The Cuban Government has no intention of engaging in a dialog or an opening. This leaves the rest of us in a very tense situation that could last beyond the passing of Fidel Castro. In the historic district of Havana, a ruling class formed after 1959. They were much younger in those days and they didn’t have the weight upon them of having to make decisions. Back then, they had access to political and economic information, and in their day, they wanted to construct a socialist society. After the fall of the socialist camp, the ruling class was confronted with alarming similarities between the systemic defects of Eastern Europe and Cuba. What’s more, this ruling class has family and friends who support them to keep them updated on everything that is going on in the world; family and friends for whom, in many cases, the image of the Revolution is nothing more than something from a textbook and all they can do is repeat the tired ideological discourse.
Many children of the ruling class are well-educated professionals who have opted to emigrate, in search of better salaries and better professional opportunities. The success of the majority of Cuban exiles abroad is one more difficult piece of evidence that confronts those who have stayed here in Cuba.
From deep in the hearts of the functionaries will come proposals of flexibility and openness – an attempt to regain their positions in the necessary reform administration. But our economy is being strangled to death. This Brezhnev-style paralysis should alarm the government economists.
The vast majority of people who live in any part of the world don’t care under what system they live, they only care how they live under that system. Cuba is no exception. What will it take for Cubans to get over the fear in their minds and want to try their luck in a market economy. The experience of Eastern Europe tells us that the majority of people who live there are happier now than they were twenty years ago and, in spite of the difficulties, they don’t want to go back to the way it was.
The draconian measures that were taken here should have given the government a moment to deal with the disappearance of the socialist camp, but their loss of political power turned them into conservatives. They took minor but essential stop-gap measures until the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, showed up. With oil to consume and re-sell at a good price, the timid openings were paralyzed. So here we are.
Since we have copied the Soviet system, we are beginning to see a new rich appear from the ranks of our functionaries. There should be laws to prevent Cuba from becoming another Russia. The argument justifying the thief who robs from another thief doesn’t work for me.
I am not interested in the project the government offers my country. I want real participation of Cubans in their own destiny; I want my people to rid themselves of their fear; I want no one ever again to die crossing the Straits of Florida; I want the government of Cuba to be monitored by the people who elect it and I want the government to be subject to criticism by a free press. I want to have a president who is elected by a direct and secret ballot; I want impartial technocrats who every 4 or 6 years deliver a budget surplus.
What’s good for all Cubans will be good for me.
I don’t use words unnecessarily, that is the reason for the title.
Translated by Hank