To Whomever God Gives, St. Peter Blesses

Rosa Martinez

La cantante cubana Haila. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The title of this post is connected to my personality. That’s how I am. I’m glad if a neighbor builds a new house, paints their old one or makes any other home improvement.

I get the same feeling when someone gets a new job that results in a significant improvement for them – either in better wages, hours or working conditions.

If someone leaves the country, this all goes without saying. One more person is going to leave a little misery behind. And if they are leaving for good then I wish them well, wherever they wind up.

There must be more than one person who doesn’t like me and is even happy with my misfortunes, but I for one am a person who doesn’t enjoy misfortunes – not even for those who might be considered my enemies.

The people who I consider unpleasant, I try to keep at a distance, but even for them I hope they can get everything good out of life.

I’m saying all this because if I tell people that I was really upset that the singer Haila Maria Monpie (or simply “Haila”) was showing off her home on a video that has been circulating throughout Cuba, you might think I’m envious – but I’m not.

If someone has a lot of money and wants to spend it on buying three houses, it’s up to them – just like I wouldn’t care if they spent it all on shoes or flowers.

Everyone does with their money what they think is best, and neither me nor anyone else should interfere.

What’s unfortunate though is that a figure of Cuban culture like Haila is engaged in recording a video of her home and all the luxuries she has instead of opening a record company to support new talent.

Alternately, she could open a music school for children and youth of the capital, or at least buy toys for the many children in our country who are suffering from cancer.

If she had shown a generous attitude toward people in her area, maybe I still wouldn’t have like seeing her show that off for the whole world to see either, but I’m sure that in that case this post would never have been written.


2 thoughts on “To Whomever God Gives, St. Peter Blesses

  • Moses:
    Unfortunately, I must admit you are right on most counts here. Charity is a pending subject for today’s Cuban in general. Look, not long ago HT’s Erasmo Calzadilla and I tried to raise some cash for a Cuban woman suffering from a strange ailment and dealing with serious problems at her dilapidated home in Havana. After several calls from HT, all she got was my contribution. I am still deeply disappointed at seeing that no other Cubans felt the urge to help, eventhough most HT readers now are currently living abroad and can surely give some help. So, that is something we all will need to learn in the near future: caring for our fellow countrypeople.

  • In my experience in Cuba I have found Cubans to be relatively uncharitable. Of course, most Cubans will proudly compare how one neighbor will always share cooking oil or a pot of coffee with another who lacks. What I am talking about is the kind of institutional charity that exists in the US through organizations like the United Way or the United Negro College Fund. Instead, all “charity” is based on government programs, i.e. medical/literacy/sports. It would be easy to say that because most Cubans are poor, there is no room to give. But artists like Haila, Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Chucho Valdez and many others who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions do not portray the same benevolence that their Latin American counterparts have demonstrated (como Shakira). Instead, these artists, as the post above states, use their earnings to gild their cages. I suppose the “New Man” does not include charitable giving as among his noble traits.

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