Thursday, May 31, 2012

Murmurs / Rebeca Monzo

Murmurs / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Maria Montoto

For some months now, they have spread like gun powder throughout the
city: rumors about embezzlement, theft, deviation of resources,
practices of nepotism, etcetera.

Old Havana has generated the most commentaries these days. The director
of Puerto Carenas, the great construction enterprise dealing with the
restoration of all the real estate in the historic center and some other
buildings and monuments outside this area, is presently being
investigated, according to commentary, for crimes against the economy of
the State.

In other news, the La Muralla brewery, the recently appointed
administrator is being detained under investigation after having had a
field planted with marijuana confiscated, in the providence of Pinar del
Rio. This caused the spread of the investigation to encompass the
business he was administrating up to this time, situated at Muralla and
San Ignacio, where other crimes on his behalf were discovered in which
some of his workers were implicated, the latter of whom are also subject
to investigation. Some are being detained and others are in waiting
under house arrest (what we Cubans like to call "the pajama plan" —
though only when it is the 'cushy' version that is applied to high

The Planetarium at the Plaza Vieja (Old Plaza) has also been
investigated, due to police reports that these facilities were being
offered for functions outside operating hours and administrative
control, and whose dividends were ending up directly in the pockets of
those implicated. There also exist strong rumors of nepotism practices
on behalf of the directorship of Habaguanex. This not taking into
account existing rumors as to the sale of job positions within these
entities, which oscillate between $1,000 CUC and $1,500 CUC, depending
on the type of job.

These rumors give much food for thought. Might it truly be as is being
rumored? If so, how is it possible this has not reached the ears of the
primary directors of said enterprises, when it is already public knowledge?

But sadly, this is not the only place where such criminal activity
occurs. Recently on national television they showed images demonstrating
the goods that were illicitly acquired by the administrator of the jam
factory in the province of Matanzas; he was dismissed upon proof of
illicit enrichment and deviation of resources. The president of the
Havana Yoruba Society (Sociedad Yoruba de la Habana) also fell into
disgrace, as we say here, for utilizing the influences inherent to his
post, in order to secure trips and visas at a price of $3,000 CUC, for
those privileged who were able to pay.

Apparently crime and corruption are spreading like a pandemic. It is
truly very sad, even more so when, for more than 50 years, we have been
hearing talk of the New Man, of revolutionary honor, of our militant
Gentlemen, here on my planet, in order to occupy the post of director or
administrator of an entity, you at least have to be a militant of the
party and, in some cases, a member of State security.

These are the effects, those which regularly come under fire, but what
of the causes? What truly are they?

A totalitarian State that monopolizes the administration of all large
businesses, that pays miserable salaries, that maintains a dual
currency: one with which you are paid for your work and retirement and
another, that you need to acquire however you can, and with which one
acquires at very high prices, all the articles of primary necessity; do
you sincerely believe it can take the luxury of having, in those high
positions of directorship, honest and incorruptible men? Who taught them
to steal?

Everything here exposed are confidentialities and rumors that have
reached me, and that have filtered drop by drop. I don't have all of the
information, that here is almost impossible, but I recall an old saying:
"Cuando el río suena, es porque piedras trae." (Literally: "When the
river sounds, it's because it's carrying rocks." Loosely translated: "If
you hear rumors, there must be some truth to them.")

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 29 2012

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