Complicated Pathways / Fernando Damaso
A citizen decides to solve the housing problem of his daughter and
grandchildren by deeding her the roof of his house so she can build on
top of it. He begins by submitting an application to the Ministry of
Housing, but they first require a report from the city architect and a
permit from Physical Planning. He has made attempts to do this, but he
has been waiting for the document from the architect for a month, and
more than six months for the one from Physical Planning. Thus far
nothing has happened.
In spite of having delivered the products they were contracted to
provide, the workers of an agricultural production cooperative do not
receive money owed to them since 2009 from a farm belonging to the same
cooperative. All their demands for payment are unsuccessful.
Another citizen, who was a victim of a flood caused by a storm in 1996,
is given a house in 2002. Ten years later, in spite of having completed
all the applications, he still has not been able to obtain title to his
A third citizen goes to Immigration to submit an application They
require that she first present an original birth certificate. She can
only request one at a time from the Civil Registry Office, and must wait
fifteen days for delivery. When she goes back with the original
certificate, they tell her they do not accept copies.
These accounts are not fictional. They are actual cases selected at
random. The questions that arise are: Have they crippled the legal
application process for citizens, and why is obtaining a document so
burdensome? Where is the so-called rationalization of these services?
The governmental bureaucracy exists in all state agencies. They provide
fertile ground for it to take root and grow. This is not the case in
private, service-oriented businesses because, in a competitive world,
this would lead to bankruptcy. Instead, administrative staffs are small
and function efficiently. On the other hand, under socialism—with its
massive and inefficient administrations—this adverse phenomenon finds
its fullest expression. This is understandable. Since everything belongs
to the state, these are the"power centers" that give it a feeling of
importance. In spite of the laws, regulations, directives and
resolutions drafted by the nation's top leaders to combat it, the
bureaucracy continuesusing its weaponryto resist efforts to displace it.
What would become of it if this were to happen?
The only effective way to confront it is to reduce the number of
agencies from which it operates, simplifying the application process to
essentials and eliminating unnecessary paperwork. It is also vital to
abandon the obsolete and absurd politics of control, which in fact
control absolutely nothing and hinder everything. Until this happens,
the bureaucracy will continue demanding respect while citizens pay the
price in lost time and money, as well as in mistreatment and added
August 30 2012