Monday, September 23, 2013

Cuba, Where "Merchant" Is A Dirty Word

Yoani Sanchez Award-winning Cuban blogger

Cuba: Where "Merchant" Is A Dirty Word
Posted: 09/22/2013 6:10 pm

If reality could personify itself, climb into a body, have physical
contours. If a society could be represented by a living being, ours
would be a growing adolescent. Someone who will stretch out his arms and
legs and throw off paternalism to become an adult. But that beardless
boy is wearing clothes so tight they hardly let him breathe. Our daily
life has been compressed by the corset of a legality with excessive
prohibitions and by an ideology as outdated as it is dysfunctional. This
is how I would draw the Cuba of today, this pubescent but repressed form
would represent the context I live in.

The governmental trend is not moving to recognize our needs for economic
and political expansion. Rather it is trying try to squeeze us into
absurd molds. This is the case with the limited occupations allowed to
self-employed workers, the sector that in any other country would be
classified as "private." Instead of expanding the number of licenses to
included many other productive activities and services, the authorities
are trying to cut reality to fit within the accepted list. The law
doesn't work to encourage creativity and talent, but rather to constrain
the limits of entrepreneurship.

The latest example of this contradiction is seen in the operations
against those who sell imported clothes, primarily from Ecuador and
Panama. According to the official media, many of these merchants are
licensed as "Tailors," which allows them to market articles coming from
their own sewing machines; and instead they offer industrially
manufactured blouses, pants and bags. Violators are punished by
confiscation of their merchandise plus heavy fines. The inspectors
attempt, in this way, to force our reality into the straitjacket
regulated by the Official Gazette.

Why, instead of so much persecution, don't they authorize the work of
"merchant." Buying, transporting and reselling articles in high-demand
should not be a crime, but rather a regulated activity that also
contributes to the treasury through taxes. To deny this key piece in the
machinery of any society is to misunderstand how to structure its
economic fabric. The legal framework of a nation shouldn't condemn it to
the infancy of timbiriches -- tiny Mom-and-Pop stands -- and to the
manufacture and sale of churros, but rather it should help us expand
professionally and materially. As long as the Cuban government doesn't
accept the ABCs of development, our reality must grow and stretch its
arms towards illegalities and the underground market.

Source: "Cuba: Where "Merchant" Is A Dirty Word | Yoani Sanchez" -

No comments:

Post a Comment