More Restrictions on Citizens? / Fernando Damaso

Ed note: This post is from May but was not translated until August.

Fernando Damaso, 22 May 2020 — Before the Coronavirus, the Cuban economy was already in a tailspin and the shortages was doing its thing. Products such as meat, oil, milk, wheat flour, detergent, soap, toiletries and fuel were in short supply. Long lines adorned the shops whenever these goods appeared.

With the Coronavirus, this situation worsened. No longer lines, but mobs, appeared in the places of sale.

The authorities began to dictate measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic, including the use of the facemask and the distancing between people, in addition to the suspension of national, provincial and urban transport, and the closure of shops of all kinds.

As epidemiological measures, citizens accepted them. Later they have been made more drastic, incorporating the forces of order and auxiliaries, fines and sanctions, to achieve compliance.

However, it has not been possible to control the riots or for people to comply with the rules. The lack of real solutions contributes, with no way to avoid the massive crowds of people around the shops, not even with the requirement of an identity card, so that everyone can buy in the municipality where they live.

Parallel to all this, every day the health authorities report fewer cases, and it seems that the epidemic is under control.

If so, why are some of the restrictive measures imposed not beginning to be dismantled? I am referring to travel within the national territory, to the reactivation of national, provincial and urban transport and others.

I have the feeling that, at the moment, the restrictive measures, rather than the epidemic, are in response to the shortages and the lack of short-term solutions.

The authorities, addicted to control and repression, seem to have found a formula, taking refuge in the epidemic, to maintain strict control over each citizen, as never before in the history of Cuba.

The danger is that the authorities decide to maintain it according to their convenience and, as citizens, we get used to accepting it as something natural. I don’t want to think of a setting like the one in George Orwell’s novel “1984”.