Eliécer Ávila, Translator: Unstated
Corruption, bureaucracy, empty talk and constant lies are the pillars
that support the ruling system in Cuba; and so it would be naive to
think of eliminating these evils that maintain the system: the only way
to emerge from the crisis is to eliminate this species of
socialism-communism as the only and obligatory way of thinking in Cuba.
At that point, thousands of Cubans who do not think like the government
would propose new ways of doing things — ways that would not have to be
those "from before '59" — ways that could be much more in tune with what
most people think and want. Bot no. The government has made clear it
will not do what people want, but only what the leadership perceives as
best in order to ensure its hold on power.
When we analyze in detail every branch of Cuban economic and social
activity, we see, in the first place, that everything, absolutely
everything, is going badly. In the second place, we see that every
activity is "directed, guided and controlled" by the Cuban Communist
All the cadres who run the country are members of the party. They are
the ones who make mistakes every day and cause serious problems for the
population, but they are also the ones who, while assuming a submissive
and obedient position towards the Party, will be forever in charge, in
every area, regardless of their mastery of any subject, merely by the
fact of their being "committed to the revolution."
And this ideology is the most deceptive and unnecessary that has ever
been invented for governing. The result if obvious: there is no need to
cling to communist ideology or anything like it to be an exemplary citizen.
If you want to be a good citizen, an excellent, leader or even preside
over a country, it is enough to act consistently with human values, have
a proper education, adequate intelligence, and above all a sincere
willingness to act for the sake of people. Within these simple
parameters is everything that is good and noble.
In the "debates" I could see regarding the recently concluded conference
of the Party, a senior leader expressed himself "deeply concerned" about
the fact that thousands of young Cubans with excellent human and
professional conditions, do not want to join the Communist Youth. As if
such membership was a necessary attribute to be a full citizen, to be
The question is, in all this time what precisely have the youth of this
county been led to believe. Almost none, in fact, are even clear about
what the point of communism is; but as they say and repeat, the
communists are the good guys in the movies, so that is where you must be
(thinking, among other things, in order to avoid being on the side of
evil). If you are not a communist or revolutionary as they are, then it
won't matter how good you are or anything else: you will be one of the
bad guys and can not aspire to be part of anything important.
Also, if you are lazy, irresponsible, dishonest, and yet you are said to
be a communist and a revolutionary, you will remain on the side of the
good guys, those who can become brand new cadres. Every sin will be
forgiven as many times as necessary.
You can not talk of eliminating corruption in a system whose only
incentive to work is just that, corruption. A school cook, a hotel
manager, a business manager and even a part cadre, everyone expects
additional benefits at the expense of their occupation, as the system
leaves no other option.
If you wanted to see how deeply corruption underlies the Cuban social
model, a good experiment would be to eliminate, if only in your
imagination, for a single day and in one municipality in the country,
the phenomenon of corruption. Then everything would collapse.
If tomorrow there was no corruption in my town, Puerto Padre, several
patients would die for lack of medical care in the hospital. The doctors
and nurses could not travel from their homes to the clinics and
hospitals because the trucks that carry them would be unable to move,
lacking the gasoline that certain leaders extract from state
institutions. Thousands of people would be left without food, having
eaten their rationed share from the bodega, and with no money to buy
anything else nor the power to steal it from their workplaces. But not
only would they not have food. They would not be able to resell the oil
and flour needed for bread, much less to dress themselves, nor build
their homes, nor support the "Revolution."
If instead of a for one day we went a month without corruption, the
leaders (especially the politicians, who depend on the administrators)
would lose so much weight they would not have the strength or good humor
to wave flags and would begin to give up not only their jobs, but also
their "unshakable convictions."
Moreover, it is true that even many of those who make a living from
institutionalized corruption would prefer to live differently, to profit
in line with their work and social and intellectual range, and thus not
owe anything to anyone and not have to live filled with fear. But in
this system that is not possible.
They are aware that ultimately continuing with our reality will never
allow us to have a good country, and they would have no problem
administering this system a final kick in the butt, if they knew it was
really going to end. But until this happens, they prefer to wave flags,
and sustain their families, and with any luck even travel abroad to be
able to bring some goods home in their suitcases.
Many members of the institutions and even some leaders are good,
hardworking people who rode the wave of the system at some point in
their lives. This happened to me and so many others who have remained at
the cost of a commitment that is not easy to discard.
I have known excellent scientists and passionate teachers who belong to
the Party. The vocation of these men has nothing to do with politics.
But if they were not Party members they could not participate in major
projects and make their way in this land. Thus — with this approach —
they take the red armband as a key to access the doors that are opened
only to "trustworthy" people.
Recently, Raul Castro said: "The amendments made by the country today to
update the economic model are intended to preserve socialism, to
strengthen it and to make it truly irrevocable."
These words mean making irrevocable: corruption, bureaucracy, empty talk
and constant lies. The more we delay as a people in coming to understand
that, the harder it will be to change things. And the more difficult it
will be to rebuild everything.
21 February 2012
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