Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Energy Regression

The Energy Regression / Mario Barroso / Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez
Mario Barroso, Translator: Unstated, Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez
By: Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez

Two separate power outages last week, one on Monday from early morning
until well past noon and the other on Tuesday night occupying the
afternoon, made me reflect again on the subject that was so fashionable
a few years ago while the eldest in the hierarchy still ruled over us.

The Energy Revolution, which made many believe that all our problems
regarding this situation would be resolved and as if by magic we could
live a hundred percent on electricity with a minimum consumption of
energy — an idea that could occur only to a madman in a country with
deplorable economic conditions as ours — of course this madman misjudged
the higher rates that customers should pay from the moment that, happy,
content and and never grumbling, we began to use "modern and
comfortable" electric burners, electric pots and electric heaters.

The kerosene, oil or bright light as it is variously called in the
regions of the country, would be only for emergencies or disasters such
as the feared and regular cyclones.

But the madman forgot to calculate that the appliances that had been
sold did not possess the quality required for prolonged durability, much
less eternal; and that on the island, given the critical conditions of
the old power grids, which may well tell the story of Cuba since the
rise of the Republic to date, energy demand can cause unexpected,
untimely and frequent failures especially in this time of year where,
despite the special summer schedule that takes advantage of more
sunlight, the usual storms evening with rain and wind and lightening,
cause damage to networks that could be resolved quickly or, as in the
previous week, can take hours and hours affect the lunch hour or dinner
at home.

Like those who set something aside for a rainy day, many housewives
don't dare risk the kerosene they've saved, thinking that the blackout
will go on for just three or four hours, when the moment of truth
arrives and entire days pass without electricity, so they have nothing
to cook with, and no lights.

In my house, in particularly, we don't have a stove that uses kerosene,
so on repeated occasions we've seen ourselves "fried and placed in the
sun" or with "the double blank" (as in dominos) — that is we can't
prepare our own food and have to go with our pots and supplies and ask
our near neighbors for help who, I confess, have often helped us.

On the other hand, stoves and other domestic appliances are not always
in the best condition, my stove, for example, has required considerable
investment to fix the wiring. Once we were in a state of siege food-wise
for more than a week, because they didn't have the parts at the little
shop in my village and my stove was on a waiting list nearly three
hundred stoves long, which resulted in days we don't even want to remember.

But let's not talk only of homes and the constant daily odyssey of
trying to put something on our plates, let's think about the huge
investment made in air conditioning offices, hard currency stores,
medical centers and surgical rooms, and other state facilities, of good
number of which can now function only in certain hours of the day or at
night, or where the equipment simply sits on the wall deteriorating and
losing its useful life.

Another example of the dementia and lack of economic wisdom of the
"Fathers" of Cuban Socialism.

As I write this post, it has started to rain, as is typical of May
evenings, or at least it should be, as distant thunder sounds and the
heat becomes suffocating. But guess what just happened. Yes, it's easy
to guess, a few minutes ago the electricity cut out.

Will this be one more afternoon that we pass "with a double blank" or
parading with our belongings through the neighborhood? I don't know.
Already my little girls' heads covered in sweat, and the youngest crying
out for the fan, is enough to remind me of the madman who once mentioned
the false phrase "Cuban Energy Revolution," who never suffers blackouts
nor uses the "fragile piece of junk" he sold to the people to use in
our humble kitchens.

This madman always tends to play with the same words, I'm sure that on
pronouncing the term "Revolution" he laughed once again about his
submissive subjects and in his mind he thought that if this illogical
and mediocre plan failed, none of them would complain about it.

The truth is that we are drowning in this energy, economic, social,
cultural, educational regression which many blind people still call the
"Glorious Cuban Revolution"; and in the midst of this asphyxiation the
people still continue mute in a lamentable way, although, in a whisper,
they complain about the person or people who took their kerosene and
replaced it with fragile electric stoves.

May 17 2012

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