Don’t Play With The Ticket List / Fernando Dámaso

Photo: Rebeca

The authorities in my country are addicted to using general statistical figures to show the success of its economic, political and social model. I refer to the figures that may seem positive, as the negative ones are ignored as nonexistent. The first appear in big headlines, and all around them, is mounted a great media spectacle, which sometimes lasts days to weeks.

So the average citizen finds that the generation of electrical energy increased tenfold over that produced in 1959 or that infant mortality is 4.9, equal to that of Canada. What is not said in the first case is that 53 years have elapsed, then the population was six and a half million inhabitants and is now almost double; that home appliances using a lot of electricity were not prohibited (kitchens, toasters, ovens, etc.); that the streets, avenues, parks and shops in towns and cities were illuminated every night; that there were neon signs and air conditioners everywhere; that there were no annoying blackouts; that there were industrial plants which produced what the country needed; and that a kilowatt cost cents.

Now, with so much energy generated there should be no problems, but the opposite happens. Does it evaporate? Is it lost at sea?

Photo: Rebeca

In the second case, the comparison is ignoring the fact that Canada has about one hundred times the land area of Cuba, with hard to reach places and more than double its population and, therefore, to achieve this indicator means more resources and greater effort.

It’s like comparing ourselves with Brazil (85 times the land area and 10 times more inhabitants) and India (32 times the land area and 60 times more inhabitants), to name just two examples.

As a neighbor of mine says: Do not play with the ticket list. Statistical data comparisons should be made between similar phenomena since, otherwise, it distorts reality. To try to equate Cuba with the major countries (by extension, population and natural resources), being a small country (by extension, population and natural resources) is not logical and is only done with the political objective of confusion.

It’s like in boxing, putting a flyweight to compete against a heavyweight; or baseball, a college team against the Major Leagues. Nobody with half a brain, one would think to do it: the results would not admit comparisons.

Undoubtedly, it is important what has been done in education, health and sports during the past fifty years, but not everything works as well as officially stated, and little would have been achieved if, during their fifty-six years, the Republicans had not laid the foundations and developed all these systems.

Moreover, it is difficult to predict what could have been achieved, perhaps without many social traumas and losses, if we had continued on with the Republic. In addition, other existing bases and development acquired (in agriculture, industry, transport, etc.) have been reversed and led to failure. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s!

This mentality of believing ourselves to be a great power and the center of the world, when reality shows the opposite, is what has led us from failure to failure. It happened in livestock, in the sugar, coffee, citrus, fishing, textile industries, the merchant marine, transportation and in almost everything.

Because they wanted to excel at all costs without the necessary foundation for this, each plan has proved a Pharaonic fiasco greater than the previous one, and has set back the country, creating poverty, unemployment and the continuing exodus of young professionals.

Statistics are positive or negative indicators, but only when assessed honestly and responsibly. Using them for propaganda to manipulate public opinion, and to make them seem what they are not, in addition to being childish, is unwise.

February 2 2012