Every Cuban I know who lives out of the country sends money to their families in Havana, regardless of age, financial situation or how long they have been out the country. There is only one answer to this: no matter if you send $20 or $2,000 it is going to help the people you love to buy their daily bread.
Putting food on a Cuban table is the priority, the rest will come or not, depending on the relative’s budget and possibilities.
How do you explain to your non — Cuban friends the fact that our families have been working their entire lives and they still depend on us to make it to the end of the month? They have been growing up in a city that gives them the opportunity to attend universities and hospitals for free, plays and concerts for almost no cost, but something as basic as having food and clothing is a constant worry and so expensive, that there is no way they could survive without help.
Everything I do for my family is out of love. I feel that no matter how much I do for them I could never return all the affection and the care that I had received from them.The fact that I provide for them without even thinking about it does not mean that I do not feel sad every time I have to transfer money to my mom or to bring soft socks from Canada for my grandma’s circulation. I feel that they should have all this near by after a life of work. Also, I know that for them it is not easy to accept material things or cash without pain. They would love to help ME with money to buy a house or to have financial stability in my new country, the same way my grandparents did with them before the “Revolution”.
As I said, the Cuban situation is not easy to explain. You cannot briefly put an idea out there for people to get it. I realized a few days ago that you need to see the country with your own eyes (and a Cuban friend if possible) to understand a bit of something.
I used to work with a girl from Tanzania who used to send money to her family and barrels of things to Dar Es Salam from time to time. She was surprised when I told her how difficult and costly it is to send things, money and even the price of phone calls to my dear Caribbean island.
I wish it was easy for me to send a barrel whenever I can to Havana. Cuba is my Goodwill and my lifetime charity work. I worry for the elderly, at least the young people can leave the country, create a life somewhere else but my grandparents are going nowhere, they are staying there until their end and as long as I can get some relief, I will.
Note: At the moment, wiring money to Cuba from a Canadian bank will cost you 30 dollars (not cheap, I know…) and there is a percentage that the Cuban bank takes for every transfer, plus the conversion to the CUC (convertible peso).
There is no Western Union service to Cuba in Toronto (wonder why there is in the States and not in Canada). I know some people who use Transcard.
Originally published at Cubapop.