Following in the footsteps of my grandpa, I had no other option but to visit the National Archives.

Photo of the rear entrance where the public enters.

Upon arriving there at 5:00 in the morning and while it was still dark, I was able to make out some shapes that slept in the sidewalks of San Isidro right in front of the National Archives.

Two hours later, the line had grown but I was one of the first ones (or so I thought).

The hour of truth arrived.  There were more people here than in Noah’s Ark, but I still was confident that I would be able to get in.  There were supposed to be 25 appointments and I was supposed to be more or less the tenth one.  Imagine, if I hadn’t paid that driver 5 CUCs to drop me off, I would have never been able to get in.  Once all of us fortunate ones got inside they closed the door with a huge lock.

Already ensconced in those gorgeous gardens under the full sun, as if I were in a movie from Alain Delon, I waited until 12:00 noon  to finally be attended to.  And I was the 14th, with the number I purchased and all!

The rates for the prices were:

Search for a family member (maximum three years):  15 Cuban pesos.

If the search has a positive outcome: 100 pesos plus a seal, upon picking up the certificate, which costs 5 pesos.

If the search is negative: 60 pesos plus a 5 peso seal.

Length of the process:  60 working days.

Does this inspire you to search for your grandpa?  If you decide to go make sure you arm yourself with lots of patience to be able to survive the long wait and the bad attitude of the employees who, according to the kid who is in charge of locking and unlocking the door, have been eating flour for three days straight.

Translated by Raul G.