Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mine First: Of the Wolf and the Sheep / Regina Coyula

Mine First: Of the Wolf and the Sheep / Regina Coyula
Regina Coyula, Translator: Unstated

With his La Plaga articles [regarding corruption in Cuba], the BBC
journalist Fernando Ravsberg has passed his finger over a festering sore
that afflicts our country: corruption, a phenomenon in which political
pedigree supports the entitlement to important positions, and where
technical knowledge is set aside in search of personal dividends.
Ravsberg supposed that the politicians underestimate the bureaucracy; I
would dare to say they do not underestimate it, they simply can't act
against it; in fact many of the politicians find themselves (as they
have found previously, keeping in mind the Communist Party Secretary in
the City of Havana just five years ago) within the same dynamic that
echoes the slogan of a chain of hard currency stores: Mine first.

This is spoken of in whispers and speculations, because despite the
transparency of information asked for in speeches from the podium,
information in our country is parceled out and no one dares to publish
hot content without previous consultation and authorization.

Ravsberg points to the multimillion appropriations of a small group,
which is always worthless; but there is another small and more constant
drip, and this what the workers in any State enterprise can carry away.
Some take reams of paper, staples, or typewriter ribbon; another
gasoline, another a sack of cement, another workboots, another food. And
so by misappropriation they meet what their salary does not cover.

For the government there is also a very high political cost because the
population identifies them with the Revolution, quite logical given
their positions, their militant communism, and their discourse,
generally ultraleftist. Of course people have to identify the Government
with such events, as the positions and militancy are definitely not by
acclamation. With regards to the discourse, it is that of all the
functionaries who hold a public office and who must, at every
opportunity, make a profession of faith, because their positions depend
on ideological firmness, and on this everything depends (in a literal

Of course the white collar thieves steal. They steal from me. They steal
from us. But no one hears about it, and if they hear bad things, the bad
that they hear never identifies the theft in themes as distant as
renting out an airplane, of the submarine fiber optic cable with its own
problems. We will walk the best path when the day comes when citizens
can question the use of their taxes and the budget decisions of the
government. In our country everything is due to the Work of the
Revolution, this almost divine entelechy that has bitten the tail,
because also, for a long time and with ever greater frequency they have
pointed to the people as responsible for our ills, one of them, this one
of corruption, concerns us.

I find in Ravsberg work a biased thesis. If I don't misunderstand,
better the devil you know? From this blog, and almost from the start of
it, I have expressed my rejection and alarm faced with a possible future
like that of Russia. Even though our youth has grown up barely anchored
to ethical principles, I refuse to believe the choice is between
catatonic immobility and the mafia. After such emphasis in political
slogans on the moral of survival, there could also be a positive
reaction to universal values like work and honesty. I can't condemn the
future because it doesn't exist, but I can make the present and the past
serve for its rational design.

A glance at history shows that corruption flourishes in closed and
dictatorial regimes, where probity is set aside in favor of
unconditionality. In this fight against corruption, it cannot be the
wolf who watches over the sheep.

September 22 2011

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