You’re So Lucky to Live in Cuba

Rosa Martinez

HAVANA TIMES — When he reads this post, my good friend Paul is going to say — once again — that all we Cubans do is complain. He’s from the US.

Likewise, my Italian friend Julian is going to repeat for the umpteenth time: “But you’re soooo lucky to live in Cuba. If you spent any time in any other country, you’d have a better opinion of your island.

Both of these friends agree that problems exist in Cuba, and in all corners of the world, but they also believe this to be one of the best places on the planet.

Personally, I can’t say if that last assessment is true or not, I haven’t even been to Cuba’s capital, much less some other country – hell, maybe I never will.

What I do agree with though is that we Cubans do in fact complain too much. But I’m not saying this exactly for the same reasons that Granma editor Lazaro Barredo Medina did when he accused ordinary islanders of being like wide-mouth pichoncitos (dependent nestlings) sitting around waiting for food from the government.

It’s actually the lack of opportunities that has turned us into a nation of carpers, believing that if we describe our problems enough then someone will land from Jupiter or Mars to solve what we ourselves haven’t been able to.

That’s why I find it increasingly more difficult to write a post related to the thousand and one shortages I have – as a worker, as a woman and as a Cuban.

I feel that when I complain I am acting like some of my neighbors sitting on the corner all day wanting to be the owners of the world — not working, not studying — just spending all day talking about designer shoes or the latest reggaeton tune.

But today I’m going to forget about Paul and Julian. Today I’m going to let them call me a moaner-groaner, or let you readers think that all I do is wring my hands.

Today I’m writing about the 20th of each month, since for me the 20ths are the most terrible days of the year.

You know why? It’s because that’s the day I get paid for the month, receiving the same amount that never adds up when I do the math of my expenses.

Once again I’ll go into the clerk’s office and look at her with disgust, as if she were to blame for low wages in our country. There I’ll sit, wanting to strangle her with my bare hands, as if she were responsible for the high prices of pork, tomatoes, shoes and hair bands for my daughter Tania.

I’ll look at the employee and once again reach inside the envelope that holds that amazing figure of 600 pesos ($25 USD), and once again I wonder how we’re going to get by until the next 20th?

45 thoughts on “You’re So Lucky to Live in Cuba

  • November 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Cuba is the more safe country in this planet. There are troubles, problems. But there in Cuba 85% of population have peace of mind and happiness. 95% of those to “escaped”” from Cuba returned soon because they learn why they left behind.
    Cuba whatever anti castrist in Miami said is a place of harmony.

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    “i am not convinced by freud´s statistics.”

    Neither do I. Due to many factors, such as higher access to basic sanitary/hygienic facilities, infant mortality rate has decreased worldwide, and Cuba was no exception.

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I’ll have to repeat Freud’s calling:

    “Bring a link to support your statement and be happy!!!!!”

  • May 20, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Dear John,
    These are not “my” statistics but castro regime’s statistics……. if you read carefully you find those statistics were found in JUCEPLAN (“Central Planning Board” or “Junta Central de Planificacion” in Spanish, an old “institution” of Stalinist era in charge of economy “planning” and statistics), those statistics were also found in Fidel Castro’s speeches and books writen by Jose Luis Rodriguez former planning and Economy minister……….. and Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook of UN.
    I don’t know why you understand I am comparing something when it is very clear I am exposing statistics aimed to Luis and his problem to believe Cuba before castro-batista regime had better Infantile Mortality Rate than today…….. I only want to demonstrate to Luis that Cuba’s Infantile Mortality Rate in pre castro era placed Cuba in place #13 among worlds nations while castro regime managed to put Cuba back in place #28…… and I demonstrate it using regime’s own statistics; so castro apologizers can’t come and discredit the sources I use if those sources are from US universities or other countries universities or from independent of regime Cuban writers. So, I want you to be aware about you are playing with fire when you try to dismantle castro and his men statements.

  • May 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    there´s lies, there´s damn lies and there´s statistics. when contraception becomes freely available the population ages and the death rate goes up. mothers are older with contraception and the infant mortality rate goes up. i am not convinced by freud´s statistics. just as there are limits to economic growth, there are limits to how many lives can be saved with medical procedures. when a country´s infant mortality rate is high there´s a lot of room for improvement like poorer countries often have the highest economic growth rates. if cuba´s infant mortality rate was low before 1959 as freud alleges there was not a lot of room for improvement. death rates depend on many factors. as smoking and fatty diets became less popular death rates went down. medical procedures improve. diet can depend on the climate in a country. north europeans get fresh fruit and vegetables in the winter by airfreight. what part have embargoes played on the death rate? who will take the blame for that? food subsidies in america promote obesity followed by a higher death rate. who passes the food subsidy legislation? in my opinion, freud is comparing apples and oranges.

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