By: Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez
Two separate power outages last week, one on Monday from early morning until well past noon and the other on Tuesday night occupying the afternoon, made me reflect again on the subject that was so fashionable a few years ago while the eldest in the hierarchy still ruled over us.
The Energy Revolution, which made many believe that all our problems regarding this situation would be resolved and as if by magic we could live a hundred percent on electricity with a minimum consumption of energy — an idea that could occur only to a madman in a country with deplorable economic conditions as ours — of course this madman misjudged the higher rates that customers should pay from the moment that, happy, content and and never grumbling, we began to use “modern and comfortable” electric burners, electric pots and electric heaters.
The kerosene, oil or bright light as it is variously called in the regions of the country, would be only for emergencies or disasters such as the feared and regular cyclones.
But the madman forgot to calculate that the appliances that had been sold did not possess the quality required for prolonged durability, much less eternal; and that on the island, given the critical conditions of the old power grids, which may well tell the story of Cuba since the rise of the Republic to date, energy demand can cause unexpected, untimely and frequent failures especially in this time of year where, despite the special summer schedule that takes advantage of more sunlight, the usual storms evening with rain and wind and lightening, cause damage to networks that could be resolved quickly or, as in the previous week, can take hours and hours affect the lunch hour or dinner at home.
Like those who set something aside for a rainy day, many housewives don’t dare risk the kerosene they’ve saved, thinking that the blackout will go on for just three or four hours, when the moment of truth arrives and entire days pass without electricity, so they have nothing to cook with, and no lights.
In my house, in particularly, we don’t have a stove that uses kerosene, so on repeated occasions we’ve seen ourselves “fried and placed in the sun” or with “the double blank” (as in dominos) — that is we can’t prepare our own food and have to go with our pots and supplies and ask our near neighbors for help who, I confess, have often helped us.
On the other hand, stoves and other domestic appliances are not always in the best condition, my stove, for example, has required considerable investment to fix the wiring. Once we were in a state of siege food-wise for more than a week, because they didn’t have the parts at the little shop in my village and my stove was on a waiting list nearly three hundred stoves long, which resulted in days we don’t even want to remember.
But let’s not talk only of homes and the constant daily odyssey of trying to put something on our plates, let’s think about the huge investment made in air conditioning offices, hard currency stores, medical centers and surgical rooms, and other state facilities, of good number of which can now function only in certain hours of the day or at night, or where the equipment simply sits on the wall deteriorating and losing its useful life.
Another example of the dementia and lack of economic wisdom of the “Fathers” of Cuban Socialism.
As I write this post, it has started to rain, as is typical of May evenings, or at least it should be, as distant thunder sounds and the heat becomes suffocating. But guess what just happened. Yes, it’s easy to guess, a few minutes ago the electricity cut out.
Will this be one more afternoon that we pass “with a double blank” or parading with our belongings through the neighborhood? I don’t know. Already my little girls’ heads covered in sweat, and the youngest crying out for the fan, is enough to remind me of the madman who once mentioned the false phrase “Cuban Energy Revolution,” who never suffers blackouts nor uses the “fragile piece of junk” he sold to the people to use in our humble kitchens.
This madman always tends to play with the same words, I’m sure that on pronouncing the term “Revolution” he laughed once again about his submissive subjects and in his mind he thought that if this illogical and mediocre plan failed, none of them would complain about it.
The truth is that we are drowning in this energy, economic, social, cultural, educational regression which many blind people still call the “Glorious Cuban Revolution”; and in the midst of this asphyxiation the people still continue mute in a lamentable way, although, in a whisper, they complain about the person or people who took their kerosene and replaced it with fragile electric stoves.
May 17 2012