Reports from Cuba: Unpredictable blackouts

Eduardo N. Cordovi Hernandez writes in Havana Times:

Unpredictable Blackouts

In Cuba, blackouts are like numbers in math (?), a constant.

Blackouts – as we affectionately and now familiarly call electricity cuts – are a common practice in any modern city to maintain power distribution lines. It’s scheduled in advance and people in areas that will be affected are notified. They also happen when repair works need to be done after an accident on a road or because of the onslaught of a weather phenomenon or other situations. The latter are more pressing and, as a result, blackouts can last longer. In Cuba, they are also scheduled; but electricity is cut for other reasons that make them repetitive, long…

This schedule business is quite musical. The day and time we should have a blackout might roll around, but when it does, it doesn’t happen. Even though you did everything earlier on bearing in mind the fact you wouldn’t have electricity in the night, you’re happy because at least you won’t be so hot and can frighten off the mosquitoes with the fan, which we call killing two birds with one stone.

In terms of other reasons for cutting the electricity, or rather the very old power plants shut down often because spare parts are hard to find or there are problems with fuel supply. But blackouts imply an extra that reaches limits that, even if you are a patient person, sometimes – I’d say a lot of the time -, even those with blood colder than a toad, end up on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Maybe you’d be able to accept any nonsense you’re told, but there are situations when you’re sure that they are trying to pull a fast one, even if it’s right!

This happened to me two nights ago, but it also happens in the day!

If it happens in the day and you realize, because the fan stopped worked, you opened the fridge and see it’s off… or, if it happens at night because the blackout came when most people are still awake. It might happen in the day, and you might not realize it because you’re running around busy or walking outside or sleeping in the morning or afternoon because there was already a blackout late into the night.

It might seem like a horror movie where they want to slowly drive you crazy.

Press play.

Nine PM. I have a TV, but I don’t watch TV. I have it connected to my laptop as an additional screen. I spend a lot of time writing, reading, or watching movies on it. My laptop doesn’t have any more battery left. It’s plugged in. I don’t have a backup.I was told that this battery is no longer being manufactured. Anyway, just like the backup, I can’t invest on buying these things. They are expensive peripheral devices.

I’m writing an article… Poof! The electricity goes out. They did tell us, I didn’t find out. It’s my fault. I don’t follow the news so closely.


Five minutes later, what joy! The electricity comes back on. I turn on my computer. I load Windows again. And, I write a couple of sentences again. The ones I just wrote, because the computer shut down all of a sudden and didn’t save the changes. I went to the kitchen to make a coffee, a good coffee, that somebody had given me. None of this coffee mixed with other things business. It wasn’t so late for coffee, plus it doesn’t stop me from sleeping. I looked at my cellphone. It was 9:15…

Poof! The electricity goes out again. I thought: Now it definitely won’t come on until midnight. But no. Before five minutes were up: The electricity was on. What do you think about that? I wanted to finish off my article, but I was afraid the electricity would go out again. So, I drank my coffee slowly. I thought about going to sleep. I wasn’t tired. It was 9:40 and I thought it was a good time to take the risk and turn on my computer again. It took it’s time to come back on. I loaded Windows. I opened my Word document to carry on working. I began to read everything from the beginning to get into it… I thought a little about what I was going to write and when I was ready to start typing: Poof! Total darkness.

I don’t want to keep going on. The electricity went out and came back seven times between 9 PM and midnight. It’s a joke.

One time, the blackout lasted half an hour, and just over an hour another time. The rest was like I said, a matter of minutes. Pecking at you. Like a form of Chinese torture. You’d welcome a three-hour blackout more.

It isn’t a problem with a fuse in the house. People in other municipalities have told me they are familiar with this situation. My neighbors think they do this to mess with us. As a game! Others say counterrevolutionaries are cutting the electricity and putting it on again because they want people to take to the streets. Who believes that?

I heard someone recently say that it was the State that was breaking things. Nothing makes sense, but neither does cutting the electricity off and putting it on again. Others even say it’s to break electrical appliances. The icing on the cake.

Somebody told me in all seriousness: It’s not a matter of parts breaking or fuel shortages, but another way for them to show us who’s in charge. What a mindset!

People say a lot of things just to say something. I also heard that they are going to shoot a new X-Files, dealing with this enigma. Do you see what I’m saying? At the end of the day, nothing is taken seriously.

Please, if you have an opinion about this nonsense, share it in the comments section.

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