Monday, January 4, 2010

Study, study, study, and then what?


Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

Her parents taught her to study, to read, to love knowledge. When she was little she took classes in many things: piano, art, English, swimming and gymnastics. She studied at the university, graduated and started the statutory two years of social service.  They were the two most irrational years of her life; she earned 148 pesos a month working 40 hours a week and with that salary barely managed to pay for the products in the ration book.

She finished the two years of paying for her career, hung her folder on the back of the door and refused to continue.  She took some training courses to pass the time, enrolled in another career by long distance learning.  Her father pressured her: it’s not good to get used to living without working.  Her mother convinced him: better to continue studying than sit around doing nothing.

But she didn’t understand why everyone insisted that she should be working, while no one seemed to worry about whether she would be paid.  Her parents were old and for some months their family abroad had not sent any money.  She knew the crisis was coming, but work or no work made no difference, she wasn’t a girl any more and she knew, with legal employment she would starve.

Before she knew it, she was thirty; the old folks were now older than old, and the roof peeling away from the house reminded her that nothing is eternal. Selling clothes from time to time, working as an illegal tourist guide in Old Havana, or housecleaning for a rental was the most she could aspire to.  The years passed and she became obsessed with her stagnating life.  She put her name on the list for all the U.S. visa lotteries, put an ad in High Five to meet a foreign husband, talked with all her friends about getting an invitation to go abroad… but nothing.

Forty found her sunk in depression, like Penelope giving up hope for a day that never came, an exit she couldn’t manage, a house never realized, a wage that never rose, a husband that didn’t stay, some kids she never had, and a life she never lived.

Translation team included: Mafernan

5 comments:

Humberto Capiro said...

MSNBC: Spain miffed after politician denied entry to Cuba

"Yanez was detained upon arrival and expelled from the communist-run Caribbean country before dawn Monday, the ministry said. There was no immediate comment from Cuban officials in Havana, and no one answered the phone at the Cuban embassy in Madrid."

"Yanez has promoted contacts between European socialists and democratic Cuban dissidents as president of a group called Cuba-Europe in Progress. Spanish news reports said Yanez was denied a visa to enter Cuba in 2008 when he was invited to attend a meeting of the Progressive Arc dissident group.

Posted on the group's Web site is a column Yanez wrote in the Spanish newspaper El Pais in 2007 decrying "the disappearance of the most minimal freedom of expression and of artistic creation" in Cuba, as well as the jailing of dissidents.

Manuel Cuesta Morua, head of Progressive Arc, told The Associated Press that Yanez had indicated that he planned to visit with him during his trip.

"I think that (the authorities) are taking reprisals," Cuesta said."

"In recent years, Cuba has refused entry to several European and Spanish parliamentarians who arrived on the island with tourist visas but who were believed to be planning to meet with dissidents."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34687783/ns/world_news/

Humberto Capiro said...

NY TIMES: Spain: Cuba Erred in Expelling Politician

"The politician who was not allowed to enter Cuba, European Parliament member Luis Yanez, is known to be critical of the Cuban government, but this does not justify Havana's decision, Moratinos said. Cuban authorities held him and his wife at the airport upon arriving in Havana and sent them on the first plane back to Spain on Monday.
''This is not good news. I think the Cubans made a mistake with this expulsion,'' Moratinos told reporters. "

"Yanez has promoted contacts between European socialists and democratic Cuban dissidents as president of a group called Cuba-Europe in Progress. Spanish news reports said Yanez was denied a visa to enter Cuba in 2008 when he was invited to attend a meeting of the Progressive Arc dissident group."

"Moratinos said that during its EU presidency, Spain will urge the bloc to move away from its ''common position'' on Cuba. That dates from 1996 and makes improved ties contingent on better respect for human rights and democratic reforms.

The policy has not yielded much, and instead the EU should now take a more active approach that might open up a process of dialogue and elicit firm commitments from Cuba, Moratinos said.

The EU imposed diplomatic sanctions, including a ban on political and other consultations, against Cuba in 2003 after the arrests of dozens of dissidents. The sanctions were suspended in 2005, but not lifted, and relations between the EU and Cuba have remained touchy."

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/05/world/AP-EU-Spain-Cuba.html

Humberto Capiro said...

MSNBC: Spain miffed after politician denied entry to Cuba

"Yanez was detained upon arrival and expelled from the communist-run Caribbean country before dawn Monday, the ministry said. There was no immediate comment from Cuban officials in Havana, and no one answered the phone at the Cuban embassy in Madrid."

"Yanez has promoted contacts between European socialists and democratic Cuban dissidents as president of a group called Cuba-Europe in Progress. Spanish news reports said Yanez was denied a visa to enter Cuba in 2008 when he was invited to attend a meeting of the Progressive Arc dissident group.

Posted on the group's Web site is a column Yanez wrote in the Spanish newspaper El Pais in 2007 decrying "the disappearance of the most minimal freedom of expression and of artistic creation" in Cuba, as well as the jailing of dissidents.

Manuel Cuesta Morua, head of Progressive Arc, told The Associated Press that Yanez had indicated that he planned to visit with him during his trip.

"I think that (the authorities) are taking reprisals," Cuesta said."

"In recent years, Cuba has refused entry to several European and Spanish parliamentarians who arrived on the island with tourist visas but who were believed to be planning to meet with dissidents."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34687783/ns/world_news/

Humberto Capiro said...

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT (November 18, 2009)-New Castro, Same Cuba

"Dissidents are a small and significantly isolated segment of the population. However, their marginalization is evidence not of the lack of dissent in Cuba, but rather of the state’s ruthless efficiency in suppressing it. Fear permeates all aspects of dissidents’ lives. Some stop voicing their opinions and abandon their activities altogether; others continue to exercise their rights, but live in constant dread of being punished. Many more never express dissent to avoid reprisals. As human rights defender Rodolfo Bartelemí Coba told Human Rights Watch in March 2009, “We live 24 hours a day ready to be detained.” Ten days after making that statement, Bartelemí was arrested and taken to prison without trial, where he remains today."

"The Cuban government has for years refused to recognize the legitimacy of independent human rights monitoring and has adamantly refused to allow international monitors, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and international nongovernmental organizations like Human Rights Watch, to visit the island and investigate human rights conditions. In researching this report, Human Rights Watch made repeated written requests to the Raúl Castro government for meetings with authorities and formal authorization to conduct a fact-finding mission to the island. As in the past, the Cuban government did not respond to any of our requests."

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/86549/section/2

Reporters Without Borders: Going online in Cuba - Internet under surveillance
http://www.rsf.org/Going-online-in-Cuba-Internet.html

Reporters Without Borders:Authorities block websites, detain 26th journalist
http://www.rsf.org/Authorities-block-websites-detain.html

Human Rights Watch: Cuba's Repressive Machinery:
http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/1999/06/01/cubas-repressive-machinery

Humberto Capiro said...

THIS IS A WORK OF GUERRILLA ART!! Thanks Joel Garcia of "Un Cubano en Canarias" blog!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgNT_S_155c&feature=youtube_gdata

Un Cubano en Canarias Blog
http://uncubanoencanarias.blogspot.com/