Waiting for Exile
May 28, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

They didn’t have a permit to rent to a foreigner, but they didn’t have a permit to rent to a Cuban, either. A German wintered in the flat upstairs, and a Chilean political-​science student lived below without a problem. I was a yanqui, so the consequences of staying there could be more grave. But Elaine was willing to risk it if I was. Especially if I was staying for more than a few months. Renting was their family’s only source of income, and they needed to save if they ever wanted to move out of Cuba. (SLVQR)
posted by Rustic Etruscan (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Related: Thirty days as a Cuban (Harpers, Oct. 2010)
posted by wcfields at 3:57 PM on May 28, 2014

Good read...
posted by jim in austin at 4:24 PM on May 28, 2014

Yeah, good stuff. The sooner we can end the dumb embargo, the better — it's one of the few things that props up the daft papier-mâché government there. Hopefully, a solution like that would also allow the Cubans to preserve some of the really great things that the revolution brought, like their free education and medical care.
posted by klangklangston at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2014

I spent a few days in Havana last year and it was amazing, just how special and unique the place is. Since then I've often thought returning for a longer spell, but I hadn't actually realized quite how difficult and fraught the situation was for foreigners living there. You really don't get much of a sense of looming government oppression when you're there: it seems like a pretty normal place, just strangely out of sync with the rest of the world. Part of what makes it special and unique and strangely out of sync is the embargo, so of course you wonder how much will be lost when that ends, but that should be for the Cubans to decide.
posted by Flashman at 8:26 PM on May 28, 2014

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