Report From Yoana – My Husband’s Escape, and a Future for our Family.


Yoana – Age – Late 20’s; Birthplace – Santa Clara, Cuba; Residence Havana, Cuba (will not be permitted to leave the country with Oswardo, her husband); Occupation – Physician; Wife of Oswardo

September 9, 2011 – Via E-mail 

The day I have prayed for and dreaded for so long is almost here.  My husband, Oswardo, has his exit visa to leave Cuba —— to leave us behind. We deposited money for both of us to leave, but my exit visa was not approved.  This is typical. The husband leaves and tries to make a new life, while the wife and the child or children are left behind.

I left my own family in Matanzas when I married Oswardo. We moved into an apartment owned by Oswardo’s mother and father for many years.  It was assigned to them by the Castro government. Later his father died. As a mater of fact, because of the restrictions on people from other areas of the country moving to Havana, I was illegally living with my husband and his mother for the first seven months of our marriage.

So now our daughter and I are stuck – living with my mother-in-law, for who knows how long. She’s a nice woman, and I have no problem with her ——but —— the Cuban way of living with the ancestors who have a place —— an old, beat up place, is not my idea of how I want to live.

It is so common for the man to be allowed to leave and the woman kept behind, that I am wondering why. Is it because he is a man, and it’s better to let anti-revolutionary men leave the island?  Are women, no matter how revolutionary they are, deemed harmless?  Is it because I am a doctor, working in a clinic, and they need me?  I can think of a dozen examples, among friends and family, dating from the 50’s until last year, and this seems to have been the system always.  And typically it takes five to eight years to release the wife and children. 

And so we wait —— wait to hear from Oswardo —— who will now be living with a relative —— hoping he can make a new home, make some money and release us.

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