Hi guys. I’m back. And back in Cuba.
This trip has been different for us on so many levels. This is the first time we are here since Fidel’s dad died. And his grandmother. And his cousin. And his uncle. Yes, the pandemic hasn’t been good for us.
But what I want to write about is the REAL situation in Cuba and probably one of the biggest emigration of Cuban people in the last years.
Cubans were always on the run. Maybe not always but at least since 1959. My brother in law escaped 6 years ago. The other one tried but got cought by the shore guards. Fidel got out by leaving with me. And it was in the good times. Seriously.
Now people are leaving more then before (even if you didn’t notice) . Nobody wants to stay in the Castro’s paradise. Some of you will still stay it’s all bullshit and Cubans are happy people.
Some will say that the simple Cuban life is even better than ours, that you can be happy without new iPhone. But can you really be happy without medicine? without basic supplies?
In Viñales all the stores that actually have things are the stores in MLC (€ or $) but the funny fact is the the government will not sell it to people. The government wants €$€$. Why would it get rid of it? The only way to get it is to have a business like Casa Particular/ taxi or similar. Or pay over 100 CUP to get 1€. Or to buy staff on the black market for crazy price.
Just to get you idea. My mother in law’s retirement is of 1600 CUP (she could barely buy 16 € for that) , her brother in law works and his salary is 2250 CUP. Way more than before right? Yes. But to buy few tomatoes will cost you 100CUP, garlic 150CUP. Small pork like the one we bought 12000 CUP! Pair of shoes- 700 CUP and the rest you have to buy in MLC stores.
But let’s get back to the volcanoes. In Nicaragua.
On 22 of November 2021 Nicaragua announced that Cubans will no longer need visas to entry their country. This opened a whole new route to the US. Before Cubans had to travel to Guyana, Colombia or Ecuador and make their way through one of the most dangerous forests – Darién.
Now the route is easier. You fly to Nicaragua – visa free and than make your way all the way to the US border. Of course it’s not free. The agencies charge up to 4000$ for the flight. The same will cost you to get to the US border.
What’s the deal with the volcanoes?
Well. It’s a story that became a mem that became a slang. Cubans start to joke around about what to say when they get to the border check in Nicaragua. They always ask what do you plan to do, so the best thing is to say “I came to see the volcanoes”. This led to hundreds of mems. And that became a new slang. So if you hear that someone went to see the volcanoes, you know they left for US.
Is this really that comun now?
Well, imagine that the numbers of bookings was so high that Copa Airlines which makes the layover possible (Havana-Panama-Managua) stopped selling tickets to Cubans for any of the destination in Central America. It’s still possible to fly to Managua with Aruba Airlines though.
It’s crazy but nobody talks about Covid anymore. Everyday you just hear “you know who left to see volcanoes? all the family of fulano”. And people are amazed. The taxi driver who was supposed to take us to the airport left for volcanoes the day before. Fidel’s cousin left when we were there, no one knew until she was gone. And so on. People are selling houses, motors, cars.
And as I mentioned. Cubans were always leaving but this kind of emigration it’s the biggest I have seen since I get visit Cuba for the first time.
So don’t be surprised if you don’t find your friends or favorite staff when you get to Cuba. They may be visiting the volcanoes of Nicaragua.
Edit: Since I’ve written this few more friends had left Cuba. The volcanoes are real guys.