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(CNN)Patrick Oppmann is one of the most secretive governments on the planet and has been reporting for nearly a decade. CNN is the only American television network with bureaus in CommunistCuba
As never before, the Cuban government is being pressured to adapt or join other communist governments that have collapsed in the face of rising dissent.
I met Opman at Havana's house and talked about his life there. Below is an edited version of our conversation:
Q: First of all, what is life like in Cuba?
Opman:Life in Cuba can be a full-time job. Everything that comes in is imported by the government. All supermarkets are run by the government. Previously, you could bring it in your suitcase, but there were no restrictions on Covid's travel.
There is a gas shortage, a food shortage-there is always a little despair around food. If we're on the market and have something hard to find like an egg, use the WhatsApp list-post as everyone knows (to WhatsApp). If they are really good friends, you will buy them additionally while you are there.
During the pandemic, I drove to the countryside and loaded whatever was there into the car. I'm lucky to have a car and petrol. At some point no protein was found, so a friend dropped the whole pig. I didn't know what to do, but fortunately I found a YouTube video on how to prey on it.
Many people write to me saying, "Oh, that must be very difficult," but we are very lucky. Unlike many Cubans, we don't miss a meal.
Q: You live in Havana with your wife and four young children. How about raising a family in Cuba? How is their childhood different from your childhood growing up in the United States?
Opman:For my kids, this was a great place to grow up. They are always playing outside and love the beaches that were closed most of the time. A pandemic by Covid. They are completely bilingual and are not connected to gadgets as they were when they grew up in the United States.
Cuba has a lot of food shortages, so we value small things even more. They love apples-and they disappear.
Q: Can Cuban citizens have access to the internet? Can they see CNN there?
Oppmann:Although relatively few people use the Internet at home, they can be accessed by telephone. The government slowly began to open the Internet, but was very cautious about it. Also, cable and satellite TV are not allowed here.
If you need a landline (phone), it can take several years, but you can get a 4G SIM card in a day. You just go to the store, and boom, you can be online. People are joking that they want to skip meals rather than get data. Before
, it was good that no one was looking at my cell phone in Havana, but now it's everywhere.
You can access Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but you may wonder if the government regrets it. In the year Cuba released wireless data, some analysts said Cuba was the biggest leap forward for people coming online from anywhere in the world. People here now have a better idea of what life outside of Cuba looks like-and it has created a lot of resentment towards the government.
Now that we are connected and see how people around the world live, people want the opportunity that others have. Cubans are very educated and don't know why they have to work and earn only $ 50 a month and why they can't own their own farm. They want the same opportunities that people have in other countries.
Q: Have you ever considered returning to the United States?
Opman:I would like to see how the story unfolds here, but one day it may be. We have learned to be very patient here.