Daniel Valero

Daniel Valero

Photo: Aslam Ibrahim Castellón Maure

No Country for (Jobless) Old Men

The number of seniors employed past the age of retirement increases in Cuba day after day. For some, finding a job is the only way to make up for low pensions, especially in the case of those who live alone, or with a spouse only, and cannot count on the much needed support of their children or relatives. Alberto, 74, for instance, is a retired soldier who spends his work day at a sugar cane juice stand in Camaguey, a province in the central-eastern part of the country. For him, every morning goes by in exactly the same way: from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m., he removes the leaves from the canes, peals them and piles them up to take them to the place where they are milled. Once there, he helps in everything he can until past noon, when he collects the waste and takes it to the nearest dumpster using a rickety cart. In all, he works 7 hours per day, for which he gets paid a varying daily wage of fifty to eighty pesos ($2 to $3 dollars), and a snack around 11:00 a.m. “I’m making more here than I ever made in my best years working for...

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