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El Weekender

No 90

Cuba: A hugging land

By Larisa Leon de La Rosa

Somebody said that Cubans are “smiling face Indians” . And he was right.  It’s very difficult to erase the smile on a Cuban’s face.

Our passion for life keep’s us from getting the discouraged.

In my country people face food rationing. Every family is given every year a notebook with the amount and produce you are allowed to buy. A piece of bread for each member of your family per day and only once a month you are allowed to buy a certain amount of rice, beans, sugar, salt, oil, tooth paste and one bar of soap.

In the groceries stores it’s very common to hear the expression, “chicken instead of fish.”  It means that instead of fish they will sell you chicken.

The national coin is the Cuban peso which alternates with the C.U.C. created by the government that is worth more than the American dollar. Both coins are accepted.   Every C.U.C. is worth 24 Cuban pesos.

When you walk anywhere on the streets of Cuba you feel like you were living in the past. Everywhere you look you see cars from the 50’s. They look good and they are running good. Horses carriages and bicycles are a way of transportation for many of the people in Cuba.

Miguel Gomez visited Cuba as a tourist in 2005. He said that Cuba reminded him of parts of Mexico in the 80’s.  When he saw artisans, shoe repairman, and bunches of match boxes on the streets.  Today there are countless self-employed.

In Cuba you enjoy the eternal summer in the cities, on the fields and on the beaches.  Among the best Varadero Beach in the city of Matanzas which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We never experience winter. Even during the winter, we can swim on the beaches.

The sayings and the funny jokes are very popular like “this isn’t easy” “walk the stage so they will know who you are” “the abuse is ended”. The Cubans are very positive. Cubans are big jokers and that attitude helps them to face hardship.

Cuba is a country of slogans. “Country or death. We will conquer.”. “Till the victory always.” “United and committed.”

At the entrance of the province of Camaguey there is a huge sign that reads: Camaguey loves you and hugs you. Land of huge clay pots and poets. When you leave Cuba what you miss the must is the hugging people.

In the Catholic Church mass at the time of the sign of the peace everybody hugs everybody. The mass celebration is very joyful and animated. Every greeting of peace is moving and captivating transferring a human warmth and bringing hearts closer together. Cubans practice hospitality and solidarity. Wherever they go in the world they are anxious to become better. Their love for life is contagious.



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