Without a Homeland and with a Hopeless Owner

Photo: El Toque

By Anonymous (El Toque)

HAVANA TIMES – Now, I know it’s for good. Things won’t get fixed in Cuba for as long as I’m alive. I’m going to work, work a lot, maybe make it back to visit the family I left and, finally, I’ll die in foreign lands.

The experienced professor, who could have given a lot more to Cuban university, talks to me calmly, without any drama. However, in every one of his words you can feel the overflowing anguish, that led him to take physical distance from the island he loved so much.

Days later, I had a conversation with another friend, a young man, and who had the same angst. He left with his closest relatives at home; but he’s afraid for those that stayed behind. I won’t rest until I get them all out of there, he said.

From my neighborhood, the people who aren’t waiting for humanitarian parole from the US, are digging up grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-great-grandparents to find a branch of the family tree that allows them to access Spain’s Grandchildren Law – that grants them Spanish citizenship. Or looking for the cheapest trafficking option that will take them to Nicaragua at least, or to Mexico with a bit of luck to fight for a way to get to the US.

A young woman sold everything she had and went with her four-year-old son; and she had the scare of her life along the way when her young child almost drowned. The story had a happy ending. We know that, in lots of cases, death is the price for escape. For millions of Cubans, without anyone to claim them, without any Spanish relatives in their DNA, without anything to sell or a job that will allow them to eat decently, the horizon narrows their joy down to the electricity coming back on after long blackouts drinking water coming back down dry pipes, a couple of pounds of rationed rice being sold or acidic bread fom the ration store not coming in so late every day. Some days, it doesn’t come in at all. 

Meanwhile, not even with two tons of make-up, rehearsing his words over and over again, pre-recording and editing his answers and trying to put on a show of spontaneity, can the President string empathetic ideas together for their people. This new head of the Communist Party who has taken on a surname that will go down in History – singao (asshole) – says that “it’s in the hands of the US Government to change the structural causes of Cuban emigration” (Granma newspaper).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Listening to the leader and his laughable nonsense – who you can guess is being used as a puppet by the geriatric military leadership – wouldn’t be a big deal honestly if the country wasn’t turning into a great ruin every day and it’s his face that has to give a response because of the hierarchical seat he occupies by name.

But I think the most alarming thing is that despair is the main plot of every story, of every rupture. People who are looking nowhere, who dream of a Madagascar that doesn’t appear and with zero expectations about what they can give their children – beyond the “finding a way to leave.”

In fact, people aren’t even expecting Cuban sports delegations – a source of national pride in the past – to win medals, now they’re waiting for news about which athlete or trainer managed to dodge surveillance and take the jump across the pond. If the good news includes details about the adventure the reckless undertook, then even better. 

“How are we going to say “this is our Homeland”, when we have nothing of it? “My Homeland,” but my Homeland gives me nothing, it doesn’t sustain me, I’m dying of hunger in my Homeand. This isn’t a Homeland! It might be for a few Cubans, but it won’t be the Homeland of the Cuban people (…). Homeland doesn’t only mean to say a place where you can shout, walk and talk without being killed; Homeland is a place where you can live; Homeland is a place where you can work and earn a decent living and also earn what is fair for your work (…). Not having a Homeland is precisely the tragedy that has befallen our people. (…) The best piece of evidence to prove we don’t have a Homeland are the tens of thousands who leave Cuba for another country so they can live (…). Not everyone who wants to leave leaves, only those who can.”

The previous paragraph – which would cost a dissident years in prison if they shouted this – belongs to a speech by Fidel Castro, the glorious Comandante gave in a park in Camaguey, on January 4th 1959. 

Sixty years later, picking up on the exact destruction he caused, we’re splashing around in the same putrefied water, with the additional problem of seeing those who were going to be our liberators becoming owners of the iron throne.

Jose Marti, who was too honest and poetic to survive as a politician, was sure that he would die “without a Homeland, but without an owner.” Aside from the distance, we are suffering the same hardships. Without a Homeland; and thinking about how to face or flee (most of the time) from the hopeless owner. What a shitty fate, no?

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

4 thoughts on “Without a Homeland and with a Hopeless Owner

  • Moses,

    Yes, there are, and rightly so, many articles about the sad state of affairs in Cuba. You state you do not see explanations as to why “the situation persist”. Do you mean why there are many articles in the media about Cuba’s abysmal economic state and no solutions to ameliorate the situation, or the fact Cubans appear to be docile and are not doing enough to make substantial economic change in their homeland?

    You refer to Cubans in Miami being very boisterous and loud against as you state “the slightest political slight” comparing those Cubans (they are American citizens) with Cubans living on the island as “Kittens!”

    What’s up with that? Any immigrant to the U.S. whether from Cuba or anywhere else in the world enters a melting pot societal atmosphere which defines America. Every American has the human right to express themselves freely whether on social media or demonstrating on city streets. Moreover Americans have the right to bear arms. So if a Cuban American or a group of Cuban Americans feel slighted politically or otherwise and feel disenfranchised they will demonstrate vociferously anywhere in America . It’s the American way and rightly so.

    Contrast that with Cubans living on the island. As you are aware Cubans living in a totalitarian state have absolutely no rights. Even the slightest demonstration of human rights is met with the full force of state brutality as witnessed on July 11, 2021. How many of those brave young Cubans shouting for a modicum of freedom are now in Cuba prisons serving years and years of unwarranted jail time. That sends a clear unequivocal message to Cuban citizens.

    When Cuban families see their sons mistreated – an understatement – in such despicable manner it’s no wonder most will refuse to become vocal or active on the streets for change. It seems given the forceful brutality of the totalitarian Cuban state many have chosen to emigrate rather than be severely punished for expressing a human right like in America. Can you blame them?

    You ask what’s up with those Cubans? Why are they not roaring like lions on Cuban streets like their American Cuban cousins who roar like lions in Miami against the slightest political slight? Living in a totalitarian state with brutality being administered freely to anyone opposing those in power as compared to any geographical location outside Cuba presents a simple choice.

    Will there be change in Cuba to reverse the sad state of affairs plaguing the country today? Perhaps. History is on the side of the Cubans who endure their present plight as totalitarian states invariably collapse causing change: hopefully sooner than later.

  • Moses and others who quote this line have never lived and worked and protested in Cuba. It’s so easy in Miami, one takes to the streets and to the media and your voice is heard with no repercussions. Try doing that in Havana! Over 1000 young people who were protesting peacefully on 11 July 2021 are still in prison, some for 20 years. Luis Robles who simply carried a placard of protest in Havana has been in the Combinado del Este prison since December 2020 and will serve at least 2 more years if he survives the tortures there. Try posting a ‘like’ to a FB article contra to the Cuban government and you face imprisonment. Kittens are not the Cubans in Cuba. Kittens are the Cubans in the USA who spout forth and do nothing. If they were big cats then maybe they would take some boats to Havana and protest with their countrymen.

  • Severe punishment is a fear based reality that Moses Patterson comment fails to understand. Good intentions aside, Truth No Logic is Cuba in a nutshell. Regardless of good willed articles by pundits illustrating the rustic nature of current day Cuba, it has been a 50 year long process to reach today’s crisis snd mass exodus of Cubans. For young people a real crises regarding the prospects of a fruitful future in Cuba but some children have better financial backing.

    One has to accept that while 500,000 Cubans migrated to USA, millions living in Cuba are living a lucrative life and just ride out the socio-political environment by consuming all the government rules and regulations as they have their whole lives. These loyalists will not be leaving Cubs and will simply find loopholes to survive.

    The very notion that Cuba is on the verge of a climatic political change is absurd! The government is solid in its RED agenda, in my opinion and no imminent political change at hand other than financial plans to assure the ruling party continues to rule.

    Forget hope and consider acceptance. At least this gives a foundation for constructive change . The term ‘Hope’ is not a political term neither is it scientific in nature so the game of semantics renders more confusion. Forget the deep rooted traps permeating ‘hope’: it is just wishful thinking and little to do with politics.

    The suffering in Cuba largely belongs to low income pension retirees, the million of single mothers and youth struggling with self-determination.

    Spain is just another option of escape for Cubans but the process is slow and bogged down with thousands of applications by Cubans and the inherent costs including secret payoffs to get attention to legal documents getting quicker processing times. Age of applicants matters because to survive one needs an occupation, ability to be self-dependent and able to contribute socially via taxes in any country. Many countries are at a tipping point taking refugees and immigrants and constantly redefining immigration policies as we see with Canada (82% divorce rate with Cubans marrying Canadians) and USA totalling in shambles and a political polarized battle evolving into ‘parole’ applications etc. snd thousands stranded at the boarders . (ouch)

    So, yes, while Cuba has its problems one has to view the global economy and realize blaming any one country for all the problems is not productive. Running away from problems, as we see in Cuba, may be a solution but may also be a bandaid solution long term as reality sets in: the is no ‘free’ lunch in other countries and one has expenses like rent, heat and air conditioning, insurance, licensing, taxes that require one to work and pay. Having an occupation is essential to survival when migrating to another country. When all is said and done, many face hardships that they never imagined and are forced to accept that Disney like dreams they have bought into out of desperation simply do not exist. Sober reality awaits all who dare to migrate.

    I write about this because I see so many people desperate to leave Cuba at all costs as we have witnessed resulting on over 800 deaths at sea, women being sexually abused en route to USA, painful family separations, incredible exploitation by cartels in Mexico and much more. The grass may seem greener on the other side but that too is a myth.
    Sober up, do not believe all you have been told, have a career and occupation, have solid financing plan, and know hard work is needed to succeed IF you plan to migrate is gteat advice that alludes many people.
    I understand that shear desperation fuels people’s ambition to migrate and justifiably so but blind faith may not be the solution.

    It truly is tragic what is happening in Cuba and blaming it on the USA or any country is sheer nonsense!! Running away from problems may not be the solution; just my opinion as I am not Cuban just a concerned member of humanity. Walk a mile on another shoes is a phrase that comes to mind as I try to encircle situations from all 360 degrees and often fail.

  • Day after day, here at HT and in many other media, I read impassioned articles about the sad state of affairs in Cuba. What I don’t see are explanations of why the situation persist. Cubans in Miami are roaring lions against the slightest political slight. But in Cuba? Kittens! What’s up with that?

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