Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What do Cubans Hope For in the New Year?

What do Cubans Hope For in the New Year? / Ivan Garcia
Posted on December 22, 2013

December is a month of epilogues. 2013 brought new things for Cubans.
After the 14th of January, those born on the island could travel abroad
without so much government oversight.

Even the dissidents. Although with exceptions. Opponents, hostages of
the Black Spring of 2003 who are considered by the olive green-autocracy
as being on parole, cannot leave Cuba.

In business new legal concepts have emerged. Service cooperatives have
been created and the State leases premises to individuals. In the Mariel
port there will be a special zone with a different wage and tax system.

In 2013 Hugo Chavez and Nelson Mandela died. The two had repercussions
on the island. If Mandela is on an altar, the death of the Venezuelan
leader brought worries.

And if the national industries work and do not produce extensive
blackouts, it is thanks to the agreement that Chavez initialed with
Fidel Castro, by which Cuba pays with doctors and advisors for more than
10 thousand barrels of oil a day.

And although Chavez does not have even a trace of Mandela's symbolism
and the people on the street are not loyal to that social experiment
that the Bolivarian called as 21st Century Socialism, typical human
selfishness to not lose benefits make many Cubans, simply to keep the
status quo, prefer the unseemly Nicolas Maduro.

Maybe Maduro would get votes in Cuba than in his country. And when
people have lived 12-hour periods without light and someone offers it to
them, in spite of Venezuela being mired in chaos and Caracas being a
jungle of violence, people are capable of voting for Satan.

In 2013 Cubans continued on their own. News of the protests in Kiev, the
gag law in Spain, the re-election of German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
the global electronic espionage by the United States denounced by the
analyst Edward Snowden or the apprentice dictator of North Korea
executing his uncle, passed almost unnoticed.

Through illegal satellite antennas, SMS or those that pay 4.5
convertible pesos for an hour of internet — finally commercialized in
2013 — people prefer to be up to date on the latest record by their
favorite singer, to see Brazilian soap operas, the films that are chosen
for the Oscar, to see who will win the Soccer World Cup, to see the
games of LeBron James's Miami Heat or MLB baseball games in which Yasiel
Puig or Arnoldis Chapman are playing.

Although for three years Cubans have enjoyed more economic liberties and
now can stay in a hotel, buy or sell a house or get a car, in relation
to political matters, people prefer to stay on the sidelines.

The ready arrests of dissidents, beatings of the Ladies in White or the
acts of repudiation they keep watching from the sidewalk across the street.

The opposition continues being a particular clan. They say and write
things that the majority desire or lack, but the average Cuban sees it
from as a great a distance as an Australian tourist.

In the syndicate meetings they get mad about the miserable salaries and
ask out loud for a change in the system. But if you suggest creating an
independent syndicate, they look you up and down as if you were a
strange insect.

Ask any Cuban what he wants for 2014 and he will tell you a better life
for himself and his family. Earning a decent wage and being able to eat
breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

The workers for their own account want more autonomy, a wholesale
market, lower taxes and less State interference. That 3D cinemas return
and cheesy shops re-open.

The dissidents long for the Castro era to end. For Cuba to enter the
ring of democracy. And that liberties be respected.

They have spent decades demanding it. But they dedicate very little time
to political proselytizing of their neighbors, which is whom they must

Ivan Garcia

Translated by mlk.

20 December 2013

Source: "What do Cubans Hope For in the New Year? / Ivan Garcia |
Translating Cuba" -

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