Staying Power in Cuba

Rosa Martinez

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, 31 julio — I imagine that at some moment in our lives almost all of us have wanted to disappear, die or at least be far from our job, our house, the neighborhood, our family and even our friends.

The weak ones quit their jobs when their bosses try to make their existence as miserable as possible, or even when things just aren’t going as they expected.  They move out of their neighborhood after an argument with some neighbor.  They abandon their children when their relationship as a couple has reached the depth of unbearableness; or they leave of the country when the economic problems at home seem insurmountable.

The strong ones don’t.  The strong ones stand up to their bosses and those co-workers they have to face.  We stand our ground to demonstrate to them that we’re better workers than those who pretend to be, or to correct things when we’ve made mistakes.

The strong ones walk through the neighborhood though their neighbors look at them with disrespect, branding them weakling, degenerate, or — in the worst case — gusano (literally a “maggot,” meaning a counter-revolutionary in Cuba).

The strong ones are those who stay when the country’s economy collapses or when the hope for some improvement seems to have disappeared forever.  When everyone says the sole salvation is to leave for another corner of the planet, the strong ones stay after everyone else has gone.

Only they who have suffered harassment, humiliation, scorn and slander from those closest to them know how difficult it is to stay, but they also know how good it feels when in the end we find out that that there are thousands upon thousands of the weak, but that we’re not one of them.


3 thoughts on “Staying Power in Cuba

  • Burgess I do not think your generalization is correct. In fact nothing is more detached from the truth.

    I believe specially that the reason that any American government has not gotten into Cuba is precisely because of Cuban Americans. The shield Cuba had all this time is precisely all the Cubans here.

  • I think the ones who have stayed behind deserve all the respect in the world,on the other hand the so called Cuban A mericans are hoping Tio Sam will do their dirty work for them and deserve no respect.

  • Rosa strong or weak are not the correct words in this case.
    I could argue that those that stayed back in cuba are the weak ones. Because they let themselves to be ordered around. Because they have no lead of their own, Because they are afraid of loosing the little they have. Because they are afraid of the unknown.
    Because the are used to following commands and orders like sheep.

    So you see that your strong and weak are not the right terms?
    It seems to me that the “gusanos” in this case did not want to live this kind of life. And it appear that they are the strong ones.
    Now if you tell me that you are strong because you will stand up against the things you believe wrong even when it goes against the grain and the commands from above, because you will do it no matter the cost to you even if they place you in prison then my hat off to you.

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