Reports from Cuba: A conversation between two friends

Nike writes in Havana Times:

A Conversation Between Two Friends 

We are living a situation here in Cuba that is totally against our will, where any little thing can kill us.

These are the phone conversations between two friends who were determined to help each other:

The phone rings:


“Hi Roberto, it’s Arturo, I’m calling to tell you cigarettes came into the bodega ration store and they’re selling four packs per person.”

Roberto answers: “Thanks, compadre!”

Arturo: “You’ve only got three days to buy them. They came in today, go as fast as you can because they might run out.”

Roberto: “I’m leaving right now, get me a place in line.”

Another day

“Arturo, it’s Roberto, I’m calling to tell you the overdue chicken came in and I got you a place in line, bring your rations booklet and money because they’re selling July’s cooking oil and June’s chicken.”

Arturo: “Asere, I don’t have that much money, this is all a fortune and I have to buy my little girl guavas to make juice for her school snack, a bag of bread costs 180 pesos for 10 small rolls.”

Roberto: “OK Arturo, see what you can do, I’m going to get you a place in line, and you buy what you can…”

Arturo: “I’ll see you there.”

Arturo’s landline rings:

“Arturo, it’s Roberto, I’m calling to quickly tell you that I got you a place in line at the drugstore, medicines came in and they put a list up on the door of what came in, and the medicine your mom and I take for blood pressure that comes with the card came in, which hasn’t come in for two months.”

Arturo: “Asere, this line business never ends, I’m already tired, I just came from the line to get a cannister of gas and then the line at the bakery for a bread roll… alright, I’m coming.”

Roberto: “I’ll wait for you.”

Roberto’s landline rings:

Arturo: “Roberto, I’m at the store and they’re selling a packet of chicken thighs, two packets of hot dogs and two tubes of minced meat with the rations booklet, that’s half of what they gave us up until December.”

Roberto: “I’m on my way, I have to ask to borrow some money because I don’t have enough, I’ll see you there, thanks brother.”


This is people’s lives in Cuba, waiting in one line and going to another, without time to think about anything else. The worst thing in this case is that Roberto didn’t get the pills he needs to control his blood pressure as they ran out before his turn. He hadn’t taken them for two months, and this was how, one day when waiting in one of the many lines he waited in every day, he had a huge heart attack after a disappointment and died… he was only 55 years old. We were very good friends.

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