Extreme Poverty? / Fernando Dámaso

Photo: Rebeca

Leafing through some foreign media, namely a copy of the Spanish newspaper El Pais that someone lent me, I find a report of international character interesting: according to a report just released by the World Bank, world poverty by 2010 is half what was in 1990 and in all parts of the globe the number of poor decreased. Moreover, between 2005 and 2008, from sub-Saharan Africa to America and from Asia to Eastern Europe, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty (with incomes less than $ 1.25 a day) was reduced.

All this because of the growing economies of emerging countries (China, Brazil, India) and developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. So much so, that the world will soon reach the targets outlined in the Millennium Development Goals, which 193 member countries of the United Nations agreed to in 2000: one of the goals was to reduce extreme poverty by half in 2015 and it was reached in 2010, five years earlier. This does not mean that everything is resolved, but it is somewhat optimistic in times of crisis. So much for the report, more or less summarized. Now, where I go.

How is it that over here, so concerned about poverty in the world (the national is of no interest), newspapers, radio and television (including the Roundtable TV show), have not reported on what is published in this report? Well, is nothing new to hide information that compromises the official discourse and, therefore, not surprising. I want to dwell on the parameter established to measure extreme poverty: $ 1.25 daily or the equivalent of about $38 a month. It turns out that here, the average salary of a professional is equivalent to about $20 a month (66 cents a day), others are smaller, not exceeding $15 (50 cents a day). Does this mean that most Cubans live below the extreme poverty level? Apparently so!

There will be advocates of the model, claiming that the health care and education are free and subsidized food products are offered at low prices. Actually, neither one nor the other are really free: they are over paid, so that citizens no longer receive their wages of misery, besides being of poor service and poor quality. The cases which are used for propaganda, are just that: propaganda. A dove does a flock! The food products are just a fallacy, as they are few and do not cover anyone’s most precarious needs for more than a week, and we have to buy anything else, at prices too high, in the State commercial networks in one of the two currencies.

It is important, from time to time, find other means of learning what is happening in the world!

March 21 2012