14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 26 October 2023 — Cachita, the sea is beautiful, and the wind arrives somewhat autumnal this October in Havana. Dressed in yellow, the doll that represents the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, patron saint of Cuba, remained this Thursday on the marble of a bench in the Parque de La Fraternidad, a few meters from the Capitol in Havana. The downward gaze, the necklaces hanging from her neck and the knotted scarf on her head complete the peculiar scene. But the image is not alone.
You can show the doll and promise a client that ‘a trip is in the offing’
A few meters away, absorbed in the hustle and bustle of survival, the owner of this representation, also of the orisha Oshún, haggles over the price of a peanut nougat with a passing merchant. She, who sells her services as a fortune teller, card reader and prophet, encounters everyday uncertainty in Cuba. She can show the doll and tell a client that “a trip is in the offing,” but she admits she is incapable of predicting the price of a dollar on the black market or deciphering the vagaries of the Havana oil refinery.
The prophets of doom live in difficult times on this Island. They focus on the uncertain future or answer the current questions of their clients. Tomorrow doesn’t matter where now is so urgent. So a doll representing Cachita remains dressed and made up on a park bench, while the owner of the image immerses herself in a world where prayers, cascarilla and rosaries can do little to help her.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.