(Published in Laborem, voice of the Movement of Christian Workers/Cuba. Year 9, No. 36, October-December 2010)
There is a close relationship between the family and migration. The family is a group constituted by blood ties or marriage that, besides preceding other forms of social relationships, due to its functions constitutes the very marrow of society. It is the school of love, of education and participation in people’s lives, while it gives its members company and security. Migration, which is as ancient as the family, is a form of reaccommodation in order to survive when material and/or social conditions in the place of residence become insufficient to guarantee the conservation and development of life.
With the exception of the nomadic tribes that moved around with all their members, contemporary migration separates one part of its members, often a married couple. It is a phenomenon that, becoming universal as globalization develops, affects the traditional functions of the family. In the particular case of Cuba, the economic crisis, the lack of proportion between income and the cost of living and the prohibition on leaving and returning to the country, among other factors, generate individual as well as mass migration, as the Cuban family immersed in the struggle to satisfy its most elemental needs, when separated, loses a good part of the reasons that held it together. This has occurred both before and after the embargo, before and after the Adjustment Law and before and after the “Battle of Ideas” and so it will continue.
Migration, with no possibility of returning, besides affecting the family–especially the youngest, who are the principal beneficiaries of its instruction, education and love–also affects the nation, since the flight of professionals is decapitalizing and aging our society. Perhaps that is why John Paul II, in his homily to the family, told us, “Cuba, take care of your families so that you keep your heart healthy.”
Translated by S. Solá
January 17 2011