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Cuba In The Rainy Season

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Exclusive to Huffington Post.

On a tropical island life needs to be planned taking into account the rain. Umbrellas and layers would constitute a compulsory part of our accessories were it not for their high prices in convertible currency. With such a wet climate, many assume that we specialize in avoiding the damage that these storms bring. Some even believe we practice ancient rituals to welcome the downpours and the thunder.

But in reality we are very vulnerable in the face of severe weather. Leaking roofs are very common, especially in the construction of the last fifty years. Building collapses, which are common in our urban landscapes, don't result from the imperialists' bombs but rather from the silent action of the rain and sun. All this deterioration is aggravated by the difficulty in buying a can of exterior paint. For many years the product simply wasn't available, not even in the informal market. Now it can be had only by paying a month's salary for each gallon.

"I couldn't go because it was raining," is the most common excuse in the rainy season. Not coming or arriving late, whether to work or to a tryst, is socially acceptable when we use the irrefutable argument of bad weather. But it's not always a pretext without foundation. The street where I live floods because the drains are blocked and I risk falling into one of the many potholes which could be fatal to my ankles. So on the days it rains I must exercise my jumping skills to make it to the bus stop. On the way I see my neighbors covering themselves with nylon bags and, instead of the expensive umbrellas, parents cover their children's heads with the newspaper Granma.

Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English Translation.