Political Economy / Laritza Diversent

[Translator: One of an ongoing series of articles.]

They also demanded for the health sector, payments for biohazard risks, night shifts and seniority. The 6.00 in Cuban pesos ($0.25 US) paid monthly to nurses for working nights is ridiculous. A pizza cost 10.00 Cuban pesos on the street today, as does an avocado or a canned soft drink.

“Also, it is not proportional that the study of second specialty earns the worker 50.00 Cuban pesos a month (~ $2.00 US), while without even blushing they price a toy at 5.00 to 10.00 CUCs ($5.00 – $10.00 US) or a color TV at 300.00 CUC, which is 13 month’s wages; not forgetting that in a little over a year the CUC retailers have increased prices that were already scandalous from 10% to 30%,”  they said.

“Our workers are asked for a spirit of altruism and selflessness, high doses of sacrifice and a great humane sensibility, all qualities they undoubtedly possess. But unfortunately, the chain of hard currency stores, where the State fixes the prices and sells very high, where they end up on many daily errands, the currency they set prices in are not altruistic, and have nothing of sacrifice and dignity (which was really touching), but is simple the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC),” they expressed in the letter.

“There we have the dentist who receives 540 Cuban pesos for an entire month’s work, who has to pay his entire salary for a pair of poor quality shoes, 2.75 CUC (68.75 Cuban pesos) for a pound of ground meet, or 1.75 CUC (43.75 in Cuban pesos) for a quart of Cuban-produced milk,” he said, by way of example.

According to the doctors, health workers had greater expectations for this context.  “Raising the 48.00 Cuban peso monthly salary of a doctor was a little more than symbolic,” they said. In the corridors of our hospitals and polyclinics harsh words are heard, full of grievance and resentment, slanderous phrases murmured which I we won’t repeat here as a matter of basic decency,” they confessed.

March 21, 2011