author photo

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

The Mother Who Rents Her Daughter

June 24, 2012 | Print Print |

Osmel Almaguer

The La Terraza touristic restaurante in Cojimar. Foto: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Near my house there’s a woman who rents her eight-month-old daughter to people willing to pay in order to prevent them from having to stand in lines. Both sides — the mother and the customers — are acting in ways that are eroding the little bit of courtesy that still remains among people in Cuba.

One of the few situations in which civic courtesy is practiced is when it comes to lines involving women and their children, as they are allowed to cut to the head of lines.

But if we judge this case from a moral point of view, it would be difficult to describe the attitude of both sides in this unusual and almost absurd verbal contract as anything other than guilty.

The mother can be pointed to as being guilty of entrusting her daughter to strangers, exposing the child to serious risks, using her as an instrument of labor, as well as deceiving and abusing people’s good will.

Similarly, the customers can only be described as cheating and acting with complicity in the brazen approach adopted by the mother.

It would be useful, however, to look at this case while abstracting ourselves from only the moral aspect of the question, focusing on the causes that gave rise to such an absurd situation.

Firstly, we need to consider the needs of this mother – who is divorced, unemployed and has no source from which to draw money needed for the month.

It’s true, though, that she doesn’t suffer any physical impairment that would prevent her from getting a job. Nor does she evidence any visible signs of mental slowness.

It’s simply that her life has been part of a chain of events that have led to this marginalization, and now she’s fighting the best she can in order to survive.

In second place, if there are customers for the service supplied by this woman, it’s simply because the situation of the many lines is so favorable.

In the specific case of the sale of cooking gas (a situation about which I’m well aware), the supply is very limited, and so people do what they have to do to move up in line and obtain that vital fuel.

This doesn’t even involve the private restaurants that stockpile this resource in order to prepare and sell their food, although that problem also exists. Rather, this situation is one involving families that don’t want their children to go without eating.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    Just when I had begun to thnk that I had seen and heard it all about Cubans’ ability to “invent” I read this post. This is hilarious!

  • http://www.GRDPublishing.com Grady Ross Daugherty

    This is not hilarious; it is disgusting.

    Marxism has nothing in common with authentic socialism, regardless of the religious-like devotion to it of many sincere people. This bourgeois, counter-transformationary ideology, with its false state monopoly ownership core principle, must be discarded, if Cuba is ever to draw back from the precipice.

    Luckily, China and Vietnam experimented and came to their senses, as least with regard to the core economic principle, and have avoided the fate of the Soviet Union, et al.

  • viva cuba libre

    Grady, everytime I read your posts I feel like Im listening to a tape recorder. Luckily for you most people’s replay while they have’nt share your opinion their comments have been very kind indeed. In other words, its getting extremately boring. Osmel, you are correct survival was the key frase here. Its shamefull but sometimes necessary if you want to place a meal for your kids on the table; especially, if you live in Cuba. Only those who have lived under similar political systems can understand the gravity of food supply under such circumstances, let us hope that Cuba can move forward and away from rethoric…Cubans have lots of potential and a beatifull island. Im sure it will be no much longer just take a look to the 50’s old generation and how they are slowly fading , its just the fact of time. Who would say that 20 years ago a blog like this one could have been possible (you would all been in jail by now); that alone should give you hope for a change.

  • john sparre

    with authentic socialism people won’t rent babies. with authentic socialism people will be perfected. i know a state in a federal republic where women don’t rent babies to get ahead in the line. they rent babies for the purpose of begging from tourists. buy powdered milk for my baby. the shop buys the powdered milk back a few minutes later. this state has long had a communist government. of course, it is not cuba.