Thursday, March 22, 2012

Extreme Poverty? / Fernando Dámaso

Extreme Poverty? / Fernando Dámaso
Fernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated

Leafing through some foreign media, namely a copy of the Spanish
newspaper El Pais that someone lent me, I find a report of international
character interesting: according to a report just released by the World
Bank, world poverty by 2010 is half what was in 1990 and in all parts of
the globe the number of poor decreased. Moreover, between 2005 and 2008,
from sub-Saharan Africa to America and from Asia to Eastern Europe, the
proportion of people living in extreme poverty (with incomes less than $
1.25 a day) was reduced.

All this because of the growing economies of emerging countries (China,
Brazil, India) and developing countries in Latin America, Asia and
Africa. So much so, that the world will soon reach the targets outlined
in the Millennium Development Goals, which 193 member countries of the
United Nations agreed to in 2000: one of the goals was to reduce extreme
poverty by half in 2015 and it was reached in 2010, five years earlier.
This does not mean that everything is resolved, but it is somewhat
optimistic in times of crisis. So much for the report, more or less
summarized. Now, where I go.

How is it that over here, so concerned about poverty in the world (the
national is of no interest), newspapers, radio and television (including
the Roundtable TV show), have not reported on what is published in this
report? Well, is nothing new to hide information that compromises the
official discourse and, therefore, not surprising. I want to dwell on
the parameter established to measure extreme poverty: $ 1.25 daily or
the equivalent of about $38 a month. It turns out that here, the average
salary of a professional is equivalent to about $20 a month (66 cents a
day), others are smaller, not exceeding $15 (50 cents a day). Does this
mean that most Cubans live below the extreme poverty level? Apparently so!

There will be advocates of the model, claiming that the health care and
education are free and subsidized food products are offered at low
prices. Actually, neither one nor the other are really free: they are
over paid, so that citizens no longer receive their wages of misery,
besides being of poor service and poor quality. The cases which are used
for propaganda, are just that: propaganda. A dove does a flock! The food
products are just a fallacy, as they are few and do not cover anyone's
most precarious needs for more than a week, and we have to buy anything
else, at prices too high, in the State commercial networks in one of the
two currencies.

It is important, from time to time, find other means of learning what is
happening in the world!

March 21 2012

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