Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thanks to Pinochet...

Chileans don't have to live like this:

"People don't want the Cubans in Miami to come back," said the young Cuban in his apartment.

"But every month, someone I know leaves. Just last month, one of my friends went to Guatemala, and then to the United States. I have to make new friends all the time."

As he talked, the doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of the daily food delivery. Each family gets a monthly food ration based on the number of people. Today, the food man brought 30 eggs for the month, a ration for three people. (The young man has not bothered to tell the authorities that his mother and brother have moved out, and that he and his girlfriend live alone in the apartment.) A day earlier, the food man brought three small pieces of chicken - a two-week supply.

Like many Cubans, the young man lives in two economies - the official one and the unofficial one. He makes most of his money selling pirated copies of DVDs. He has a friend whose black market business is repairing and selling cars, without government authorization.

"I'd like to open my own business, to work with cars, but that's not allowed now," said the friend.

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