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Cuba. 90 miles from the southernmost point in Florida. Cuba. A once beautiful country; now stuck in the 1950s. Cuba. My family’s home.

My mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba, where the beaches were once beautiful and the city would take your breath away. I grew up hearing about how beautiful the island and everything else once was, but never did my family tell me how things were now.

When I got older, I asked my abuelito (grandpa) why no one ever told me that Cuba was still an amazing country, and his answer was one I’ll never forget. “Cuba was once an incredible country because of freedom, but now all it is ruins.” I didn’t really understand the severity of the country until I went for three weeks over the summer with my grandma, and ruined is an understatement.

Going through immigration at the airport alone was a hassle. They asked my grandma a series of questions such as, “Where are you going? Why are you here? When are you leaving? Do you have anything for your family? Does your family work for the government?” When I heard my grandma lie as to why she was there and several other things, I realized that Cuba was nothing like America.

We were driven to Matanzas in an old, beat-up 1950 Volkswagen and to my surprise almost every other car, which wasn’t many, was the same model. Driving there took three hours from the airport in the capital of La Havana.

When we got there, I was surprised to find that many of the houses looked like they were caving in and were decorated with this minty green color. There were stray animals in almost every corner of every street, and pieces of horse droppings scattered across the roads.
The one thought that crossed my mind was: where was the beautiful and breathtaking Cuba I’ve been hearing about since I could remember?

During my stay, I realized how bad every other family in Cuba had it, so I could never imagine living there for my entire life. Sophomores Lisnet and Lisbet say that they went to Cuba last summer, and it’s gotten even worse: “All the houses are destroyed, there’s no food to buy in grocery stores, no jobs, and you can’t even start your own business.”

So how are the Cuban people supposed to survive with such skimpy resources? Freshman Adriana’s family doesn’t have it so bad. “Because we send our family money, they have the privilege of an air conditioner. My uncle is a security guard for the government. He hates it and only does it for the money.”

That’s what a lot of the Cuban people have to do in order to have food on the table and decent living conditions; they have to betray their own country’s people in order to survive.

It’s really unsettling to think that a country that was once a top tourist attraction next to famous European countries ( France, England, etc.) is now infamous for its harsh living conditions and even harsher government.





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praveenadamrockandroll said...
May 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm
i won't accept a whole,...but some things u told may be right.i had also travelled to cuba.Agriculture is so poor there,but did u saw how genourous the cubans are?...they shared themselves even it's a bit of bread
 
Deeex0 replied...
Jun. 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm
Well, I am Cuban and seeing how my family lives and most families live, I know that the living conditions are very bad. Thank you for your comment though! I really appreciated having some feedback! :)
 
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