The Russian press this week echoed the dramatic image of dozens of Cubans, most of them black, sweeping the snow in central Moscow, Russia. There are women, men and even children helping their parents and speaking perfect Spanish.
“The snow is white, they are dark. “Contrast!” wrote a Russian resident of Khamovniki in the neighborhood chat, as quoted by local media MSK1.RU.
The press service of the prefecture of the Central Administrative District confirmed that the Cubans are actually helping to remove the snow from the center of Moscow and the richest neighborhoods. Cubans work because they want to and for a wage of a few rubles.
“During the heavy snowfall, additional resources were used to clear the territories of the district. Among those willing to volunteer to take part in snow removal are often students, including Cubans, who are provided with the necessary equipment and special clothing,” Moscow authorities detailed.
“They saved every penny to send to their families. The ruble exchange rate is very important for them, because they convert the ruble into foreign currency and send it to their countries of origin,” they added.
Snow plows in Cuba in Moscow
Between 2020 and 2023, Cubans will immigrate to Russia, where a visa is not required to enter. Then the exchange rate was 50 rubles to one dollar, and it was worth it, but now the exchange rate is twice that of almost the same salary.
“It is not profitable for them to travel here; they prefer to go to neighboring Kazakhstan or Europe. The most agile will cross the Mexican border illegally and work in the United States,” said a Russian economist interviewed.
According to the report, another local resident, this time from Arbat, claimed that he saw the Cuban street sweepers in Pyaterochka, next to the Vakhtangov theater. The woman was very surprised by their appearance and the number of them. “There are about 30,” he said.
Robert, one of the Cubans who spoke to the Russian media, pointed out that they pay him about 34 thousand rubles (a little more than 380 dollars) for that work, and he is happy because they pay him more than in Cuba.
“I am the foreman of the boys. Usually, my team can have 150 to 200 people. We work in Arbat as cleaners, but in general, we can work wherever we are asked. We came on our own, voluntarily, without government programs. “I have a student visa valid for one year,” he said.