Hash Creole Style / Fernando Dámaso

Cuba, since 1878, was divided into six provinces, with their governors and provincial governments. In these provinces, over the years, municipalities with mayors and municipal administrations were constituted. This structure was kept running during all the years of the Republic, and part of the socialist stage, but with adjustments to provincial and municipal boundaries, and changes in their names.

Starting in 1976 the provinces were broken up to create fourteen from the six, plus a special municipality named Isla de la Juventud (in practice another province). As expected, this also increased the number of governors (now called presidents of the People’s Power) and their administrations. Moreover, they added the first secretary of the party and its political apparatus. This was repeated in every municipality.

It was argued then that this was done from a need to improve the administration and make the economy more efficient and productive. However, the political and administrative bureaucracy grew enormously, complicating rather than facilitating the smooth functioning of the provinces and the municipality and, as a consequence, the country. Where before there was a governor with his administrative apparatus, now there are three or four, plus more corresponding to the Party. What’s interesting is that the country’s territory hasn’t grown, it’s continued to be the same but now it’s chopped up into hamburger meat. Nor have they resolved the administrative and economic problems, rather they have worsened.

Changes in policy, presented today, are expected to reduce bureaucracy, along with the previously stated goal. Let’s call attention, then, to the new division called the Havana province, already divided in two earlier (La Habana and Ciudad de La Habana), and now divided again with two more parts: Artemis and Mayabeque. The original province has now become four provinces. In other words, the provinces, with their bureaucracies, increased to fifteen, plus the special municipality named.

It would seem the real objective of so much chopping into pieces has been not to make the economy and the administration more efficient, but to increase control of every kind over the citizens, multiplying the organs and institutions dedicated to that, and surrounding them with more and more of the same at their homes and jobs. These tightening geographies, every more numerous, seem to have given good results, and so they carry on with the scheme.

February 1 2011