22 December, 2011
Adrift on Firm Land / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.
He worked for years in the Urbano Noris sugar plant. He complied with
all of the daily chores required by his job. He was useful. And
efficient. But today, he is another one of the many Cubans floating adrift.
Humberto Hernandez Palma lives in San German and worked in the Urbano
Noris central for quite some time, but now he has been faced with
something very difficult. He is sick. He has gone through the medical
commission in his region three times in just one year. During the first
occasion- he told me- they diagnosed him with â€œtable oneâ€, which means
that he is completely limited in his physical strength. However, the
provincial medical commission refused to recognize that measure and
handed him a report which stated he had â€œmedian limitation of physical
He sought answers within what he thought was fair- the National Medical
Commission- but in November, the National Commission responded that they
denied his request for medical leave. He tried to find some answers in
the sugarcane production plant Urbano Noris but there they also told him
that he does not meet the necessary prerequisites to have a medical
leave on the grounds of health problems. During recent times he has
also started to suffer from serious heart conditions (cardiopathy).
They then sent Humberto to the Labor and Social Security Department of
the municipality to obtain 60 percent of the salary in one year, to
later end up unemployed and with serious difficulties to buy all the
medicines he would need to take care of his heart condition. He is
another Cuban who, amid sugarcane and some light smoke, has ended up
floating adrift with his horizon plagued by countless dark clouds.
Translator: Raul G.