Oswardo – Age – Late 20’s; Birthplace – Havana, Cuba; Residence In July, 2011 – Havana, Cuba; New Residence as of October, 2011 –Venezuela; Occupation – Student, Computer Science; Husband of Yoana
I am writing from Caracas, Venezuela. As I mentioned a last month, after depositing money I was given, and allowing it to sit for 6 months, I submitted an application for an exit visa, and, after many visits to the government offices, I received an exit visa to leave Cuba. So I am now with family in Caracas, but, sadly, I had to depart without my wife and child. I hope to make a new home for them, and I hope I can get them here soon, but I know it will be years.
Arriving here, I felt like I was in a new world. My relatives picked me up at the airport. I’d never seen anything like the new and spacious Caracas’ international airport. Outside, we got into a newer model mid-sized car, unlike anything in Cuba. We drove on a highway with street signs and few holes, and entered Caracas, which is a huge, modern city with buildings unlike anything I had ever seen.
We arrived at a new condominium building, with grass in the front, gated parking underneath the building, and walls surrounding the complex. It takes a great number of color-coded keys to enter the building. There is a gate to enter the complex from the parking area. Then, there is a gate to enter the elevator area. Then there is a glass door. Then there is the elevator. One needs a different key for all of those doors. Upstairs, one needs a key to open the gate outside the door, and then one for the door itself. The apartment is open and spacious, with new furniture. Everything is new to me. In Cuba, we have one gate, with a padlock, and it doesn’t really matter because the side wall fell down long ago. The Venezuelans laugh at the need for all the security. They talk about the extremely high crime rate. But they have luxury, and something to lose. In Cuba, we have nothing to steal, so there is little crime.
As you will recall, last year when you and I traveled to Santiago de Cuba, I was enamored with bacon and MTV, because I had never seen either. Since I arrived in Venezuela last week, I have eaten bacon, steak, vegetables, and so much more. I have only eaten beef a few times in my life. I love milk too. In Cuba, we can only buy a small amount of milk, because we have a young child. So I could not drink it.
Each night, I have sat on comfortable furniture, in an air-conditioned room, and talked about the past and the future. I miss my wife and child incredibly. But I am looking forward to the future. I’m not sure what kind of work I will be able to do here, but there is hope for the future. I am in a free, or relatively free country, where you can buy what you need, without a ration book, and without finding empty shelves. Well, Venezuela is not perfect, and there are some products that are difficult to find sometimes, but it’s nothing like the way it is in Cuba.
Nos Vemos un día, Un abrazo. Oswardo