What Are You Complaining About? / Rebeca Monzo

Trash piles up next to a destroyed street tree in Havana’s El Vedado neighborhood

Rebeca Monzo, 7 March 2016 — Many citizens complain about events such as these: President Obama’s visit, the Rolling Stones concert, the Chanel fashion show on the Paseo del Prado, international sporting events and others. They often take them as a show of support for the regime, and not as an opening that, despite the government’s intransigence, forces them to “open themselves to the world,” as Pope John Paul said, although against the opinions of many leaders, including Raul himself, who fear these openings because they know very well that they are cracks, which will widen more and more, and which will cause the absolute control they are accustomed to exercising over the population to slip from their hands.

The positive side of all this is, to my way of thinking, that they are forced to undertake restoration and maintenance work that has been ignored for five decades in favor of prioritizing political proselytizing and the export of ideology. All this will ultimately bring benefits to the people, and the increasing arrival of foreigners, despite the lack of infrastructure and sanitary problems of every kind that face the city in trying to receive them.

Ultimately, they have no alternative but to undertake public works to improve transport, hygiene and the sanitation of the whole city, which benefits not only the foreign visitors but the entire citizenry in one way or another, because they are alarmed by the “importation” of Zika to our island the fall of tourism and the chance for foreign investment. Thinking of the positive side of these events and not that they are not being realized in the way we as an incipient civil society aspire to, unrecognized by the regime.

This is something like the fight against dengue fever. If we try to liquidate the mosquito only by burning oil, as they have done until now, over almost forty years, we are only going to ensure that it becomes endemic.