Appropriateness / Miriam Celaya

Ever since the national organization that represents the Cuban workers elected itself as speaker on behalf of the olive-green bosses to announce the layoff of half a million employees in record time, a certain word has become fashionable and has circulated by word of mouth: appropriateness. To be “appropriate” has become the essential requirement to keep your job, but nobody quite understands what that term may mean, given that this is an extremely elastic quality that cannot be applied equally in each case. Let’s use as an example that an appropriate bank teller is not the same as an appropriate gravedigger. It is understood, although neither of them produces absolutely anything, like the respective appropriateness of an artist and of a restaurateur. Don’t panic if this is confusing, readers: I don’t understand how the mysterious meaning can imprint so much power on a simple word. I don’t think I am the appropriate person to explain it.

According to an acquaintance of mine, secretary general of the union section at her workplace, right now, in order to be considered appropriate, it won’t be enough to rely on the backing of a combative-intransigent-integrated-vanguard-revolutionary. No sir. The renovated model demands a “new” conception of work, according to which, the worker has to produce and be efficient (¿?). Come on, after 50 years of sweating in vain, our leaders have discovered that work has to produce something besides poverty. Let’s not be too demanding of them, at the end of the day, it is a modest achievement.

Thus, in every workplace, a different standard will be applied when measuring the adequacy of workers, and one wonders what indicators will be identified as appropriate for the street sweepers in a city so dirty, for the police officers who supposedly watch over the peace in a society that is becoming more violent every day, in which all kinds of crimes are committed, for the official jurists, responsible for carrying out legal injustices and twisting the already twisted laws, for the hundreds of officials who charge complete salaries to any son of a neighbor, to hinder all and each one of the undertakings they initiate, for the dozens of store employees and other service units that bask in customer mistreatment. Oh, by the way, what will be the appropriateness of the baker who will ensure the quality of our daily bread! (the extremely humble bread of the dying ration card that always comes up as the number one point on the government agenda of every delegate of the People’s Power).

But, above all, I wonder what the members of the Councils of State and Ministers, starting with the General-President, who might be labeled with the grace of appropriateness after such wreck and collapse of the nation, amid such administrative corruption at all levels, and after the utter devastation in which they have plunged this country. Or is that there will not be a reorganizational shakeup of posts on the heights of the Olympus warrior?

Now that we are renewing the model because “it doesn’t even work for us” – according to statements of the Great Orator in his first coherent words that we can recognize in a long time – isn’t it time to also remodel and rejuvenate the Jurassic Park of greenish dinosaurs that continue pounding on this devastated homestead?

Translated by: Norma Whiting

October 20, 2010