Growing Up in Cuba, An Interview with Tania Vazquez Paldi, Part 4

Here’s another installment of my interview with Tania Vazquez Paldi about her life in Cuba. In this part, we’re discussing Tania’s work in the travel industry in Cuba.

Tania moved from Havana, Cuba to Portland, Oregon about two years ago.
For a short bio of Tania and the first part of our conversation click.
For part 2, click.
For part 3, click.

Kyna: How did you get into the position that allowed you to travel outside of Cuba extensively?

Tania: When I started at college, I did a Bachelor of Arts in languages and literature. I was supposed to be, after I graduated, a translator or a teacher of English Literature. But I didn’t want that. I wanted to be in the tourist industry always.

Kyna: Did you chose your degree of study or where you placed?

Tania: You had three choices, it depends on your scripts and your curriculum.

Kyna: Your aptitude… so, they track you and they decide what you’re good at and give you three choices.

Tania: They interview you as well. My choices were journalism, architecture and then translation.

Kyna: Journalism and architecture were very competitive?

Tania: Very competitive, very demanding

Kyna: For journalism, I would think you would have to be really committed to the party, to be a card-carrying Communist.

Tania: Correct, and I was no part of any political organization what-so-ever, though I had to behave.

Kyna: Do you think, because your father was so loyal to the Revolution, that helped you in any way?

Tania: If it did. I don’t know. They always do a background check on you and I’m sure it came out and it was a positive thing in my favor but they never tell you. And, I always behaved. I was not involved in any issues or trouble or social movements. I was a standard student. So I was approved and I was happy it happened. I really liked what I was studying; I really liked all these subjects – history, art, literature, languages. I did attempt to leave the university because I wanted to become a stewardess. My father, smartly, told me, “Don’t; finish what you started and whatever you want to become after that, that’s fine, but you have to finish.” I was so upset but now I understand why he was so right. So I finished and then became a tour guide. That was another accident that happened that was for good. I wanted to work in a hotel but because I was over qualified, they didn’t accept me. I was so disappointed and I was crying one day and my mother came with a telegram and said, “They called you from Cubanacan,” that still exists, “and they are looking for tour guides and they want to interview you.” So I stopped crying and then I went to this agency. They were just starting to create this group of guides because that was the beginning of tourism, Western tourism.

Kyna: When was this, what year?

Tania: That was in 1991.

In Wednesday’s post we’ll continue with Tania’s experiences as a tour guide.

3 thoughts on “Growing Up in Cuba, An Interview with Tania Vazquez Paldi, Part 4

  1. This series of interviews with Tania is a fascinating look behind the curtain and reveals what Cuban life was like for one person and her family. Thanks for sharing Tania’s story!

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4


  2. Pingback: Growing Up in Cuba, An Interview with Tania Vazquez Paldi, Part 5 | The Ya'lla Blog

  3. Pingback: Growing Up in Cuba, An Interview with Tania Vazquez Paldi, Part 6 | The Ya'lla Blog

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