Cuba is Worth Less Every Day and the New Generations Will Inherit an Exhausted Country

Every day this country is worth less, because it has been decapitalized and because it continues to decapitalize. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 27 December 2022 — Reading economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe in an article published in 2003, a few weeks after his inclusion among the Black Spring prisoners, I learned and understood the importance of the concept of “decapitalization of the material base” in the Cuban economy, especially with regard to the absence of investments and modernization in infrastructure and industry that cause our economy to be less and less competitive in the international market.

Although I do not have reliable data to prove it, I could assure you that the process, instead of being reversed, has become more acute in the past 20 years. It is enough to try to travel by plane from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, to read the official data of the decreasing sugar production, to suffer the energy debacle, to go to a specialist’s office in a hospital or, simply, to try to walk along the sidewalks of a city without looking down.

The inventory of calamities is overwhelming and confirms the hypothesis that if someone added the value that everything has on the Island, they would come to the conclusion that every day this country is worth less, because it has been decapitalized and continues to do so.

To this national drama is now added another of a personal, private nature, but one which has social consequences. It occurs within families where there is an accumulation of transferable goods from parents to children, from grandparents to grandchildren. These goods have also been degraded, due to their excessive use and the diminished quality of what has been acquired.

I am talking about homes, furniture, kitchen utensils, tools, books, appliances, which are obtained with countless sacrifices and  carefully taken care of and maintained so that they will be enjoyed by those who come behind. In this way, despite their probable impairment, things achieve some transcendence because they exceed the limits of their intended use and go further.

The current migration crisis led mostly by the youngest, in addition to aggravating the human decapitalization of the nation, brings as a collateral consequence the fact that everything accumulated by the family, regardless of its market value, becomes inconsequential, and the impact of any possible improvement in social services is minimized.

To whom do we leave that collection of Latin American literature where there is almost everything written by Mario Vargas Llosa, all of Alejo Carpentier, all of Gabriel García Márquez, almost all of Guillermo Cabrera Infante and even all of Padura? To whom do we leave the Centennial Edition (1953) of the Complete Works of José Martí, the complete poetry of Lezama Lima, the recordings of Celia Cruz? Who is going to keep the drill, the polisher, the collection of screwdrivers, the microwave oven, the many-inch flat-screen TV, when there is no one left to leave it to?

How much are those things worth, already decapitalized, which have lost all significance? People are fixing up their properties to escape. The house is offered with everything inside because Cuba is becoming a country without heirs. “My house for a ticket to Nicaragua,” is said with the same gravity that William Shakespeare put in the mouth of the English king Richard III when he offered his kingdom for a horse.

And it’s worth asking, when it is verified that those in charge in Cuba only invest in hotels and golf courses while everything else is decapitalized: to whom do they intend to leave it?


This article was originally published in the magazine Convivencia.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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