Friday 27 January 2023

The Latin Family Myth

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(QBLOG) Most Expats from the North agree that closeness and support of Latino family members is indeed admirable. However it is highly exaggerated.

The poor and rural families stick together pretty close, perhaps even middle class. But those who live in the city have caught on to the American way and many could not care less about each other when serious trouble comes.

They might help out in smaller ways but to help support one in need, no way Jose. And, I write only from my own experience and what I have witnessed of three or four other upper and upper middle class “families”.

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This is a true experience.

A young man, brother to three sisters of which one is a twin began to feel the effects of crippling arthritis in his thirties. Now, in his sixties he has almost no motor skills in either hand or feet. As an industrial engineer, he has not worked for decades and, converted his home into a hostel to survive. He was most certainly robbed of his well-paying job, his youth and a chance at married life.

Because the arthritis has become so severe he now requires constant care and is limited to such simple tasks like opening a bottle of Pepsi. He needs care, no matter how hard he tries, he needs care. Physically and emotionally.

He has attempted suicide but was discovered by a friend, he spent several months hospitalized and finally loaded up with antidepressants sent home. Bt what home, he was and is unwanted.

The sisters placed him in a home, each paying out $900 per month rather than let him live with them. That quickly became too expensive for one sister who owns commercial property and thinks nothing of purchasing an $800 dress for herself. In short, she has the money but does not want to depart with it. This is the twin sister.

The other has a million dollar home, is a well-known painter, has helped us before but now is playing a game not to support her brother and much prefers he would be put into public housing.

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My wife and I made an agreement with the two sisters in September. We would give this man a home, one with respect and friendship. And instead of paying $900 each, the sisters would contribute $300 each per month and we would cover all other expenses such as the rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc.

And here it is the first week in October and the sisters are tap dancing how not to pay their share as agreed. Interestingly, neither the two sisters want their crippled brother to live with them yet both have large homes and plenty of unused bedrooms, not to mention full-time maids.

We might not have their wealth, and they did help us out in smaller ways, but this family is not so uncommon and certainly destroys the Latin family unity myth.

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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