What a family saw when they went to visit a
sick relative in Cuba in March 2010
April 6 - The sister of a
very good friend of therealcuba.com passed away in Havana on March 10, 2010.
Her niece, who
used to be a nurse in Cuba and now lives in the US, went to Cuba to visit her
mother and to take medicines that were not available to regular Cubans in the
Her son, who also
lives in the US, went with her.
call them Ann and Paul, not their real names, since they still have
relatives in Cuba.
She was able to
see her mother while she still was hospitalized and stayed in Cuba for her
Some of the
stories she tells and the photos she took, demonstrate the incredible suffering
of the Cuban people at the hands of this gang of common criminals who has been
running Cuba for 51 years without ever been elected.
The family sent me
these photos because they want the world to see the reality of Cuba's health
care for regular Cubans, very different from the lies that Michael Moore
portrayed in his documentary "Sicko."
went to visit her mother at La Benéfica, a hospital in Havana, she was
horrified to see that she was suffering from a terrible skin infection
that she had caught during her hospital stay.
daughter defined it as "sarna" (mange), something that normally affects
animals, not people.
father had stayed at the hospital a couple of nights to accompany his
ailing wife and had caught the same skin infection.
saw the doctor, she complained about the skin infection that was
affecting her mother as a result of the lack of hygiene at the hospital.
looked at Ann, lifted his shirt and showed her that he also had "sarna."
working here has it," was his response.
able to treat her mother's infection with several creams that she had
brought with her from the US. They were all purchased over the
counter here and brought a much needed relief to her mother's itching.
the "cafeteria" at La Benéfica.
next to the frot door reads: "Welcome. Working for a better service with
was probably painted more than 51 years ago, when this hospital was
really proud of the service it provided to its patients.
"Emergency Room Desk" at La Benéfica Hospital.
on the wall reads "Urgency and Emergency."
As you can
see, they were well prepared and ready to manage whatever emergency
mother died on March 10, 2010, she and Paul went to a funeral home to
make the necessary arrangements.
funeral director told her that since she was paying with dollars, she
was going to get the best chapel that also had acces to the best
restroom facilities at the funeral home.
restroom didn't even have a toilet seat or cover. Imagine how the one
for regular Cubans who pay with pesos would look like!
wall at the "best" restroom available.
wet your hands, those days when water was available, but there was no
soap or paper towels available.
the "lobby" at the funeral home. Not a single couch or even a chair was
available for sitting.
we will have photos of the funeral at Colon Cemetery in Havana.
funeral home told the family that the burial would have to take place
during the next two hours, because they did not have what was required
to embalm the body.
were told that the coffin didn't have a side handle to carry it, because
the bottom would come off since it was made of cardboard and cloth.
It had to
be carried by holding the bottom, as it is shown in this photo.
As you can
see, the bottom of the coffin was almost separated from the rest of the
destruction caused by the Castro brothers has reached the Colon
majority of the mausoleums are in a state of semi-destruction, like the
one shown here, that has sticks of wood preventing the roof from caving
taken inside the Cemetery indicate the deterioration after years of
There was a
police presence all over the Cemetery, in case people began to complain
about its condition and also because many graves have been opened and
vandalized by people trying to steal whatever they could find.
Life in Cuba today
The average monthly salary in Cuba is 245 pesos or
about 8 pesos per day.
And what are all these people waiting in line for?
To buy a hot dog for 10 pesos, or a little more than
one day's salary.
According to the person who sent me the photo, the
hot dog was not only expensive but also cold.
And here is the menu of that cafeteria.
Hot dog 10 pesos. Mayabe beer 18 pesos. Cacique beer
Cigarettes 7 pesos. And a condom 1 peso.
A condom? In a cafeteria?
Maybe it is because the lines are so long that some
people can't wait until they get home.
Here is how many onions you can buy for15 pesos, or
the equivalent to your salary for 2 days.
This is what's left of the once famous "Esquina de
Tejas" (Texas' Corner)
One thing hasn't changed: Almost every corner has
been turned into a garbage dump.
The old Radiocentro theatre, now called Yara