Los Angeles, California. Photo: Etienne Laurent / Niu

In this era, when all seemed possible, the day came when everything was paralyzed. The unimaginable occurred: the huge city turned off and we don’t know how long.

By Jose Norberto Silva* (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – We live in an era when what was impossible for many years is now possible: food delivered to your home, home laundry services, marijuana delivered to your doorstep, online purchases delivered in a few hours, traditional taxis changed to personalized ride services like Uber and Lyft.

These things are now part of our daily lives. In this era where all seems possible, the day came when everything just paralyzed.

Jose4 Norberto Silva

Los Angeles, this city that never sleeps, has a little over four million inhabitants and is normally visited by thousands of tourists. This now contrasts with the empty streets, few pedestrians and closed shops, after the State governor announced the closure of all non-essential businesses.

Thousands of job positions cancelled, supermarkets overrun by people wanting to buy up everything they can, because no one knows what’s going to happen. The propagation of the virus increases, as do its fatal victims.

To see powerful countries like China, Italy and Spain lashed by the Coronavirus fills us with fear. A virus has appeared that we don’t know much about. We know that it originated in China, it’s very contagious and can be fatal. We never imagined that it would arrive here. There’s no vaccine or specific cure yet, only prevention of contagion at all costs. For the moment, what we’re doing is to remain in quarantine in our homes without knowing how long.

The lockdown begins to cause despair

All the schools are closed until further notice. They’re even talking about cancelling the school year. As the father of two children, this is a difficult situation. On the one hand, we have a lot of time to spend with our families, but on the other, the lockdown begins to bring desperation. My 5-year-old hasn’t been to the park to play for nearly a month, nor to any other public recreational areas. He’s begun to ask what’s going on, but we haven’t found a way to explain to him that a virus has brought humanity to its knees.

Mentally, panic weakens you. The unimaginable happened, the big city switched off, and we don’t know for how long. What we do know is that our lives have changed forever.

I worry all the time about my family in Nicaragua. I feel helpless watching the inconsistent and incompetent leaders of my country when they minimize this pandemic, verging on the ridiculous, and exposing their citizens to the virus.

It’s no secret that Nicaragua has been hijacked by a group of delinquents and unscrupulous people blinded by power, who’ve ended the lives of hundreds of civilians. With this pandemic they’re demonstrating that the thing that matters least to them is life. But since we say in Nicaragua that only the people can save the people, I hope that even without the support of the government we can get out of this world emergency.

*A Nicaraguan currently living with his family in Los Angeles, California

7 thoughts on “Unimaginable: the Big City Switches Off

  • Yes Stephen, I think that the Cuban regime will make the assumption that tourists will be content with those four Bs of Beach, Bed, Buffet and Booze, although in reality entering confinement. But those tourists won’t be prepared to do another fourteen day sentence upon returning home.
    My obvious concern is when will I be able to return home to my wife. If the regime shuts down all the casas, will they allow those like you and I to live in our domestic residences? I am doubtful.
    Did you mention freedom and Cuba in the same sentence?

  • As I wrote and you seem to agree, Cuba, I believe, will go the Canadian route and isolate tourists for at least 14 days if not longer in hotels in specific cities upon their immediate arrival. The Cuban government will not think there is anything wrong with that but I don’t know how Canadian tourists, or any tourist for that matter will accept/adapt to that notion. Will tourists be fined? Jailed? for violating the rules. Only time will tell.

    As you stated tourists, being tourists, want to explore the country and maximize their spent tourist dollar and if stationed in Varadero would want to take excursions to Havana or elsewhere. Many like to go to Baracoa on VIAZUL.

    I hope Canadian tourist operators explain very emphatically and clearly to all potential tourists that once arrived at their prescribed hotel there is no leaving the premises. What?? Here we venture into a perfect clash regarding the sensitive area of personal freedoms and liberty – a given in Canada – and complete autocratic control from foreign Cuban government tourist operators. This is just speculation; who knows what will happen? As you know, rules, decrees, laws there change without any notice.

    Hopefully, Canadian airliners will be flying in December and the Cuban authorities will have given some thought about how to best maximize their tourism revenue to allow some free movement for tourists. I am not hopeful nor optimistic about what happens down there.

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