Monday, October 11, 2010

Twin Bed in America Libre

Havana 130 One picture is more valuable than thousands or millions of words. Walking across Havana, especially throughout  its downtown, I almost hit my nose with this bed displayed as one of the scarce items Cubans can buy in their crumbling stores in their national currency.

Suddenly, that ramshackle bed, almost unable to support any given mattress, strikes me as the perfect metaphor to describe and define today’s Cuba. It stands there just to fill a space with no other reason that to show there are “some items” Cubans can buy in pesos and not in CUC.

Barely holding the signal of its price, that bed represents the symbol of what a country could be after a long standoff of a tyranny. In the more crowd area of downtown Havana (San Rafael’s boulevard and Industria st) inside one of the biggest electro domestic stores during the flourished Russian years in Cuba (the 80’s), that bed stands there as the symbol of what the inner Cuban economy could offer to their people: nothing. Ironically, the store holds the pompous name of America Libre (America Free).

Free of what?

At least, free of the broken windows and dump like the store in front of it. Free of customers and free of items to sell. People is passing by, waiting to call in the public phone booth in the very entrance of the store, but the feeble twin bed never get the attention of any pedestrian in their wandering throughout San Rafael’s boulevard. The same attention people pays to the officials and their raucous statements in the state television.

1000 pesos is almost 39 CUC which could be a pretty low price for a twin bed. But who could be lay down over it when it is almost trembling under the weight of its price?

How many people could afford to pay with their salary such “privileged” twin bed?

Not the officials, I guess. They have better mattresses and better beds for themselves and their offspring. But the twin bed had fulfilled its duty: showing off the choice that anybody wants to themselves.

Cuba is like that twin bed that nobody wants but everybody let stay on display meanwhile people is passing by looking for “another” choice… to sleep.