Written by Kieran Proctor

Patria O Muerte – Cake Or Death

If you’ve been to Cuba, you would have seen the slogan ‘Patria O Muerte’. It’s prominently displayed everywhere and it’s ...

If you’ve been to Cuba, you would have seen the slogan ‘Patria O Muerte’. It’s prominently displayed everywhere and it’s impossible to miss. In Havana, I’ve seen it on everything from billboards and graffiti, through to stickers on toilet cisterns.

Let’s take a look at the slogan and the choice it presents for the ‘average’ Cuban. Because, when I see Patria O Muerte, I find it impossible not to think of Eddie Izzard’s ‘Cake or Death’.


Cake Or Death As A Parity Of Cuba’s Patria O Muerte

When one considers Cuba’s current economic policies and growing lack of housing, it’s impossible not to think of Eddie Izzard’s ‘Cake or Death’, as a parity of the current economic situation in Cuba.

Cuba is quickly running out of ‘Patria’ (Homeland) in the form of housing, to accommodate its population. Disenfranchising the average Cuban and making ‘Patria’ an unrecognizable and unattainable dream.

The growing housing shortages and institutionalized classicism, are leaving the ‘average’ Cuban with only the choice of ‘O Muerte’ (Or Death). Or the need for a third option, such as emigration to another country. With many Cubans risking death in their attempts to escape to the United States.

When presented with the choice of ‘Patria O Muerte’, Cubans instinctively choose homeland (Patria). It’s not even a real choice. It’s a pretty easy question any Cuban can answer.

Yet, the Cuban Government’s economic policies and lack of foresight in the planning and construction of housing, sounds a lot like the official’s response in Izzard’s skit.

With the official’s response being ‘well, we’re out of Cake. We only had three pieces and we didn’t anticipate such a rush’. Leaving the average man to respond, ‘so, my choice is or death? Well, I’ll have the chicken please’.

When given the choice of ‘Patria O Muerte’, every Cuban will choose ‘Patria’. But the Cuban Government’s only response is ‘well, we’re out of Patria, we only had so much housing and we didn’t anticipate such a rush.’ Thus leaving the average Cuban with the choice of ‘O Muerte’ or the third option of emigration to another country.

Watch Eddie Izzard’s ‘Cake Or Death’ for a pretty darn accurate parity of Cuba’s ‘Patria O Muerte’. See the video below.

Cubans Need Homeland Or They Will Emigrate

If the Cuban Government can build and furnish a slew of high rise hotels, in under a year, there’s nothing stopping them from creating new housing for their citizens.

There’s no reason for housing shortages in Cuba. Housing shortages are the result of a lack of planning and foresight, from ineffective bureaucrats. Cuba’s politicians and policy makers are useless.

I was astonished during my last trip to Cuba, by just how fast the new high rise hotels can be constructed. One skyscraper, of more than 40 stories, popped up in Vedado in less than 8 months.

Now, if they can build a skyscraper of more than 40 stories in less than 8 months, there’s no reason they can’t build 500 or more new residential homes in an estate.

There’s no reason the Cuban Government can’t start building housing estates for its people, to give younger generations and new families, their own piece of homeland in the form of their own place to call home.

With effective policy and concerted effort, there’s no reason that the Cuban Government couldn’t relieve the housing stress of the entire population of Havana, in under 2 years.

The Cuban Government only needs to open a few housing estates around La Lisa, Guanabacoa or any of the other lightly populated areas, surrounding Havana. And construct single family homes, roads and add a few effective bus networks.

It’s not exactly a difficult task, for any Government that can organize the construction of multiple 40 story plus towers, in under a year. They just need the commitment to actually provide for their people. And the incentive for them to commit is all around them.

With No Homeland – Emigration Of The Young Weakens Cuba

If the Cuban Government doesn’t improve the living standards of their population, through the construction of adequate housing, they will continue to disenfranchise their younger generations.

With no hope of ever owning their own piece of ‘patria’, in the form of their own place to call home, younger Cuban’s will continue to leave Cuba in search of a better life. If the young continue to leave Cuba, it’ll become a geriatric community of aging communists, with nobody to take care of them or run the country as they age.

Without providing the younger generations with their own piece of ‘Patria’, then Cuba’s future is limited to ‘O Muerte’. If the young continue to leave Cuba, in search of other countries where they can own their own homes and their own piece of ‘Patria’, then Cuba will continue to weaken, age and eventually, die (muerte).

Patrio O Muerte on a restaurant billboard in Vedado, Havana Cuba.

Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I recommend you read it, before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My Cuba travel guide will save you a lot of time and money on your next trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can arrive unprepared. Read the most complete Cuba Travel Guide.