Among the Measures / Fernando Dámaso

For many years, it has been government practice to take most of the measures that affect the population without entrust themselves to God or the devil. Just show up one day with a brief press release or, if it relates to commodity price increases, we find out the store when go to we pay. It is assumed that the prices are fair and should be obeyed without protest.

Now, with those it’s hope will ease the current crisis, their application passes also for the most part in an endless maze of studies and discussions that ties them up for months. It turns out that everyone has to study, discuss and approve them before they become laws and decrees, and start their implementation and realization in everyday reality. And it seems that there is plenty of time.

The other day, without going any further, I needed to change five convertible pesos into moneda nacional — Cuban pesos — and what was my surprise to a handwritten placard at the Currency Exchange that read verbatim: “Closed. We are studying the Guidelines.” I remembered the year 1970, when factories and businesses put up little signs that read: “Closed. We went to the sugar cane harvest.”* It seems that things are repeated after forty years. Hopefully it is only the little signs that are being repeated, and not the failures.

Returning to the theme: It would be healthy to accelerate, if possible, the implementation of measures that may alleviate, albeit minimally, the chaos that the massive layoffs are going to create, which has already begun. The layoffs are starting this month, and the measures will have to wait until April (when the Sixth Party Congress is expected to adopt them) and beyond. We know from experience that after the Congress, the implementation of the agreements will take time.

One way to ease tensions, no doubt, which has already been created and will increase this year, would be to speed up the pace of implementation of the measures most directly related to citizens, enabling them, of course, to develop their initiatives and potential. They can leave for later, or write at the same time, the relevant legislation to assure them. The latter need not be an obstacle to the exercise of the former.

*Translator’s Note: All of Cuba devoted itself to Fidel’s plan for the biggest sugar cane harvest ever, which failed.

January 23, 2011