Induced Compliance / Reinaldo Escobar

Butchers in Havana (14ymedio)
Butchers in Havana (14ymedio)

Desde Aqui, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 8 June 2015 – What has come out in the magazine Muy Interesante (Very Interesting) generates no surprise, but what is published in the newspaper Granma causes astonishment.

In the “Direct Line” section, on page 4 of the edition of June 6, under the title, “Are there foods that wake us up and foods that relax us?” we learn that research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has demonstrated that “the proteins of eggs, meat or fish bring tyrosine to the brain, an amino acid that increases the production of neurotransmitters that keep the mind alert, focused and productive (dopamine and norepinephrine).”

The article adds that “when tyrosine levels drop we suffer apathy and lack of motivation. If the proteins wake us up and accelerate our thinking, relaxation usually comes from carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, bananas .. .). These foods induce the release of insulin, which eliminates from the blood almost all amino acids except tryptophan, which exercises a soothing effect.”

My namesake, the commentator Reinaldo Taladrid, takes the opportunity to say here, “You may draw your own conclusions.” Obviously, MIT lost a golden opportunity in our country for study, especially in the times of the microjet bananas that eventually became our daily bread during the harshest times of the Special Period, moments in which in other better-fed latitudes they wondered at the resignation of Cubans in enduring such hardships.

The widespread listlessness in production and provision of services disappears when poorly-fed Cubans jump to other frontiers

This massive obedience, which the Party-State characterized as conscious and unconditional support, should be attributed exclusively to the diet the population was subjected to, though no one would seriously affirm that such dietary restrictions obeyed a scientific plan conceived by some malign genius, but at least it is a detail that should not escape observers of our reality.

It should be added that the effects of this lack of motivation could extend beyond the scarcity of political rebellion and also contribute to that widespread listlessness in production and the delivery of services, which disappears almost by magic when the poorly-fed Cubans jump to other frontiers in which they are converted into beings fiercely eager for prosperity. There they are seen to work without rest, creating with imagination and protesting in freedom.

Is it just a matter of chemistry?