The Eloquence of Silence / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Raúl Castro, gave a speech at the main national event for the 26th of July celebrated in Guantanamo province. They might as well have re-broadcast a tape from the ’60s or ’70s, as the official discourse has changed very little since then. With the exception of the repeated invitation to the United States to talk and the bravado of the spirit of the call, trying to send a message to his own people that there are no problems, a government “Hakuna Matata” — No Worries — imported from Swahili, after a precipitous trip to Vietnam, China and Russia.

But what really set off many of the people listening — and not in a good way — was his blackmailing the workers: “(…) as long as there is not increase in production and in productivity, beginning with those tasks at hand, that can be achieved, such as food production to save billions of dollars on imports, there will not be any wage increases.”

He said nothing about the constant loss of purchasing power our salaries suffer every time they raise the prices on the products in the stores, on some services, and the electric bill. The law of the double standard that blunts the ability to distinguish that what isn’t advancing is the system.

I think the Cuban president’s speech was painful, trying to hide sensitive issues from the citizenry, who have been customarily ignored and neglected by the men in power in Cuba since 1959. Well I could also apply to myself the maxim I’ve used as a title to this appreciative brushstroke, but I firmly believe that the Cuban president-by-inheritance should incorporate the maxim that there are times when it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

July 31 2012