Alberto N Jones
September 12, 2010
For the past few days, I have followed carefully the intense philosophical analysis that is taking place on this and other sites, regarding what Fidel Castro said to Mr. Golberg and what he and the mass media has made of his statements.
Because of the heighten expectation in our media about everything related to Castro, Cuba and the Revolution, this simple statement have made the front page in many important media outlets.
I just returned from a month long stay in Cuba, where I traveled approximately 2700 KMS through cities, countryside, hills and valley, beaches, and was able to meet with hundreds of people of all social, political, religious, agnostic, educational levels, retired or workers in a variety of fields, most of whom expressed the same cacophony demands of socio-economic change. Only few spoke of political changes.
Therefore, any psycho-philosophical conclusions that we may arrive regarding what Fidel said or meant, is totally irrelevant. In the year 2005, in a speech at the University of Havana, Fidel spelled out clearly the dangers facing the Revolution, which could be destroyed only from within; and that is what is becoming more visible, if the present socio-economic model is not changed, modified or substituted by a more participatory system, which will lead to an immediate improvement of the living standard of the majority of the population.
For over a decade, the Cuban people have been suffering the effect of an anarchic, extremely low salary that is insufficient to cover each individual basic needs, much less, to access tens of articles and products that are sold only in hard currency, to which they have no legal access. A popular expression making the rounds in Cuba says "The government act as if we are being paid and we pretend to work".
Because no country can survive under such principle, this situation must be re-evaluated and corrected immediately. Of far lesser importance is what others outside of Cuba may or may not say.
This single mistake of perpetuating artificially low wages across the country, have had a devastating effect on its moral fiber, which can be seen in the expression "Resolviendo", which in itself, have made all illegalities acceptable. Taxi drivers turn off taximeters with impunity, bus conductors brag of skimming 100-200 pesos daily, airline, train, inter-provincial bus tickets are readily available outside of their offices or at employees homes, store clerks shamefully charge more than what is reflected on the cashier's receipt.
Many doctors have coined a code word by asking if the patient is with "traje" or gift. Teachers, loboratory workers, dental clinics, obtaining documents or permits and choice jobs etc., all implies providing gifts or kick-back.
This is the real danger in Cuba today, not the handful of so called dissidents, opposition or the monies and instruction coming from abroad.
It is up to everyone who wishes Cuba to succeed with its social project; it is up to those who are concerned about the enormous humanitarian support that Cuba provide to tens of nations around the world, to press this issue and help everyone understand the urgency that these non-structural changes be implemented immediately, if that nation is to survive and the millions of people who depend on it. will not succumb.
JG: If you change "everything," you are going to end up with a transition back to savage American capitalism. That IS NOT what the people in Cuba want or need. Any changes must be debated clearly by all Cubans inside the island. Lets not allow the wolf to re-enter the hen-house.