Miami, FL. – The jury of the contest “Cuba and Venezuela”, convened by the Cuban Observatory of Conflicts and the Apretaste! application, awarded the first prize of $300 dollars to the young Barbara D. Ramírez from Cuba’s Mayabeque province.

The contest, open to Cuban residents on the island, consisted of explaining how a democratic change in Venezuela could affect their country, their neighborhoods and themselves at a personal level.

Practically all the participants agreed that in Cuba a new “special period would begin, even if the government might baptize it with another name”.  They refer to the “Special Period during peacetime,” a long season of economic crisis that officially began in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It was evident that most participants were afraid of electric power blackouts, the deterioration of transport and the food supplies.  The youngest ones narrated the sad stories of hardships that their parents and grandparents told them.

Disenchantment with socialism is evident: “Socialism promises wealth but only delivers poverty,” said a 22-year-old young man from Camagüey.  Others categorized Cuba’s system as “unsustainable”.

Many participants, however, agreed that although a terrible economic crisis might affect the island, there would be a hope for democratic change, although they believe that “those clinging to power in Cuba are not going to give it away easily.”

In that sense, Barbara, the young winner said: “I am a woman, I am a mother, but above all things I am a human being. The oppression I have endured in my 28 years of life has not succeeded in killing my concepts about what is good or bad and what is terrible. So without any fear of being mistaken, for the pain of Venezuela, for the freedom of Cuba, for a better and dignified future for my little one,  I pray to God that the Dictator of Caracas fall, that the usurper of Miraflores pays for all his crimes and that JUSTICE finally arrives , even if my plate of food depends on it, I say to Maduro : …… get out of Venezuela, you bastard! “.

As evidenced by a majority of the participants, there is a huge difference on information supply between Cuba´s official media and the social networks. Only 5% qualified Guaidó’s presidency as a coup d’etat and said they would be willing to “fight to defend the Venezuelan people.”  However, those participants who follow the social networks referred to Venezuela as a “Narco-State” and a” Cuban colony”. Many considered that Cuba is responsible for the misery and violence going on in Venezuela.

All Cuban provinces participated in this “Cuba and Venezuela” contest except for the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud. (Isle of Pines)  The ages of the participants oscillated between 20 and 68 years.

Other winners of the contest were Alex Infante (Villa Clara), Raúl Rey (Camagüey) y Francisco Pérez (La Habana),  Alex Cruz (Matanzas), José Reyes (Sancti Spíritus) y Roberto Rivas (La Habana).

 One of the winners, a young man from Villa Clara, expressed that a democratic change in Venezuela would give “enough momentum so that the same happens here in Cuba… Fear will not be a barrier. “

But several contestants believe that it is Cuban government who makes the fear of change grow by creating a panorama that is based on the principle “you’re going through bad times, but you’ll be worse off if things in Cuba change.” One of the contestants said: “The media have sown the idea that a change would mean the automatic proliferation of violence, crime and uncontrolled presence of firearms in the streets, as well as the immediate entry of American troops to enslave us. “

However, many of the participants do not doubt the proximity of a positive change in Cuba. Says another winner, from Havana: “The end of the Cuban dictatorship is coming. It’s a hard, but inevitable transit. I have no doubt, it’s time to wake up. Finally, the twilight of socialism has come. The age of freedom is looming. “


Cuban Conflict Observatory

The Cuban conflict Observatory is an autonomous project of civil society supported by the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba. The mission of the Cuban Observatory of Conflicts (OCC) is to expose, educate and empower citizens willing to take initiatives to promote the solution of the problems that afflict Cuban society.

Winning Essay Contest Cuba and Venezuela