Poverty in cuba by Tosya Khodarkovsky
Cuba, while beautiful and lively, presented itself with utter poverty, decaying buildings, and desperate people -- who yet were incredibly friendly and helpful. As my father and I visited the Universidad de la Habana, we came across two professors (not depicted above) who told us of their hardships in Cuba. The woman, Angela, taught pharmacy; the man taught history. The two brought us to a cafe where Fidel Castro had sat, etching into the rough-lined table, and gazing out the same window covered with fawns, pondering his revolutionary tactics. Angela explained her plight: when she was pregnant, her husband was killed in an accidental army explosion. Widowed and a single mother, she tried to fend for herself only with the meager income provided through her teaching position. But it does not suffice she says, the government gave no aid to assist her after her husband’s death. The other professor had fought in Angola for five years (offering proof by showing us a certificate with Obama’s face), but upon return, was given no aid from the Cuban government.
Walking through the streets, one finds half-collapsed buildings, pipes spewing water onto the street, and raw bricks cracked upon the sidewalks. On a particular night, one might find a line of twenty people waiting for a scant supply of fresh bread. The bread seller stands behind metal bars through which he hands out the bread to prevent people from grabbing more than their share from him. In some neighborhood stores, green plaques line the wall announcing the alloted rations of food, for example half a liter of olive oil per person. The few markets had very limited food to offer: mainly onions, cabbage, not very red tomatoes, and garlic.Restaurants must improvise and change menu items depending on what type of ingredients they can organize. There is a thriving art scene, though, and great music and jazz places.