True Truths / Fernando Dámaso

The weight of the measures implemented beginning this month will fall, as always, on the tired shoulders of the citizens, responsible for the mistakes and blunders of their leaders. In recent days, official rhetoric has not stopped insisting that the decision to eliminate state paternalism, the subsidies and the products in the so-called basic basket, and the end of egalitarianism, all of that, is caused not because people don’t work as they should, waiting with their beaks open like little chicks, and the current chaotic situation. These absurdities, strange as it seems, are entirely the responsibility of the government, which is the one which established them.

It’s necessary to delve more deeply to find the real truth in all this because, as we know, half-truths are not true. The paternalism has never really been such: after appropriating to the government all the resources, all the companies and businesses, from a central sugar refinery to the shoeshine chair, the citizens were converted into employees of the sole owner (the state), with miserable salaries (currently 240 dollars per year on average) and without any rights to protest. The original output distributed, by way of government handouts, was a fraction of what was looted, under the guise of protecting the state.

For years, the subsidies of products come from what was left, and what workers didn’t receive for their work, as well as the appropriation of other income. For example doctors and other professionals who are sent to work abroad, receive only a quarter of what the countries where they work pay Cuba for their services, leaving three-quarters to the state. With this they also subsidize health and education and social services.

The theme of egalitarianism reminds me of an old joke: Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Furthermore, patterns of poverty have been established, which is where only the we common men are equal.

All these cyclical expansions and contractions, with which we have been duped for over fifty years, do not add much real change of the current situation, but may serve as popular entertainment for a few months.

January 8 2011