From Failure to Failure / Fernando Dámaso

Photo by Peter Deel

According to the latest official figures, the 2011-2012 sugar harvest (still unfinished) will amount to only 1.4 million tons, similar to that of the year 1895 in the 19th century, when the War of Independence against Spanish rule began. It doesn’t seem like 117 years have passed! In other economic lines the failures, like the sorrows of the popular song, also crowd in: in the production of milk, beef, pork, vegetables, fruit, etc. It’s better not even to mention fish — we apparently live in a landlocked territory and not in an archipelago.

Much of the unproductive land of the state farms is full of maribou weed, and continues to be unproductive and full of marabou weed in hope of some decision from on high that will require it to be turned over to the campesinos, even if it is only for their exclusive use and not ownership (beggars can’t be choosers!). And the stockpile (also state-owned) of agricultural products continued from bad to worse. The sale of building materials to the populace, to repair their homes, cannot keep up with demand, and is also a breeding ground for lawlessness and corruption, which prevails in many areas of society, despite the unleashed persecution and repression, because they do not attack the root causes — low wages in national currency, which do not meet the minimum needs for survival.

In the so-called hard-currency stores the shortage of basic commodities is striking, revealed by shelves either completely empty or with just a few exotic items, which nobody buys because of their high prices. To tighten the citizens’ belts even further, the new customs regulations that will be implemented soon (the date is constantly changing) eliminate the exemption for food products that they enjoyed in recent years. Now they are included in the maximum weight that will be allowed to enter. In the often repeated words of that sage Bobo de Batabanó: “We were few and Catana gave birth!”

The few measures taken, authorizing with limitations what should never have been prohibited (buying and selling homes and vehicles, small private businesses, some self-employed trades, etc.), have no direct impact on the causes of the national economic crisis, as they relate mainly to the area of services and not to production.

Despite the speeches, official statements, articles in the press, and the triumphalism of the news, both television and radio, this truly serious situation is very difficult to conceal from the eyes of the population, who have to suffer daily.

Because of this, it is noteworthy that they dedicate so much time and space to criticizing the little that the President of the United States (our eternal enemy) has done in his nearly four years in office, without saying anything about our four. Four years is equivalent, in most of the democratic countries, to a full presidential term. So far no visible, real, or stable results have appeared anywhere, nor can the beginning of any solution to our long crisis be felt. While updating “the model” and repeating each of the “guidelines,” chapter and verse, until boredom sets in, we are moving backwards, like the crab. Perhaps that is the new way forward in the socialism of the 21st century, and I am showing my economic illiteracy! Anyway, the tunnel is as dark as before, without any light visible, and time passes inexorably.

June 6 2012