What’s a Cuban doing in Oceania?

Rosa Martinez

rosa2HAVANA TIMES — Apart from two cousins serving on international missions in Africa, I don’t have any other family members abroad who I yearn to see.

My paternal and my maternal relatives haven’t left Cuba — not for better or for worse. Here, we’re all going through the good and bad experiences of our socialist Cuba.

I do have friends on every continent. Most are old friends from college who now find themselves in the most unlikely spots on the planet.

“What’s a Cuban doing in Oceania,” I wondered when I heard that Raulito, one of my former schoolmates from art history class, had been over there for several years.

With most of my emigrant friends, I manage to stay in touch, both though text messaging and email. Through them I’ve traveled the world without needing wings.

I’ve now been to Milan with Louis and to Barcelona through Amanda. I’ve also visited the United States, Canada and other nations through my friends’ anecdotes and stories. From them, I’ve learned of people and places unknown to many of the inhabitants of those countries themselves.

Some of my friends have expressed their desire to help me financially in some way. Most were unable to realize their dreams, since all of them have more than one other person in Cuba who needs their help. Yet, more than one of them has managed to send me some money at least once, which I’ve used wisely and was infinitely grateful.

Almost all of them left Cuba after graduating. This means they experienced firsthand the consequences of the economic blockade by the United States, as well as the internal blockade imposed on a declining economy by those inept and corrupt leaders and businesspeople who defraud the people of part of our wealth.

Rosa-1It hasn’t occurred to my old schoolmates to tell me that I, like most Cubans, am to blame for living like I live. None of them would tell me that I should try harder to get what I want in life – much less would they advise me to take on more jobs, like they do.

Of course they would never say such things, since anyone who has lived in Cuba knows it’s almost impossible to hold more than one job. Although it’s now legal, the strict schedules of institutions and companies, along with the backward thinking of immediate superiors, make this impossible.

They also know that no matter how one tries, it’s impossible to improve economically with the current wages, not unless one has a job directly linked to tourism or a company that deals in hard currency.

So, the reader who recently told me that we Cubans should “push a little harder” definitely isn’t one of my friends abroad. They aren’t Cuban, nor do they know anything about Cuba.


2 thoughts on “What’s a Cuban doing in Oceania?

  • I think a major reason, Rosa, for such low wages and salaries in Cuba–a main cause of college graduates leaving the country–apparently is the lack of a fractional-reserve credit/money system under the 100% state monopoly ownership principle.

    Financial capital, as well as consumption capital, should be created and loaned into the economy by cooperative banks seeking a financial profit–not through capitalistic usury however, but through lucrative-enough credit generation fees.

    As with capitalist bank credit extensions, the monetary principal created as “loans” would disappear on a socialistic cooperative credit union’s books as it is paid back.

    The Cuban economy however seems to be chronically constipated by a severe deficiency in the supply of money.

    In spite of all the reforms now being undertaken, unless the financial system is liberated from state ownership, and depositor- and worker-owned, cooperative credit unions proliferate, making credit extensions and creating money on a fractional-reserve principle, Cuban college graduates will continue to see greener grass on the other side of the Cuban fence.

  • I belong to a group which raises money for the refugees from Sudan. These people are victims from the cruel militancy of Robert Kony and his brutal efforts to control the region between Uganda and Sudan. These people have been subjected to mutilations, rapes, child abductions and mass murder. Yet, despite all, they still manage to take up arms to defend their human rights.The fact that Cubans do not ‘push harder’ is surpirising. I am guessing that the Castros have managed to give Cubans just enough freedom to keep Cubans from rising up in rebellion while maintaining enough control to sustain the dictatorship. It is very ‘Cuban’ to complain about what CAN’T be done because of the embargo, the Castros, the weather, etc. The issue worth far more consideration is what CAN be done to improve Cuban life in Cuba.

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