Concerns for Oswardo

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

Dear Franklin:

I’m worried about Oswardo. When he first arrived in Venezuela, he was excited about the newness of it all.  Naturally, he’s never known anything besides Cuba under the current government. So everything is so new to him.  And I know he misses us, but he seems to get more morose everyday.

I fear that he’s feeling some pressure to get a job and follow the working life that he’s never known. I’m not sure what he expected. He always talked negatively about there being no future in Cuba.  Here, there is never anything on the shelves in the stores. One gets a job, and performs it for life, making a basic sum for a meager subsistence. It takes all day to do anything --- to buy food, to find a piece to repair a broken appliance, to find a telephone card, to access the Internet.

It must be amazing to enter a supermarket, a clothing store, or any other retail establishment.  I’ve seen things like that in movies, on the Internet, and rarely on television. It’s funny that in Cuba we can get bootleg movie disks on the street long before they are available outside of movie theaters in the U.S.  We only have a black and white television with rabbit ears, spewing out propaganda of Fidel walking among the people in the countryside. But Oswardo has a computer that his family sent him last year, and we watch movies on it.

But I can picture Oswardo walking through the aisles of a store, wide-eyed.  The only problem is it takes money to buy things, and he does not yet have a means of making money. I’m just worried that it’s more than he expected --- more different than he expected. And I’m not sure he’s coping that well.

I’m sorry to write a sad, concerned note about what everybody thought of as positive – the first step in freeing us from Cuba.  And I’m not saying more, Franklin, since this is for your blog.  But I’m just concerned.

Besos, Yoana

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