Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

November 8, 2017

Cuba, número uno

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 10:43 am

 

 

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“That Hijo de Puta Raul Castro,” blurted our dreadlocked taxi driver. “We need someone younger to lead this country.” His words of insult and passion spewed, incongruously, from a wide smile.

 

Everyone’s Friend, on the seat next to him, ventured “are you allowed to talk like that here in Cuba? We ” – he indicated this Invisible Observer in the backseat – “don’t want to go to jail with you.”

 

Taxi Man removed his hands from the wheel to adopt the position of the Cuban shrug: elbows pulled against his sides, palms outstretched, facing forward. “Como no. why not?” he laughed.

 

So, even before the Havana airport had receded in the taxi’s decades-old rear-view mirror, we were into politics.

 

Everyone’s Friend prodded him on with his chortling Spanish. Horse-drawn wooden wagons and smoke-belching motorcycles passed us on the other side of the divided highway.

 

“We’re a different generation,” Taxi Man continued. “The Revolution was already over when I was born. We need to elect new leaders – younger leaders. We want more freedom, a better economy.”

 

“Who owns this taxi?”

 

“Me. With the earnings, I can feed my family more than just what I buy with the ration card.”

 

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How Capitalistic of you, I.O. thought in the back seat. A billboard filled with Che’s iconic face flowed by, flanked by tall palms and a stray horse who chewed the lush grass. But mental gymnastics attempting to link that face with Taxi entrepreneurship were interrupted by the word “Trump” from within E. F.’s effusive Spanish.

 

Taxi Man’s reaction was swift “Está loco ! Completely crazy,” he mixed his languages. “Obama, he was opening things up. Now this Loco comes in and, for us, it’s four more years of Bloqueo.”

 

He swerved his rattling taxi down city streets, avoiding small lakes that were disguising large potholes. He let us out in front of a decades-old colonial style house. Paint peeled from it, as it did from most of the neighboring buildings. Our two companions waited inside for us.

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“We are poor, Taxi Man smiled his parting words to us. His white teeth glittered against his black skin. “And you can see things are crumbling. But you will be safe in the streets. We like Americans. The Bloqueo and Trump? – this is just politics.”

 

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