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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Planet Nothing

Planet Nothing

Rebeca Monzo, Havana, 16 June 2017 — Cuba is a distant planet. It has
nothing to do with the rest of the world, because nothing functions
there as in the majority of civilized countries. This "planet" is ruled
by the whims of its ancient rulers who have spent almost 59 years doing
whatever they please.

Now is when we were supposed to be doing better, thanks to the massive
arrival of a tourist trade that for decades overlooked Cuba as a
destination because of the innumerable restrictions imposed by the
regime–and which now has no choice but to "loosen its grip" in this
regard, because the country does not produce goods and is totally
bankrupt. Curiously, almost all the tourists I talk with remark that
they come to Cuba because they want to experience it before the great
changes that are coming. It must be that they want to "feel" firsthand,
rather than watch a movie about, a true Jurassic Park.

Nobody knows what is being done with the money collected via remittances
[from Cuban émigrés abroad to their relatives on the Island] and
tourism, being that the stores are practically empty, the public
transportation service is worse every day, the city grows ever dirtier,
and buildings continue to collapse–structures whose extreme
deterioration is due to the government never having taken care of them
adequately.

Yesterday at the the Panamericana chain store location on 26th Avenue
between 17th and 15th Streets in Vedado, I was struck with consternation
to see the huge line of people waiting to enter. I asked an employee who
told me that they had only one cashier, because the other three had quit
their jobs, as had the workers in the personal and household cleaning
supplies department. Only one cash register, in the groceries
department, was open to the public.

We go on floating in a state of absolute stagnation, where "nothing from
nothing" is our daily reality.

Ed note: Rebeca has a room for rent on Airbnb if you are going to
Havana. (Additional note: this "advertisement" has NOT been posted at
her request or even with her knowledge.)

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Planet Nothing – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/planet-nothing/
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