MONEY AS A CRIME / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

I don’t believe it, I’m always a little slow on the uptake. I’ve been told by those who take trips. They say you can’t take hard currency out of Cuba. Not a single centavo. The numismatic curtain is closed.

The little Cuban who from his means (or fears) has decided to leave Cuba for a while, suddenly is seized like a common criminal. At the airport they scan him looking for euros, dollars and other stateless slips of paper. They interrogate and randomly frisk him. “Not a single peso is going with you, pal; we’ll keep it in a sealed envelope for you for when you get back,” is the statement on behalf of the Central Bank, now being applied by the customs experts.

A guy in my neighborhood was Spanish. Cuba, of course, goes along but doesn’t recognize it. The guy has a whole shitload of rental businesses here, and having saved like Marx tells us to — under the mattress — at the end of the year he wanted to travel in style to Madrid to see if he couldn’t quickly hook up with some chick to legitimize it or if not Zapatero, or at least  Rajoy or the King (or  Dinio, if it came to that).

A few days ago the guy with the money comes down Beales Street, yelling at the top of his lungs. I’d never seen him just totally lose it like that. He was screaming that now he’d have to totally hide it if he wanted to finally get out with the money. He was going to have to pay some yuma to sneak the dough out. But it was really risky. It fucking sucks, that some shithead foreign idiot’s got this last minute scam just because he’s got a get-out-of-jail-free-card from MININT because the damn foreigners can get hard money through customs. Motherfucker with the fucking money, he told me, but there’s no way I’m going to Europe without money even if I have to lose my fucking mind.

I haven’t taken the trouble to find out where things stand at this point. Bloggers and bucks don’t go well together (we’ve got M.H. Lagarde here to prove it with his mercenary mania over Yoani Sanchez). It seems the Cuban citizen recovers his status as the international indigent. We have to throw ourselves on the world without so much as a counterrevolutionary nickel cut in half (money is always counterrevolutionary which is why, in the incredible decade, a little town in Pinar del Rio tried to abolish it).

It seems we are leaking capital, symbol of a shipwreck. You can get Cuban money out (like a museum curiosity I suppose), but you can’t change it at any bank beyond the Malecon. In critical cases, you can ask for special permission from the Central Bank legal department, justifying what you’re thinking of using the money for abroad, and how you got that quantity in the country in the first place (proving our innocence is a Cuban specialty).

Good. Bravo. So be it. I like the clarity we get with the Total State. Money is time for the socialist system in its .cu version. It remains as evidence — in writing and in copies to-whomever-might-be-interested (if there is finally this mythical resolution, in force since before the dollarization of the nineties), that Cuban apartheid continues. The victory is uncertain.

Foreigners of the world, ESCAPE!

Until the forever CADECA.

Fatherland or Money: We will exchange!

September 22, 2010