Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Do Cuba’s Authorities Think They’re Kidding?

Who Do Cuba's Authorities Think They're Kidding?
December 21, 2011
Dariela Aquique

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 21 — Any moderately intelligent people would soon
figure out they were being duped, especially if the device was so
obvious to the point of underestimating the reasoning ability of those
being "fooled."

The astute tricks being played by the country's authorities are obvious.
They are absolutely stop gap and respond to today's Cuba, where
expressions of discontent, dissatisfaction and disapproval of the
political system are increasing.

In the first place, all of these maneuvers, resolutions, bills or
whatever they're being called are late. They should have been issued
years ago, though it would have been better if what is being rescinded
had never been issued at all.

Logic dictates that all those prohibitions were unreasonable and harmful
to the people and even worse for the nation.

It smells a little strange that after so many taboos, we are now
reaching these new levels of openness, and so suddenly, one after
another (of course one cannot refuse to believe "in change, human
improvement and the utility of virtue," as Marti once said). But in the
case of these regimes, one needs to be suspicious.

The lack of credibility that plagues their actions, the unpopularity of
their plans and the level of demystification of their heroes have caused
them to gradually condition society by giving Cuba a number of
palliatives to mitigate the unbearable pain of its citizens, deprived of
political, legal, civic rights.

But those palliatives are only that, painkillers for a condition that
continues to exist. The torment will not cease without total removal.

I've thought a bit about this and it turns out:

- The Cuba of UMAP (labor camps for anti-establishment individuals in
the 1960s), of the ideological "parameters" and witch hunts of the
1970s, is now immersed in a campaign against homophobia (pleasing a
social sector that can be quite defiant in extreme situations, and
giving the country a new international image). However, it is being
argued that Cuban society is not prepared for the legalization of
relations between homosexuals, and marches and ceremonies of groups will
be convened only if supervised and permitted by CENESEX and Mariela
Castro, the institution and the individual who initiated this crusade.

- The Cuba where Cubans were denied access to hotels and tourist
facilities designed for hard currency generation has today opened its
doors to everyone (pleasing many people who have pockets deep enough for
vacations and stays in these resorts. The tourists don't ask many
questions; the Cuban presence makes for a better picture of the island
and its people; and hustlers have an easier time, becoming less hostile
in their aggressive in their interactions with foreigners.

By the way, currency in the hands of nationals is collected and
registered in offices and files of such resorts, giving more control
with the first and last names of people and their income levels.

- The Cuba that once crucified the words "business" and "private
property," now allows self-employment and small independent enterprises
(pleasing a group avid for private enterprise, the government collects
taxes at sky-high rates, saves on the payment of wages, doesn't have to
secure some jobs and the domestic economy is made to seem to be reviving).

Yet most everyone knows it's really not like this, but nonetheless
resigns themselves to it. By virtue of not having been allowed anything,
they now feel like getting whatever they can, and with many people
scurrying around — daily — they will be too busy to dwell on certain
analyses or engage in any activity that endangers their little business.

-The Cuba where personal property seemed more like the property of the
state, is now allowing the sale and transfer of properties such as homes
and cars (the government is agreeing to permit owners to sell what
belongs to them in the name of facilitating and enhancing the economic
and social development of people. However, this is being done for no
other reason than to benefit itself, charging a percentage on both sides
of the transactions).

By the way, it should be pointed out that these same transactions that
were carried out but illegally in the past will not be viewed as legal
now, thus causing the beginning of new illegalities. But what will be
exposed in the process will be many of these tricks that were carried
out by the public through their lawyers and the staffs of Housing
Department offices in acquiring and selling their homes and cars.

-The Cuba where freedom of expression was a utopia after 1959, is now
advocating the "derecho a la palabra" (the right to speak), criticism by
citizens (thus allowing an irrevocable human right). Departments in the
provincial headquarters of the Communist Party are now empowered to
register people's concerns and complaints.

Nevertheless, they will not accept proposals for change or questioning
under this "permission." What is demanded in universities is more
combativeness against any expression of dissent and increasingly more
political discussions at the different educational levels, trying to
manipulate the next generation, using history and creating an awareness
of the advantages of socialism as a fair and preferable system, and the
only one possible in Cuba.

-The Cuba of the absolutely official and centralized press, today is
ironically making mention of a free unbiased press (without changing
anything here, it's pure rhetoric) every day waging fiercer wars against
independent and alternative journalism, calling it cyber-dissidence, and
every day blocking more sites so people are denied use of them, not to
mention all the efforts made to postpone and delay access to the
Internet by Cubans.

That's why to me (and for many others) any of the new measures being put
in place meet no other goal than to try to divert attention from the
real problem: the need for an immediate change of policies and the
authorities in place in Cuba.

Their palliatives, in concrete terms, are doing nothing but strangling
the real possibilities for growth, prosperity and individual freedoms.
Since this heartfelt desire is so exploited, and was abandoned so many
years ago, I (and many others) have to wonder: Who are they kidding?

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