Monday, November 2, 2009

Cuba in Canadian News

I usually make a round check about the most important Canadian newspapers, usually trying to find any sort of news about Cuba, or any opinion or resemblance of any kind. Mostly, the majority of my time is wasted: Canada pays little attention at what is happening in Havana, even when almost 1 million of Canadians travel every year to our country.

Then, when I found any reference or major opinion sadly I uncovered ignorance, superficiality and even a vintage biased look at our problems. And I don’t want to be rude with my fellows Canadians, but how it is possible that Cuba is the number five winter holiday destination and a simple view about our reality is so poor, biased and almost inexistent?

Today, after almost a month, The Canadian Press released a report about an audit done to the Canadian Embassy in Cuba. Apparently, there is nothing involving our day-to-day life out there, but even the slightest sight about Canadian business in their embassy in Havana brings a tiny ray of light at what it is a sombre and striking reality there.

The article talks about the safety and the security of the Canadians visiting the embassy, but at the end jumps to the point to uncover how many embassies and consulates trade with Cubans workers, especially security guards. I quote:

"The risk to staff who must transport and assume responsibility for large amounts of cash is also of concern," says the audit. The bank run "is common knowledge."

The embassy's 80 guards are paid with cash-stuffed envelopes, all of which are given to the head guard to distribute. "This practice not only places the head guard at risk but also places him in a position of power over his colleagues."
I think I don’t need to emphasize too much the remarks. But unconsciously, the author is just remarking what it is a well-known reality for all Cubans: Havana is not the safest paradise that the official Cuba is marketing everywhere, not only for Canadians and visitors in general, but for Cubans in first term, and the last remark was forgot by the reporter, it is of my own.

There is another aspect that the article brings out amazingly unnoticed: how western diplomats cashed the personal who is working in those places, and probably trade their hard work with a few dollars, knowingly they are desperate and they are not going to stop at nothing.

Honestly, I don’t mind too much about the Canadian diplomats, they always go through anyway. What I really care is about my Cubans fellows, they are at risk of everything: to lose their few dollars hardly earned, to have their life at risk seriously without the advantage of being a tourist or a diplomat or a simple foreigner visitor.

At the end, the most humiliating experience is to know that probably another month or two will go through and we won’t hear anything about our country, and I am not talking about the serious violations of Human Rights there: about that, not even the PM Stephen talks.