Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green Collar Crimes / Yoani Sánchez

Green Collar Crimes / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

He was working for a new kind of corporation, one of those occupying a
luxurious mansion in the Miramar neighborhood and importing goods from
abroad. To find such a job it was enough to appeal to the influence of
his father, a lieutenant colonel, the pull of the family tree. He
belongs to a new generation of ideology-free entrepreneurs, but to keep
his job he shouts a slogan every now and then, faking loyalty to some
leader. This crafty "New Man" seeks out the cheapest, lowest quality
goods on the international market and passes them off as the choices of
his bosses who assigned him to be a buyer. From the difference,
thousands and thousands of dollars go into his pocket every year. Like
him, a whole litter of money-grubbing cubs defraud Cuban enterprises,
arming themselves financially for the changes to come.

The latest episode of moral corruption in the business sector is related
to the highly publicized fiber optic cable connecting us to Venezuela.
Announced since 2008, it only reached our shores in February of this
year, under the anxious eyes of 11 million citizens who dream of
connecting, en masse, to the Internet. After several postponements, July
was set as the date for it to start working. Between rumors on the
street, dispatches from foreign agencies, and the testimony of workers
for the only telephone company allowed in the country, we have learned
that the cable is a disaster. A bad choice in the material from which it
is made, the lack of the correct covering to prevent it from being
chewed by the sharks that abound in Caribbean waters, and even the theft
of funds meant for its activation, seem to have disabled its
implementation until further notice.

But beyond the almost comical details of the non-working cable, our
attention is called to the high level in the political hierarchy of
those involved in this new corruption scandal. They are not second-tier
officials, but strait-laced Party servants previously entrusted with
lofty responsibilities. How did these faithful employees of ministries,
joint-venture firms, and foreign companies become "green-collar"
criminals? Red-card-carrying thieves? Perhaps it was their
opportunistic-fueled noses that made them believe the future was ever
closer and if they met the changes with an economic foundation they
could become tomorrow's entrepreneurs. For each one that has been
discovered, there are dozens who continue "fishing" in the shadows,
shouting slogans, swearing allegiance to a leader, and who, when they
are alone, calculate the number of digits already in their personal
fortunes, the size of the pile they have been able to extract from a
State that trusted them.

An expanded version of this text was published in the Peruvian
newspaper, El Comercio.

21 September 2011

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