Among the Lines / Regina Coyula

Cubans routinely spend hours a day standing in lines. (14ymedio)

Regina Coyula, 27 December 2020 — “Among lawyers you see yourself,” that curse from the movies, would be readapted for Cuba as “Among the lines you see yourself,” exact, comprehensive.

I’m going through paperwork, a brutal exit after the isolation of the pandemic. But in addition to the exercise of patience, long hours of waiting are much better than Granma* or Cuba Dice*, as the states of opinion go.

After the first hours, the complicity of suffering the transitory common destination of the solution (or not) of the procedure, no longer cautious, the irritation, discontent and suspicion faced by the advent of 2021 emerge.

The new prices take up far more space than the wage increases; one does not have to be a mathematician or an economist, everyone who complained in my line at the Civil Registry — which was not a few — assumed that life was not just paying for food and energy, and that those normal extras are clearly not a problem for those who “ordered” the “Ordering Task” [Tarea Ordenamiento**].

I saw serious doubts with the phrase “no one will be left homeless,” as more than one case of continued homelessness was narrated in the line.

As always in Cuba, the jokes, now also in the form of memes, were shared with that ability to laugh at our misfortune, an escape valve also to wow “all those leaders who appear on television whose appearances deny any food difficulties.”

As a background note: in that line of anxious people, and in those at the fosca Bank, the currency exchange, the ration store at N and 21, the Coppelia ice cream parlor, the agricultural markets at 17 and K and at 26 and 41, the foreign currency store at 12 and Linea and State TRD chain store at La Mariposa, the 12 and 25 market, the former Pain de Paris at 26 and Kohly, and on the A27 bus; social distancing is an entelechy, something that, like the general discontent, television journalists fail to capture for their year-end triumphalism.

Translator’s notes:
* State newspapers.
**The so-called “Ordering” or “Statutory” Task will begin to be implemented on 1 January 2021 with the elimination of Cuba’s dual currency system, the revaluing of the Cuban peso, increases in pensions, wages and prices, and other actions.