Six months after Fidel Castro's exit, Lygia Navarro explores the hidden epidemic of depression in Cuba. With the wait for social and economic transformation dragging on, many Cubans find escape from the difficulty of day-to-day life in black-market sleeping pills. Although Cuba's medical system is lauded internationally, the government does not track rates of depression or of use of the nation's most popular sedative, which is only available on the black market.
In talking about the stigma of mental illness, psychiatrists say that depression due to the crippled economy is so common that it's not considered a serious problem, yet Cuba has the highest suicide rate in Latin America. And even government pharmacists sell drugs on the black market in order to supplement their own meager salaries. Navarro tells the stories of two depressed Cubans frustrated by the lack of change on the island, and of Cuba's own contradictory relationship to mental illness.