Cuba can’t be an island all of the time, we have to have bridges

April 20, 2017
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Cuba can’t be an island all of the time, we have to have bridges

Cuba can’t be an island all of the time, we have to have bridges

“I lived in a small village by the sea near Guantanamo Bay. When I was five, the Revolutionary army, the rebels, were attacking the garrison nearby. We went into a shelter, but I heard the fight. The soldiers came through the village and told people they would take the garrison soon and there would be no more fighting. People tried to give them coffee and bread. The rebels had long beards and wore necklaces made from beans and seeds. I was a small child and they looked like someone from elsewhere. This was astonishing to me. Someone dismantled a weapon in front of me and showed me how it worked. The night passed and it was a calm night. The government surrendered and we went to the parade and the soldiers from the rebel army were sharing with the people We moved to another city and the Revolution triumphed about four months later. My mother tied red scarves around the necks of me and my brother and my father took us in his jeep downtown to celebrate the Revolution. I will never forget that it is like a film I have in my head.”

“It was a beautiful time in Cuba. Not many people opposed the Revolution. For us, it was something almost religious. They made things happen immediately, I was able to go to a beautiful school that was once a private school. My father had a steady job and things started to get better. We owe to the Revolution our education and this English I speak is because of the revolution. I would be cleaning streets or something without it. People my age feel like we owe a lot to the Revolution because of the development it brought into our lives.”

“When Fidel died, they immediately reported it to the people and the people were sad. I was not a follower of his ideas 100 percent, but even I felt a bit sad. Some people cried in the streets.”

“I am a translator for finance and tutor English. I need the money from the extra translating jobs because the salary from my regular job isn’t enough. I shouldn’t have to do this. I am 64 years old and should be getting ready for retirement but I can’t retire. The retirement pension is about $20 a month but that is not enough. If I had a better pension I could stay at home with the other men and rest, but this means I am not going to be an old man sitting on a bench.”

“I don’t see the future because the present is uncertain. The government is strong and wants to get stronger. They don’t leave space for anyone who thinks differently. They are educating part of the youth to follow their ideas because one day they will be biologically terminated. We have to make a rebellion inside of ourselves. Cuba can’t be an island all of the time, we have to have bridges. You have to let people come in with new ideas. You can’t be an enemy or a soldier all of the time. You can’t live with weapons. We have to open ourselves. Pope John Paul the Second came about 20 years ago and said we should be open to the world.”

“This country has many advantages and we aren’t working right. There are problems with production, there are problems with people stealing things from their jobs because they aren’t making enough money. It’s a way of living. In spite of every obstacle and every problem, Cuba is changing. I have hope, maybe I am too old for this hope, but maybe in ten years, it will change. Maybe I won’t be here, but my ghost will be happy about it. We don’t have to wait for others to tell us what to do, we need to do it ourselves. Every year that passes, it gets a bit better. There are things that are hard to change and sometimes you have to find a way around something, but we will get it.”

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