living some 90 miles to the north. To the autocrats in power: repeat, remind, repeat, remind . . . .

    The video you provided would fit in perfectly in Cuba on Cuban TV. It begins with vignettes of Fidel Castro and company in the mountains in military fatigues demonstrating to the world that revolutionary overthrow is to be celebrated and its consequences, that is, communism or socialism is to be praised and fervently practiced.

    As Olgaistamales rightly observed a propaganda video by communist Cuba comes instantly to mind. Why have this propaganda footage in an “agricultural” video to begin with? Anyone viewing this video would ask the same question. Those intimately aware of Cuban history then and now will be able to spot Cuban propaganda a mile away.

    Chas, there are some informative aspects of the video. It’s central thesis is organic farming with no use of pesticides. That is a good thing. However, because of limited production on Cuban farms and lack of essential inputs like gasoline to name only one, plus major mistakes/ineptitude of central autocratic agricultural authorities, Cuba today cannot produce enough food to feed itself. Whose fault is that?

    Chas, how is that even possible if the country is located in the best agricultural area in the entire world? Yet, Cuba today struggles to feed itself.

    The Vietnamese agricultural experts there recently to provide assistance, according to a HT recent article, left the country because of the apparent hopelessness of the Cuban agricultural sector. Major revisions need to be implemented; however, the calcified totalitarian government blinded by its own propaganda continues in its downward spiral.

    Chas, as you know and have seen, Cuba is a rich country with massive potential; unfortunately, it has and continues to be run to the ground by years and years of incompetence and ineptitude by the highest autocratic decision makers. So, can you now see how after years and years of colosal collapse, Cuban youth in the thousands have had enough and vote with their feet towards freedom.

  • Chas, obviously this is a propaganda video.nade by dreamers leftists or just naïve people used by the Cuban dictatorship the fact that this documentary said the Cuban was an impoverished country is a lie Cuba was the 4th economy in the Western hemisphere USA,Canada,Brazil, and Cuba in that order check the UN 1958 database if you don’t believe me. Besides not every young person want to work in as farmer needless to say without freedom and humans rights. The fact that Cuban dictatorship in 2017 made a propaganda about its great agricultural development says a lot and it show how the dictatorship has turned Thea prosperous country in a Feudal state without the most basic humans rights. The Cuban people lives under a horrendous dictatorship to keep the dream of people like you alive.

  • Chas:

    You stated: “There are many good videos of Cuban agriculture on Youtube.” Really – Youtube videos?

    Are those what you use to provide, according to you, credibility to such nonsensical assertions as “ Cuba is the land of opportunity for young people”. Absolutely bizarre.

    Chas, Havana Times, is an open-minded platform that prides itself in providing verifiable, real, authentic, factual information so that its readers can make intelligent informative conclusions. Youtube videos as evidence may work well in dream like, fantasy, cat videos but are not taken seriously when trying to argue on serious political matters.

    Chas, if you strongly feel your arguments hold convincing merit, please provide the links to these so called “Youtube videos” that purport your assertions so that they can be scrutinized.

    Until then, as both Olgasintamales and Carlyle MacDuff have clearly schooled you, your assertions are fanciful, dreamlike, and definitely not based on reality whether you refer to Cuba or Haiti. Perhaps a visit to a reputable library where you live and reading some history and about these two impoverished Latin American countries will certainly edify and broaden your present limited, misinformed knowledge.

    Let me take you to task with regard to another statement you made. “… farmers did own their oxen and they were free to sell them to other farmers and buy other animals from them.” This as you state occurred in Pinar de Rio 10 years ago on your “visit”.

    Cuban farm A who you state allegedly “own” their oxen sold them to Cuban farmer B. Let’s assume that some version of that occurred. What you fail to realize is “to sell” in Cuba is not the same as “to sell” in Western countries. Yes, the oxen traded feed lots and became the property of farmer B, but here is where you are misinformed. The “title” to that oxen whether it is in the hands of Cuban farmer A or B rests entirely with the totalitarian, communist state. Both farmers at the end of the day are indentured to the state.

    Absolutely they can buy, trade, exchange farm assets at will; however, at the end of the transaction the state has and will always have “title” to that asset. And heaven hope that nothing unfortunate happens to that oxen and it comes to light either Cuban farmer A or Cuban farmer B neglected care causing the oxen to perish. Jail time to the guilty party or parties for sure.

    Perhaps the farmer(s), you allegedly spoke to in Pinar de Rio, failed to enlighten you about “title” and of the consequences of neglectfully losing livestock. That scenario, my friend, does not occur in Western countries’ farming community.

    In Western countries, farmer A sells cattle to farmer B, farmer B takes possession, and most importantly, legal “title” to the cattle. Farmer B can do as he pleases with his newly possessed cattle, he can milk it, butcher it, resell it, even make valueless videos and sell them on Youtube! The choice is his and his only to make.

  • Chas Cuban is not Haiti never was. But they are more Cubans living in Haiti now and not Haitian would move to Cuba. If you are a a dated leftists I know is impossible for you that Cuban regime is failed state the only thing that works in Cuba is the repression and obviously propaganda for people like you. Cubans are immigrating to every country in the World not only to the industrialized countries but all over Latino America in the last two years over 7,000 Cubans had chosen Uruguay as the new home. I’m telling you this for you to have an idea about the economic situation and the lack of freedom of your ideal country. It must be very nice to support the horrendous Cuban dictatorship but living in Berkeley Ca.

  • Yes I was in Cuba, 10 years ago and I did visit farms in Pinar del Rio. At the time, farmers did own their oxen and they were free to sell them to other farmers and buy other animals from them. There are many good videos of Cuban agriculture on Youtube. Those city gardens are impressive. Should be good opportunities for young Cubans to get jobs in urban gardens. Help your country while producing food for your family. You are wasting your lives going to the USA looking for work because there will only be repetitive jobs in the rat race. Soon you will be deep in debt and need two or three jobs. When I was in Cuba I met people who had been to the US and hated the life they found there and couldn’t wait to return to Cuba.

  • Chas demonstrates that ignorance about the reality of Cuba, still abounds.

    Thank you Stephen for giving an appropriate response.

    Chas’ comment that Haiti represents capitalism is further evidence of ignorance of reality.

    Don’t bother apologizing Chas, just study GDPs.

  • Chas:
    You state: “ Cuba is the land of opportunity for young people “. Is that so?

    Chas, have you ever visited Cuba, perhaps ever spoken to a few young Cubans? Have you had the opportunity to visit a Cuban farm perhaps even spoken to a Cuban farmer?

    Your post clearly indicates you have not. For your edification, farming in Cuba is not at all like farming in the U.S, or Canada, or Europe. A Cuban farmer owns zero on the farm s/he happens to be working. In Cuba the communist totalitarian state owns all the means of production on the farm. That bucket of milk milked does not belong to the farmer but to the state. That horse belongs, and will always belong, to the state.

    What that means, Chas, is that cow you milk or that team of oxen you wish to drive are the sole property of the communist state and not yours. You can lend them but never own. Unlike in Western countries where the farm and all its inputs are either directly or indirectly – mortgage to a bank – sole owned by the farmer or corporation. In Cuba any production garnered from your hard toil must be sold to the state at whatever price they deem fit whether you like it or not. Take it or leave it.

    So, Chas, young Cubans whether they have agricultural ambitions or otherwise have overwhelmingly decided to “leave it” – their beloved homeland – in droves, understandably. No young Cuban after having watched grandparents and parents be exploited and indentured in the Cuban workforce wants to continue this economically depressing cycle.

    Chas, young Cubans through social media know exactly what economic freedom means outside the island and so they just like you relish the notion of freedom and the opportunity that this freedom provides for the betterment of themselves and their families.

    You state: “ Young people are needed in Cuba . . .”. You are absolutely correct in that assertion. However, most young Cubans today certainly love their country but are not willing to blindly follow in the footsteps of their forefathers following empty propaganda state slogans and suffering horrendous economic hardships. Enough is enough.

    Chas, perhaps the question we should all be asking is when will this Cuban communist state change its wayward ways so that young Cubans need not leave their homeland in droves and can contribute to the prosperity, on the farm or otherwise, that all Cubans desire. When?

  • Cuba is the land of opportunity for young people. If I were a young Cuban I’d become a farmer. I’d try to catch on with a farm family to help them. Especially, I would learn to drive a team of oxen. Young people are needed in Cuba and some will realize that and find a place in the economy. If the Canadians feel guilty about visiting Cuba because of socialism, I suggest they go to Haiti and check out that capitalist island.

  • Not supporting “their tourism” is misguided. I think it should be rephrased to say “don’t support the regime’s tourism.” I don’t stay in Government hotels, only Casas. I am sure there are ways I am providing support to the government, and of course they tax the Casa owners, but I think tourism and capitalism is what could get Cubans out of this condition.

  • Marilyn Coad:
    I am afraid Canadians who wish to visit Cuba are caught between a rock and a hard place. What do I mean?

    On one hand any tourist who visits Cuba particularly those who lodge in the ubiquitous number of resort hotels do in fact support the totalitarian Cuban government. There is no way around that unfortunate fact. The ordinary Cuban, aside from the few fortunate Cuban workers who work in these resorts, see no benefit from the tourist dollar. As your post clearly demonstrates, the majority of Cuban families are suffering needlessly.

    On the other hand, tourists who visit Cuba and decide to lodge with a Cuban family who runs an entrepreneurial business called “casa particular“ are in fact putting some much needed money directly in the pockets of ordinary Cubans. Is the money received sufficient? Probably not given the horrendous rise in inflation on food prices and the rising cost of basic day to day necessities.

    So in the final analysis do tourists visiting Cuba help or hinder the ordinary Cuban family? For tourists to completely abandon Cuba would simply be cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face. Those poor entrepreneurial Cubans with bedrooms to rent would suffer tremendously in economic terms. Canadians, or any tourist from wherever, financially help the Cuban landlord and most tourists make lifelong friends sending money to them as you perhaps do.

    I disagree with your posture for tourists not to visit Cuba. In my estimation not visiting makes things worse for the ordinary Cuban entrepreneur trying his/her best to keep his/her family economically afloat.

    Plus, many tourists go to Cuba with medicines and other basic necessities not available anywhere on the island. These much appreciated gifts are a god send for people in desperation. We should not abandon our Cuban friends in dire need but inform ourselves how and by what means we can collectively help those Cubans most in need.

    Kudos to you for supporting a Cuban family. If all tourists when they arrive home offer the same kindness, more Cuban families will not need to suffer needlessly on account of an intransigent, insensitive, unaccountable, unresponsive, totalitarian government.

  • It’s a crying shame and it seems Cuba will not accept help. Their pride is always of the utmost and the entire country will go down with just that “pride”. We support a beautiful family who have no medicines and such a shortage of food. It frustrates me to no end that they must live in these deplorable conditions, no water, no electricity No everything. You can be assured the higher Government officials are not experiencing any of the hardships. I truly wish Canadians would wake up and not support their tourism.

Comments are closed.