Cuba: A Father’s Day without Fear of Hugs

By Alejandra Garcia on June 16, 2022, from Havana

photo: Irene Perez

Every third Sunday of June, Cuban families celebrate Father’s Day, a tradition we inherited from the United States in 1938. But this Sunday will be different. This time, for the first time in two years, there won’t be any fear of hugging.

The COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020 forced Cubans to stay at home and keep their distance, even from their loved ones. To protect them, we had to use masks everywhere, avoiding kisses and hugs, with the constant fear of catching or spreading the disease.

Those were two very sad years, for Cuba and the world. As the months went by, and with the emergence of more deadly and contagious variants, it became common to hear dear names on the ever-lengthening list of those who died because of the virus. The daily reports became painful.

But Cuban science saved us. The small and blockaded Caribbean island set out to immunize its entire population with its own vaccines, amid shortages and the overwhelming inequality in the distribution of vaccines worldwide, where great powers hoarded the few available doses.

The vaccination campaign, which included from pediatric ages to the most vulnerable elderly, made it possible for Cuba to reduce contagions and deaths.

Thanks to the improvement in the national epidemiological scenario, the Cuban authorities determined a few weeks ago that the use of masks would now be voluntary, that it would not be essential to enter the country with a negative test for Covid-19, and other measures that are gradually bringing us back to normality.

Cuba is no exception; other countries around the world have adopted similar measures to move on and learn to live with a disease that will probably be with us for a little longer, but which is now much less aggressive thanks to science.

This year, Father’s Day celebrations will be more joyous. Families will once again get together to play dominoes, dance, and laugh… although the pain of absence for the parents who were lost in the war against Covid-19 will remain and linger.

Source: Resumen Latinoamerciano – English