[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Begging Lucrative in Cuba

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Begging Lucrative in Cuba

Only in Cuba can something as humiliating as being a beggar be considered profitable.

From a Miami Herald story published Christmas Day written by that ever-present "Miami Herald Staff Report" in Havana:
Daniel Avila's source of income is irregular, subject to weather conditions, and offers no paid holidays or vacations.

But as a full-time beggar on Havana's famed seaside avenue, Avila can make in two days what the rest of his countrymen earn in two weeks: about $8.

Avila, disabled from a bike wreck 10 years ago, waits until the new tourist buses park along the Malecón in Old Havana and drop off dozens of foreign tourists for an afternoon of crafts-shopping, then hobbles up and down the street asking for money, a metal brace in each hand.

''Five years ago, you didn't see as many people doing this,'' he said, lamenting that day's competition: a rail-thin young mother toting an infant baby. ``Five years ago you could get by in Cuba. Now you see a lot of elderly and handicapped out here asking for money. The pension they give us just isn't enough.''

Read the entire story here.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home