A Meddling State / Fernando Dámaso

Photo: Rebeca (The menu board on the door is the type used by people selling snacks and drinks from their homes.)

The State, in most countries, developed or otherwise, tends to occupy itself with fundamental questions, facilitating the development and happiness of its citizens. To do this it regulates, through laws, and controls, through bodies and institutions created for that purpose, the harmonious relations of the various interests: economic, political, social, etc.

The Cuban State is unique unto itself and, therefore, different from all the others. First, in addition to insanely centralizing all issues considered fundamental, it also concerns itself, insanely, in innumerable trivial matters which, if it weren’t so tragic in terms of consequences, would be laughable.

Among these we find: the establishment of offices that allow citizens to work for themselves (professions not established are prohibited); the types of food and number of ounces per person that can be obtained (for a fee) monthly in the so-called “basic basket” which is subsidized; the style of clothes and shoes sold to workers in the state enterprise and the delivery schedules; the ounces of bread, cheese and ham that must be in a snack, a midnight treat or a sandwich in the State snack bars and their respective prices; the types of light bulbs used for illumination; the market and bakery where you must shop; the childcare center and school where you must send your children and teenagers, etc. The list could be infinite, but the same here is sufficient.

This mania of inserting themselves in everything, and trying to have the first and last word, have resulted in political, economic and social chaos in the country, enjoyed by most of us. The absurd interference in all aspects of society and the individual is such that the average citizen has been forced to devise ways, forms and methods to avoid so many regulations, norms, controls, regulations, guidelines and all the nonsense of this kind, establishing oneself in practice, in order to subsist: the black market, the double standard, widespread theft, the latter covered under the euphemistic name of “resolving.”

From a predominantly ho sent country, where only some politicians steal, we have become a country of criminals where, from dawn to dusk we are “resolving.” It would be desirable that in the update of the model, which they go on and on about, they were to pay preferential attention to this problem and realize the real solution is for the State to stop being such a busybody.

May 12 2012