Friday, December 16, 2011

Cuba’s Bureaucracy Continues Unabated

Cuba's Bureaucracy Continues Unabated
December 16, 2011
Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 16 — I'm here at the bank where I'm unable to cash a
check for 100 pesos ($5 USD), which I earned for the articles I've
written. The cashier said the signature was invalid.

I had to travel eight miles across the city by bus, with all the
difficulties involved — having to spend money on something to eat as
well as bus fare — and all for nothing.

If this were an isolated incident it would be irrelevant, I'd have no
reason for going through this type of catharsis.

But it's more than that. The problem has roots (…branches and even
flowers) in the inner being of the person who signs the checks at the
Cuban Book Institute and in the mind of the superior who has done
nothing to sanction this individual for always signing the checks
differently and putting contributors like me through these endless hassles.

What was most shocking was at the office where I picked up my check.
They told me ever so self-assuredly that the checks are valid at any
Metropolitan Bank, which I know good and well isn't true – based on my
past experiences.

You get to a point where all you can do is laugh. In my case, I recently
quit my full-time job there at the Cuban Book Institute precisely to
escape this bureaucratic bedlam in which one finds themselves getting
more and more worn down, with not even society benefiting.

But what happens is that when the problem lies at the core of daily life
and is generalized, it's impossible to escape it entirely. What's even
worse than the bureaucracy is the alienation it all brings.

Everything is a confused and absurd tangle of apathetic and careless
government employees together with angry and overwhelmed customers.

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