Written by 7:37 am Music

Our Precarious Life

A store on the La Puntilla shopping mall in Miramar, Havana, that sells with prices in USD.

By Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES – My washer is 23 years old, my son’s age, and is already crying out for it to get replaced, because its useful life reached its end, but in a rustic like ours which means nothing. When appliances begin to die here you should search for alternatives taking them to personal repair individuals, since the state workshops don’t have spare parts.

Leaving it in unknown hands is dangerous since you don’t know if the part they’ve placed on will last, or in the event that they have cannibalized your appliance (removed a bit and placed on an old one). Subsequently, you may have to go searching for an honest person, preferably advisable by friends.

Buying a new appliance requires having a card with enough MLC, a Samsung washer can cost greater than 400, and a fan from 50 and up.

The MLC is an invisible currency that no person earns, similar to its predecessor, the CUC, created in 1994. Each currencies aren’t equal to the dollar, the euro, or another, because they will only be utilized in Cuba.

It’s embarrassing to see how the stores in Cuban pesos are virtually empty, while within the stores in MLC (with USD prices) there’s food, perfumery, and home items reminiscent of plates, pans, thermos, mirrors, furniture, paint, and others.

The stores selling in Cuban pesos are nearly empty with the few products lining the shelves for appearance sake. Here, on this one, they’re disposable diapers.

When I even have some money on my card, I spend it on essential things, I now not take into consideration decorating, not even the mirror that I want. We’ve reached the limit of survival, oblivious to comfort.

Within the sixties, after I was born, there was a crisis, my first bottle was a beer bottle with a nipple. When the eighties arrived there was some economic relief within the country, I still keep in mind that wonderful applesauce that was sold in supermarkets. After which, when the socialist bloc fell, got here the Special Period crisis of the early nineties, with blackouts and infinite shortages.

Perhaps you may laugh after I inform you that my breakfast consisted of a glass of water with brown sugar, and a bread roll. Nobody can tell me otherwise, because I even have known each of those stages.

At present, hardships are multiplied in all areas, be it food, medicine, etc. This added to the costs, that are already reaching astronomical levels.

It’s like we’re living inside a western movie, where only the fastest gunslinger survives. On this case, the gun is the fattest wallet.

A nightclub in my neighborhood

I desired to inform you that the Johnny, Miramar’s nightclub, which was famous within the last century, was recently reopened.

I’m not lying if I inform you that it costs a thousand pesos to enter, and when there are live performances by groups or soloists, a table costs 35 thousand, which incorporates some very expensive bottles.

The Johnny Club is back in Miramar, Havana.

The complete internal structure was modified. Before it had an original design: a ramp, three levels, the bar at a lower level than the ground, the dance floor, and the tables above. The music they play now’s salsa, reggaeton and electronic music.

The work was done in record time, I never saw it stop on account of an absence of construction materials. Thus, I gather this place is run by someone with connections and money.

Now I ponder, who can come to the Johnny Club without leaving with their pockets empty?

The employees have told me that the place is private, but they don’t know the owner (or they’re lying). This has happened with state establishments which can be leased for personal businesses nevertheless, who’s favored and the allocation method is an awesome mystery.

Read more from the diary of Irina Pino here.

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