Saturday, April 17, 2010

Joint Venture Scandal Transfixes Cubans

Joint Venture Scandal Transfixes Cubans

Caridad could not find Sancti Spiritus on a map, the province where the
company run by the Chilean, Max Marambio, is located, but she is aware
of all the rumors about its closing and the corruption scandals. She has
learned to decipher the omissions of the press and to read, in the
repetition of certain topics, an attempt to cover up others more
interesting. So she is not content with the sugar-coated pill offered by
the national news. For this 40-year-old Havana woman, the rumors on the
street in the last weeks have caused her to dust off an old saying she
stubbornly repeats: "Where there's smoke, there's fire." Just the name
of the Rio Zaza factory reverberates in conversations, although the
newspaper Granma only mentioned the investigation in a brief note about
the death of its general manager, Roberto Baudrand.

In the journalism schools they should teach certain lessons. One of them
- which we Cubans have learned forcefully reading between the lines - is
that hiding a story intensifies the interest in it and leads people to
fantasize and speculate about the details. While they call us to attend
acts of Revolutionary reaffirmation and to condemn the media campaign
against Cuba - from which they have not published a single document -
everyone assumes there must be something big that they want to cover up
with so much noise. The delay in confirming that something happened in
this joint-venture company has made the foreign press, the independent
journalists and the bloggers grab the topic from the hands of the
controlled official reporters. They are called on to sing of the
glories, not to reveal the trash swept under the rug.

Caridad has been right about the wisps of smoke, which have become a
roaring fire. Something quite fetid is hidden behind the silence and
distraction. It smells like greenbacks, embezzlement, and has the stench
of corruption, no longer localized in one place but rather endemic to
the system. The army of accountants that will be unveiled in the coming
days will not be able to stop the bleeding. They would need as many more
to control the inspectors, to monitor the monitors, to supervise the
supervisors. The cloud of smoke billowing from this fire is already
huge, and we can all see it behind the slogans.

No comments:

Post a Comment