Friday, July 23, 2004 Print

[POSTCARDS FROM CUBA]

Friday, July 23, 2004

Trying to type this on battery power of my laptop, with sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes, glasses steaming. I can hardly see the keyboard because it's dark in here, the only light coming from the screen. 

APAGON. No electricity. There have been roving blackouts for the past week, due to problems in some electric plants in other provinces....this is an island, when electricity or water is scarce, it affects everyone, not just the ones in the immediate vicinity. 

Everyone is preparing for the 26th of July celebration in Santa Clara. I couldn't help but think about how different it is for a province or city to win the right to hold the celebration there, as compared to the cities and countries that vye to hold the Olympics or something like that. With the Olympics, or the Grammies, or any other major event, the cities in capitalist countries are thinking about just one thing: all the money that will pour into their coffers from the event. 

In Cuba, you win the right to sponsor the event because of the hard and successful work you do in a number of listed fields, from health and education to the environment to productivity...For a week after they announce where the event will be, there are newspaper and tv and radio programs about the achievements of that province....No lobbying, no bribes, no corruption...just plain old hard work for the common good. Truly amazing. 

My laptop keeps acting up in weird ways. Sometimes it won't recognize the return key for new paragraphs, as it is doing now. And the arrow key types multiple qqqqs instead of moving spaces....Oh well, at least I'm connected. AND THE LIGHTS JUST WENT ON! That means the air conditioner, too, so I can stop sweating in a little while. 

I wish more people had some idea of what the Cuban people go through, every day, to achieve the magnificent things they do. It irks me so much when everyone just takes their accomplishments in health, education, sports, culture etc for granted, with no idea what they have had to go through to produce so much with so little...