Absence of color

In this impressionistic picture I make of my reality, often I don’t give the precise color for each event.  The wide palette that makes the doubts, the disillusion and a certain haggard optimism, doesn’t have a shade that manages to represent the vacuum.  How do I draw the “nothing” that is lived for months on this Island, the parenthesis of events in which we are stuck.  The environment also has lost many shades, like the incandescent yellow of the rumors that haven’t been seen, since no one speculates on the next measures that Raúl Castro will approve.

The brown tone of the awaited and collapsing agrarian reform has not turned into the intense green of fruits and vegetables at more affordable prices.  Why mention the eradication of the “white card” that, not becoming a reality, maintains the dark dyes of the absurd Cuban migration.  Instead of winning nuances, on the official easel there is a canvas with the monochromatic spectacle of a single permitted speech.  With these elements, one could well paint a picture of gray on gray and would still be being triumphalistic.

Some think the visits of several foreign presidents add a golden color to the canvas, but these strokes fall on the painting of the chancellery and the government palace, not on the canvas of real life.  They are brushstrokes made outwards, by the skillful hand of the forger who with some retouches here and others there wants to authenticate the supposed changes.  Meanwhile, I still don’t find the color that expresses inertia, that captures the faded reality of a country stuck in time.

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11 thoughts on “Absence of color

  1. “As far as I know the only to actually own a house in Cuba is this: Your mother (or father) is assigned a residence, long before you are born. Every year she pays the government a certain amount of money (it’s never the same amount and the figure is arbitrary)… then when you grow up it’s your turn to pay every year. Then one day (maybe) you get a note from the government that says that you don’t need to pay anymore. And that is as close as you get to actual home ownership in Cuba. Even then, it is illegal to sell it.”

    My questions:
    1.If your parent “owns” a small apartement,and they have 2 children.Who could “get” the apartement when both of the parents die?
    2.These two adults couldn’t stay in that small apartement for ever with the parent. What to do? How to find a place to live in?

    Thank you so much!

  2. “The impressionistic picture I make of my reality” is very apt. I wish you a broader palette.

  3. Yoani, you paint a bleek picture. You need a more optomist view and better opportunities. Your country depribes you of free speech and free press, so I can’t recommend you read more BOOKS or to surf the net. Pills are never your best medicine so lets fix the problem. How do we start and how can I help you? No favor too Big or too small.
    la Verdad es la verdad

  4. @Stu: Thanks for the clarification :D it is greatly appreciated as I didn’t have the actual figures!

    @All : Has everyone voted today?
    And also may I suggest that everyone who can speak spanish start spamming the spanish version of the blog to get them voting as well… Yoani gets thousands of comments for every post and their help would help put her over the top!

  5. On 01Jan sonjud dice: being “hungry” literally and figuratively…
    and the discussions on housing etc. reminded me of the song we wrote after our Cuba visit in June. As I said before, as a visitor mixing with the locals, provided some insight and left a touching impression.
    Seeing the Che Guevara legend so alive was a surprise, but the situation there touched us so mucho that we wrote a song about it: Basically, what would Che say if he returned today? Would he look at Habana and see what he intended, what he defended? Did it all turn out as planned?
    You can hear it for free on myspace dot com/patchifrancesca – it was written from the heart of an independent visitor, …. Let me know if we got the gist of what is going on.
    (Spanish translation is in progress)

  6. My two pennies:

    Government constructed dwellings are rented on a lifetime contract to occupants who pay no more than 10% of their salary as rent (I think these are what Sickboy is referring to). Other dwellings are owned and can be “traded” but not sold outright. As of 1990 there are over 1,000,000 home owners in Cuba.

  7. @ X… I’ll try and answer both your questions:
    1. No. In Cuba you cannot legally sell your house.
    In fact in Cuba you don’t even really own your house.
    As far as I know the only to actually own a house in Cuba is this: Your mother (or father) is assigned a residence, long before you are born. Every year she pays the government a certain amount of money (it’s never the same amount and the figure is arbitrary)… then when you grow up it’s your turn to pay every year. Then one day (maybe) you get a note from the government that says that you don’t need to pay anymore. And that is as close as you get to actual home ownership in Cuba. Even then, it is illegal to sell it.
    2. Since you can’t own a home… I’m guessing no. And besides the income of ordinary people is like 240-300$ per year, there isn’t much left to tax.

    If I missed anything please feel free to add or to correct me :D

    @Everyone: Don’t forget to vote again today!

  8. 1.Can you in Cuba own/buy/sell your house/apartement as other can do in USA?
    2.Do you pay tax every year for owning your own house/apartement? How much (in %) of the average income of ordinary people?

    Thank you!

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