Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Can We Progress in Cuba under the Current Model?

Can We Progress in Cuba under the Current Model?
May 29, 2017

HAVANA TIMES — I couldn't help but think about the analogy of a popular
Cuban saying when reflecting upon the prospects we have of our economy
progressing by 2030, while reading about a case in the Juventud Rebelde
newspaper last week.

The article talks about the solution of a rice farmer's complaint
because of outstanding payments for his sales to the State, which had
been overdue for a ridiculously long amount of time. And they still want
to pick up this country by 2030! At the rate the government is going,
and with its dysfunctional system, this won't happen even in 2230.

According to the newspaper, solutions only appear once a public
complaint has been made that is covered by the media, which don't appear
spontaneously. Yusbel Valera Mesa, from Campechuela, is the farmer who
complained. However, it's very common to experience delays of months
(and even years) in receiving payment for a harvest you've sold to the

It's common at my cooperative and we always hear "we're working on
resolving this issue"; not only at a local level, but at a central level
too. However, they've been "working on this" for 58 years and it still
isn't working. Maybe it just doesn't work? Another laughable phrase at
this stage is: "so many thousands of tons are being produced, but we are
still unable to satisfy the population's demands."

Tell me, with only 10 million inhabitants in a country with the
agricultural capacity to feed over 100 million people more than enough,
what would happen if the Revolution had inherited resources from
capitalism like Mexico City, which has almost double the Cuban
population? The queue to buy tortillas would be a kilometer long and a
child would be able to cross Paseo de la Reforma without any trouble at
rush hour.

The emancipating ideology of these "socialists", which takes away the
sovereignty of its people behind the guise of a noble ideal, is like an
herbicide: wherever they act everything dries up. Their ways are
arbitrary, bureaucratic and unnatural. They are so far from the real
socialist ideal! I see more socialism in the Scandinavian countries and
in Canada than in any Marxist-Leninist system, the ones that called
themselves "real Socialism". In my opinion, this is just radical
socialism or pseudosocialism.

I can't help but think about the parallel between the way of tackling
the problem of outstanding payments for rice farmers and the tobacco
farmers' struggle to receive a fair price for tobacco. The solution in
the rice farmer's case and the problem being dealt with, in our case,
only appears once we complain to the press. Nothing comes out of, nor
can we hope for solutions from official channels of action.

The farmer from Granma reported his problem in Juventud Rebelde; I
reported my problem on alternative digital media platforms, such as
Havana Times (How can you fight injustice in Cuba?). After more than
four months of complaining and forging agreements at meetings that are
then archived, Cubatabaco finally came to the cooperative to analyze the
price problem we have. However, they didn't go to the Farmers Assembly,
the came directly to the farmer, the one who publicly denounced the
problem, which was me in this case.

Of course, I pointed out the fact that this wasn't a personal problem,
that it was something all tobacco farmers were suffering. However, the
unfair price for tobacco continues. Resolving injustices in Cuba is a
titanic task, especially if whoever should be defending us by law (the
National Association of Small Farmers in Cuba ANAP) admits that
"defending farmers is our responsibility, but our first and foremost
task is to defend the Revolution." These were the words of a politician
who gave an speech on May 17th at the party for Cuban Farmers' Day. If
there is a dichotomy, farmers interests fade away into the background
and we are the ones who pay the ANAP a high tax on our incomes.

Furthermore, defending the Revolution isn't "changing everything that
needs to be changed" according to them. This idea, which doesn't cease
to be a concept of pure propaganda, is never implemented because it
might be the case that the ones who are raising this flag might be the
same ones who need to be changed. That's why everything is the opposite:
they try to keep this concept static, under the mistaken concept that
highlighting this or that mistake and trying to rectify it, is a
dissident and counter-revolutionary act.

So of course I must be considered a "counter-revolutionary" for wanting
a fairer price for tobacco. If I were robbing the Cuban people or giving
manipulative-coercive political speeches to make them work for measly
salaries, then they would consider me to be a true revolutionary.

I'll put it like Hatuey did: If those men are true revolutionaries I
don't want to be like them, nor do I want to go where they are heading.
But, of course, I won't stop being a socialist, nor believing in the
struggle for a better world, because of the simple fact that this noble
ideal is being abused. If we were to stop dreaming of this and fighting
for it, we would also stop being human: this was the spirit that got us
out of the caves and brought us to the skyscraper era.

These examples aren't an exception: if we were to analyze any example
taken from Cuban daily life, it would irrefutably prove the fact that
the Cuban system is unfeasible. There isn't any chance of progressing
under this current model. There won't be any improvements, without more
profound changes, that need to stem from a democratizing process of
society as a whole.

Of course Raul Castro wanted to leave a legacy of a growing and
developing Cuba, if he really is going to step down next year: but this
is already impossible. Cockroaches also wanted to sit down, but they
don't have buttcheeks. That's how the saying goes: What does the
cockroach have? It isn't enough to want it; we have to do the right
thing to ensure success.

Source: Can We Progress in Cuba under the Current Model? - Havana
Times.org - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=125473

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