Island Relief –

December 30, 2019 – Kirenia Medina: I must have been about 15 years old and my boyfriend at the time was 18. Every time we met up with his friends, it was pretty normal for a bottle to be passed around. Of course, one bottle wasn’t enough. In the beginning, I tried to keep away from it, but there were other girls my age in the group who were also drinking, and I didn’t want to be the odd one out.  

HT: Did your family know what was going on?

KM: No, it was normal for me to go out with my friends or my boyfriend. They never asked me where I was going, not because they weren’t interested, but because my parents knew that we mostly went to the Malecon or just went out to find somewhere to sit and chat. We were never privileged kids. Back then, we all came from families with little means. Here in Cuba, like anywhere else in the world, rich kids hang out with rich kids, which means to say that those who are better-off, only go out with similar people.

HT: So, do you think your economic situation…

KM: No, I didn’t start drinking because of financial hardship. While it’s true that alcoholism is common in poor families, it was a choice in my case. My family is poor, yes, but they always instilled good values in me. 

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