The Code of Ethics Makes a Comeback / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 11 June 2015 — It seems that recently we have seen a return to the “code of ethics,” that peculiar document that some years ago we, as public officials, had to sign in the presence of a manager who was later sacked for, among other things, “ethical lapses.”

This age-old document has made a comeback at the Attorney General’s Office, where it was signed by new employees, and at the offices of the Comptroller General of the Republic, where more than 300 workers signed a document “that should govern the behavior and the work of these officials.”

In the latter case, the act marked the conclusion of a “Day for the Promotion of Ethical Values,” a project which the comptroller had been working on for more than a month. What was striking about both events was the presence of an unsuccessful former spy — now repackaged as a hero, poet and painter — expounding on the subject of ethics.

I feel like I am living in George Orwell’s novel 1984 or in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ mythical Macondo.

At this point , anyone who thinks that “the game” — forcing workers and officials to sign this sort of document — will solve the serious problems of  a lack of honesty, transparency and industriousness, loss of values, corruption, diversion of funds, bribery and many other issues that afflict Cuban society is a person with his head in the clouds, someone who is far removed from reality.

The same mistake is being made once again: trying to remedy through bureaucratic measures the symptoms of profound, long-term problems that are the logical byproducts of a failed ideology, policy and economy.