Georbanelis Betancourt

  • “Food, at least what is given to children in the hospital, is not food as the one they are used to eat at home. If they give you a soup or something, it is a water that does not contains nutrition that it should have to provide a good alimentation to kids. Apart from having a strong medicine in the vein, which is a medicine with some nutrition, it is not so much trouble for the doctors, it is easier for them. We should understand, how strong this medicine is when it is in the vein and being such a small creature, without checking carefully if your child could handle it. In many rooms there was no fan and I had to find a way how to bring our own fan there. We even did not have any at home. There are awfully bad conditions, child having temperature in an extremely hot room. At least I wanted him to have some fresh air. Also, I was looking for some way how to bring him a good soup, because many times they gave them only milk and something that he did not want to eat because it was not food at the end, those were things that did not have nutrition as the one that one being provided to the children at home.”

  • “Here, what you can see the most, is that if you don't have money, you don´t go ahead, if you don´t have a lever - you don´t start a car, if you don´t have a godfather - you don´t get baptized. Do you understand? You must have someone in the branch of music, in the cultural centre, some cultural music promoter, or to have enough influence, or monetary income, to be able to advance. If not, then you do not go ahead, you are nobody. ´So, from what you say, money is more important than talent?´ Yes, if we refer to this province, yes. Here where I live, in Guantánamo, yes. From my point of the view yes, if you do not advance, you cannot take this big step, because it requires a lot of money. You want to record a song, you need money; you want to record a video, you need money; you want a guy to represent you or to be included in culture centre – that is practically all state’s matter. Anyone who is a professional now, is already a professional and has no problem. The one who is now trying to come up from the zero, should have either someone who sends him money, or should have some important business that provides him enough money, so that he can continue with his plans, but even with all that I mention, it is not easy to get through.”

  • “I oversaw taking preventive measures. We were visiting people, who by that time had a fever, we went to their houses with a sprinkler and deposited the chlorine, in this case in the toilet bowl, or to the handrail of the seats, straight on the seats, on the bed shovel etc., wherever we could. In the case of cholera, we took measures like that. Spreading chlorine, when the cholera epidemic hit, when was needed to wash their hands with chlorine frequently - as the containment was really high. There were some cases, quite many critical cases, that ended with death. The impact of contamination was huge. I also reached some places, they took me to a faraway destination by car, where conditions of people were really critical.”

  • “Above all the need. When someone becomes to dedicate himself to pickpocketing, to vandalism, or to assaults, it is because this person lacks something, he has some need. His parents do not have a manner how or where to get things, to buy a pair of shoes, to buy good pants. So how do you live, when you see that someone can dress well, and I cannot - that person is looking for the easiest way how to gain these things. The easiest way in this case is to get into a patio, to steal some clothes, to assault someone late at night, as in many cases they have assaulted.”

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    Cuba, 05.03.2020

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“The reality in Cuba remains hidden. People do not want to see what they are living today.”

Georbanelis Betancourt Lopéz
Georbanelis Betancourt Lopéz
photo: Post Bellum

Georbanelis Betancourt Lopéz was born in 1988 in Guantánamo, Cuba. In reaction to his mother’s problems as a chronic alcoholic and frequent jail time, he tried to be a good citizen and not seek problems with the communist system throughout his adolescence. At the end of the first decade of the new millennium, he was accused of having killed a cow and sanctioned to a fine and exclusion from the “Labour Office” [Casa del Trabajo]. For this reason, he sought work as a fumigator, as he did not have many other options. In 2012, he was forced to join the “Rapid Response Brigade” [Brigada de Respuesta Rápida] and participated in the campaign “Quick Aid” [Respuesta Rápida] which was responding to the cholera epidemic in Cuba. He currently works as a mason and is dedicated to independent journalism. He aims to report on the difficult living conditions most Cubans endure. He lives in Guantánamo with his wife and two children, who are frequently ill due to poor living conditions and inappropriate hygienic standards provided by the Cuban Government.