This article appeared today in Diario de Cuba.
Corruption, bureaucracy, empty talk and constant lies are the pillars that support the ruling system in Cuba; and so it would be naive to think of eliminating these evils that maintain the system: the only way to emerge from the crisis is to eliminate this species of socialism-communism as the only and obligatory way of thinking in Cuba.
At that point, thousands of Cubans who do not think like the government would propose new ways of doing things — ways that would not have to be those “from before ’59” — ways that could be much more in tune with what most people think and want. Bot no. The government has made clear it will not do what people want, but only what the leadership perceives as best in order to ensure its hold on power.
When we analyze in detail every branch of Cuban economic and social activity, we see, in the first place, that everything, absolutely everything, is going badly. In the second place, we see that every activity is “directed, guided and controlled” by the Cuban Communist Party (CCP).
All the cadres who run the country are members of the party. They are the ones who make mistakes every day and cause serious problems for the population, but they are also the ones who, while assuming a submissive and obedient position towards the Party, will be forever in charge, in every area, regardless of their mastery of any subject, merely by the fact of their being “committed to the revolution.”
And this ideology is the most deceptive and unnecessary that has ever been invented for governing. The result if obvious: there is no need to cling to communist ideology or anything like it to be an exemplary citizen.
If you want to be a good citizen, an excellent, leader or even preside over a country, it is enough to act consistently with human values, have a proper education, adequate intelligence, and above all a sincere willingness to act for the sake of people. Within these simple parameters is everything that is good and noble.
In the “debates” I could see regarding the recently concluded conference of the Party, a senior leader expressed himself “deeply concerned” about the fact that thousands of young Cubans with excellent human and professional conditions, do not want to join the Communist Youth. As if such membership was a necessary attribute to be a full citizen, to be “communist.”
The question is, in all this time what precisely have the youth of this county been led to believe. Almost none, in fact, are even clear about what the point of communism is; but as they say and repeat, the communists are the good guys in the movies, so that is where you must be (thinking, among other things, in order to avoid being on the side of evil). If you are not a communist or revolutionary as they are, then it won’t matter how good you are or anything else: you will be one of the bad guys and can not aspire to be part of anything important.
Also, if you are lazy, irresponsible, dishonest, and yet you are said to be a communist and a revolutionary, you will remain on the side of the good guys, those who can become brand new cadres. Every sin will be forgiven as many times as necessary.
You can not talk of eliminating corruption in a system whose only incentive to work is just that, corruption. A school cook, a hotel manager, a business manager and even a part cadre, everyone expects additional benefits at the expense of their occupation, as the system leaves no other option.
If you wanted to see how deeply corruption underlies the Cuban social model, a good experiment would be to eliminate, if only in your imagination, for a single day and in one municipality in the country, the phenomenon of corruption. Then everything would collapse.
If tomorrow there was no corruption in my town, Puerto Padre, several patients would die for lack of medical care in the hospital. The doctors and nurses could not travel from their homes to the clinics and hospitals because the trucks that carry them would be unable to move, lacking the gasoline that certain leaders extract from state institutions. Thousands of people would be left without food, having eaten their rationed share from the bodega, and with no money to buy anything else nor the power to steal it from their workplaces. But not only would they not have food. They would not be able to resell the oil and flour needed for bread, much less to dress themselves, nor build their homes, nor support the “Revolution.”
If instead of a for one day we went a month without corruption, the leaders (especially the politicians, who depend on the administrators) would lose so much weight they would not have the strength or good humor to wave flags and would begin to give up not only their jobs, but also their “unshakable convictions.”
Moreover, it is true that even many of those who make a living from institutionalized corruption would prefer to live differently, to profit in line with their work and social and intellectual range, and thus not owe anything to anyone and not have to live filled with fear. But in this system that is not possible.
They are aware that ultimately continuing with our reality will never allow us to have a good country, and they would have no problem administering this system a final kick in the butt, if they knew it was really going to end. But until this happens, they prefer to wave flags, and sustain their families, and with any luck even travel abroad to be able to bring some goods home in their suitcases.
Many members of the institutions and even some leaders are good, hardworking people who rode the wave of the system at some point in their lives. This happened to me and so many others who have remained at the cost of a commitment that is not easy to discard.
I have known excellent scientists and passionate teachers who belong to the Party. The vocation of these men has nothing to do with politics. But if they were not Party members they could not participate in major projects and make their way in this land. Thus — with this approach — they take the red armband as a key to access the doors that are opened only to “trustworthy” people.
Recently, Raul Castro said: “The amendments made by the country today to update the economic model are intended to preserve socialism, to strengthen it and to make it truly irrevocable.”
These words mean making irrevocable: corruption, bureaucracy, empty talk and constant lies. The more we delay as a people in coming to understand that, the harder it will be to change things. And the more difficult it will be to rebuild everything.
21 February 2012