Talking about Cuba

Rosa Martinez

Photo: Elio Delgado

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 22 — Several days ago I read a comment online saying that, except for people who receive family remittances from overseas, all Cubans are starving, with young people appearing to have come out of concentration camps and it being rare to find an obese person on the island.

Anyone who has visited the island at some time has certainly noted that the economic situation of the average Cuban is poor and that the median wage isn’t enough to satisfy the basic needs of households.

Those from here and abroad know that Cubans are veritable magicians, because that’s what it really takes to survive a whole month on 350 pesos (about $14 USD). This is what we rely on to buy additional [unsubsidized] food as well as toiletries, clothes and needed footwear, without even mentioning household appliances – which have now moved into the realm of utopia.

It’s a fact that much of the housing here is in poor condition since repairs cost an arm and a leg.
It’s also true that social differences are becoming increasingly perceptible between those who have family members overseas (as well as those who have completed internationalist missions) and those who have to live off of their modest wages, including professionals.

Photo: Elio Delgado

Even though it hurts to admit it, we should recognize that the quality of educational and health care services — two of the great conquests of the revolution — have declined over the past ten years, despite major investments made in these important social spheres.

However, no one that’s touches foot on the island can say that Cubans are living cadavers.

To guarantee three square meals a day is a monumental task and it is increasingly difficult for parents to offer a balanced diet to their children. But it’s precisely our diets — loaded with carbohydrates and sugars — that are keeping Cubans obese.

So…my friend, if you want to speak badly of Cubans you’ll have to look for another argument, one that’s more believable.