First Trimester of 2014 / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

“Cuba looks for money to sustain the regime.” Image from:

The first three months of 2014 and part of April have stood out for the now traditional practice of the government use and abuse of congresses, symposia, fairs, assemblies, etc, from which emanate, almost always, two messages: one for abroad and another for the boring local citizens.

The 20th Congress of the Cuban Workers Center (CTC), in which, as usual, the secretary general was designated by the authorities and not election, as would happen under free, plural and democratic elections by the attending delegates, diminishing the credibility and independence of the Cuban unions is an example.

On the other hand, the National Assembly unanimously adopted the new Foreign Investment Law, which establishes, once again, discrimination against Cuban citizens residing on the island, who can not invest or participate on their own processes of this nature, nor through free association or self employment. That is for state officials, state capitalist, and for foreigners. Again, a state employment office will fulfill the function of providing the labor force to the foreign investment companies, as to not leave any loophole to free employment for Cuban residents.

And it’s as if they depreciate and despise we Cubans who live in Cuba. For a long time we weren’t even allowed to stay in hotels. Now, reviving this examples, Cubans cannot enter the waiting rooms at our own airports. And doesn’t this embarrass the authorities? At the precise point of access of those who visit us they begin the practice of discriminating against locals. In the resorts of Varadero or Boyeros this practice has been institutionalized. It’s humiliating to see how with indifference, without giving it any importance, they humiliate our fellow citizens.

The most recent event ended last weekend: the VIII Congress of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union, UNEAC. In his closing speech, Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez, among others, spoke of the need to regulate the dissemination of music and audiovisual materials in public spaces. He also spoke about the battle against pseudo-cultural messages associated with the exaltation of consumerism, to get ahead economically, and stressed that the choice is socialism or barbarism.

Surely he  must have been referring to a socialism not yet known nor what will be, the so-called Socialism of the 21st Century, because the other one, the socialism that wasn’t, is already completely known. He said this was the only alternative to save our culture. So if it’s about saving it, he should start by saving the productive culture of a country because right now the animals in our fields are practically in danger of extinction.

The current sugar harvest is the smaller in the history of Cuba and the lack of productivity of our land is stupefying. And looking back, at Marti, we recognize the solution when he said in a speech at Hardman Hall, NY on 10 October 1890:

“Neither childish boasting, nor empty promises, nor class hatred, nor pressures from authority, nor blind opinion, nor village politics has met our expectations, but the politics of foundation and of embrace, where terrible ignorance gives way to justice and culture, and the proud worship abides repenting the fraternity of man, from one end of the island to the other, swords and books together, together those of the mountains and the villages, hear, above the forever uprooted suspicions, the creative word, the word: ‘Brother!'”