The Guantanamo Heat

Rosa Martinez

Park in Guantanamo, Cuba. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Recently I heard an item on the television news that left me open-mouthed.  According to the reporter, Granma is the hottest province in Cuba due to its geographic position, since the sun’s ultraviolet rays reach this territory with greater intensity.

I don’t doubt the reporter from Granma in any way, but if that’s true, there mustn’t be anyone left living in that province, since here in Guantánamo, which apparently isn’t even the second hottest after the oven of Santiago, no one can stand the elevated temperatures.

It’s so hot that it feels like the Sun King is using all his forces to punish us one way or another.  Those who live here and those who have visited us during the months of July and August know exactly what I’m talking about: a sun that’s hotter than any other, sucking the desire to work out of even the most laborious and robbing the sleep from the most exhausted.

To explain to you what one feels these days in Guantanamo’s territory, I can tell you what my daughter Giselle did just a few days ago.

We had just returned home following a long walk and were trying to cool off the best we could.

“It’s so hot!” my child declared in desperation as she approached me.

“Put the fan very close so that you can cool off a little, then take a little bath and you’ll feel like new again,” I said trying to calm her down.

“The fan blows really hot air, Mama, it burns my face, she answered in annoyance.

“Take your shoes off and sit down on the floor for awhile, there’s a nice breeze coming in through the kitchen.”

“Mama, I can’t stand this heat!”

“I’m getting your bath ready Giselle.  Please, calm down – we’re all suffocating, but the more you get upset about it the hotter you feel.”

After that, 10 minutes passed and I stopped hearing the grumbles of my unhappy child.  I thought that she had fallen asleep and I looked for her in the bedroom, but didn’t find her; then I looked in the corridor by the living room where she sometimes falls asleep, but she wasn’t there either.

I thought that maybe she hadn’t waited to cool down and had gone right into the bathroom, but no.  Nor was she in the little back yard where at that hour the sun seems to be burning everything up.

I finally found her with the door to the refrigerator wide open and Giselle almost inside it, cooling down like I had told her.