The Village Presidents / Fernando Damaso

Some of the major concerns of Cuba’s past presidents.

Fernando Damaso, 26 June 2018 — As I understand it, the presidents of countries deal with the main problems of those countries, and do not waste their time on matters that, at most, are the responsibility of their ministers or lower levels of the administrative apparatus of the State.

The case of Cuba is different: here the president deals with how old elevators in old buildings are replaced by new ones; how construction materials are sold in the establishments created for this purpose; how fuel is distributed among the organs and institutions of the State; and how, all around it, a huge black market operates; the coverage of sanitary napkins for our women on their critical days; and so on. The litany of trifles to which the president dedicates his attention could be endless.

He is not the only one, since his two predecessors did the same. We remember, among the “presidential tasks”: the design of school uniforms; the differentiated prices of beers and malts; the installation of establishments to sell hamburgers with added soft drinks; the four ounces of coffee mixed-with-peas per consumer; the cow “Ubre Blanca” (White Udder) and its one hundred liters of milk; the coffee pot gasket rings; the eucalyptus candies; the energy saving light bulbs; the Chinese bicycles without night lighting; the chocolate bar; the soy yogurt; the electric stoves and the cooking utensils; and many other things.

Such an original country, where presidents fulfill “important tasks,” can not advance, develop, or create anything prosperous and efficient.

The job of a president is not to visit provinces and municipalities to do political proselytizing, nor dunk a basketball at a school to demonstrate their physical skills.

The job of a president is to steer the state responsibly and make it work efficiently in the interests of citizens.