Paladar in Havana loses more than 50 employees due to mass exodus
HAVANA, Feb. 10th The massive emigration of people of working age, especially young people, threatens the stability of private businesses in Cuba, which are not enough to fill the vacancies and already have new casualties. Nor do state companies escape this phenomenon.
An example is the Nel Paradiso restaurant, in Havana, where, according to the testimony of its managers, completing its payroll seems an unattainable goal.
“You don’t have time to recover the staff that leaves. Of the 60 workers hired in the last 14 months, 10 remain in Cuba,” Annie Zúñiga, 26, in charge of hiring at the restaurant, told the AFP news agency.
After the closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the establishment reopened its doors two months before Nicaragua decreed the visa exemption for Cubans, in November 2021, a fact that unleashed the largest migratory wave on the island in the last two decades.
“The opening of Nicaragua was a blow, out of 50 workers we were left with 30 in a week. Catastrophic,” said the young woman, who points out that filling the vacancies left by those who emigrate becomes a task that consumes time and resources.
“We have not managed to form a united and lasting group, because when we think ‘this is the team’, someone comes and tells me ‘this is my last week, next week I’m leaving'”, added Zúñiga.
The lack of personnel “puts us in trouble,” confessed the head waiter at Nel Paradiso, Norberto Vázquez, a gastronomy professor who points out that he has trained more than 50 sommeliers who are no longer in Cuba.
“Some students tell me ‘professor, the only thing I’m thinking about is how I’m going’, and that gives me incalculable pain,” Vázquez declared.
Government-run luxury hotels are not exempt from the mass flight of their younger workers.
30% of the employees of the Hotel Parque Central have left the country and its executives have had to hire hotel students to fill vacancies, according to an anonymous source told the aforementioned agency.
Frenchman Stéphane Ferrux assures that he saw a dozen of the 60 service providers of the travel agency he has run in Havana emigrate in one year since 1995.
Ferrux explained to AFP that some of these independent workers received a monthly salary of up to $1,500.
The businessman explains that even if they have a better situation, when “they can’t find anything” due to the general shortage, even if they have the financial means, they feel without a future perspective, and “that triggers the game.”
In January, the “desperate cry” of a professor at the University of Havana went viral on social networks after lamenting the migratory stampede that is emptying “the most valuable” university classrooms.
This was not the first time in recent months that a Cuban academic launched a similar claim. In November 2022, a professor from a technological college in Havana showed his concern after realizing that he had fewer and fewer students in his classroom.
Leaving the country is among the priorities of a growing number of young Cubans, as confirmed by an interview broadcast by Cubanet at the end of last year.
“Many young people do not want to leave Cuba, they force us to leave,” Thais Liset Hernández Leyva, CEO of the Pixel Cubano advertising initiative, lamented in July, in a thread of tweets in which she announced that she was leaving the country and why. toward.
“We are going in search of freedom, of opportunities, for once in a lifetime to have the reins of our future, because our country, or rather: our ‘leaders’ make this impossible,” reflected the young woman in that case. 26 years old.