Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Absurd Path

For years in Cuba, day after day, we have felt as if we were regressing. As the environment and our lives deteriorate, the official pronouncements in the mass media become more and more triumphalist. The devolutionary process is gradual and conditions psychological accommodation. So over time it has instilled in the collective subconscious an apathy and resignation.

The government has hung its ideological campaign on two hooks: public health and education. Public health care is in a precarious state, with thousands of specialists sent to Venezuela in exchange for the resources that have allowed the dictatorship to remain in power without making a democratic opening. Hundreds of others sent throughout the world help create an altruistic image of the government and the benefits of the island’s social model. Now that the congenital economic crisis has dangerously shaken the foundations of the system, they speak of rationalizing and optimizing resources. The reality is that medical services for the population become more deficient every day.

At the same time, education has been woven at the whim of the Pedagogue in Chief. His constant empirical improvisations, the emphasis on indoctrination and not education, as well as the exodus of professionals in search of better pay, have led to the worst moment in the history of education in the country.

During this 2009-10 school year, parents have discovered that their children’s access to high school and above would have to pass through a sequence of requirements. The number of students at those levels of education would be regulated. Because the country is totally bankrupt, and the state determines everything, it set admission quotas.

The current Head of State and his cheerleaders had already alluded to the issue in order to create in the population the requisite mental preparation to accept the new imposition, on an issue as sensitive as the technical and professional development of their offspring. The new approach is full of pitfalls, given that they had always emphasized that wages, and quality of life in general, were modest in order to make possible access to health care and free education.

The reality is that because of lack of attention, over decades, we have lost the tradition and quality in a whole spectrum of work in which there was a high degree of specialization: masonry, carpentry, gardening, among others. They created standardized qualifications for positions and, paradoxically, they underestimated manual labor. In theory, they were building the workers’ paradise; in practice, the worker is the means and the leader is the end. Leaving  productive activity behind and becoming a chief, if only with one feather in the headdress , was more exciting. The possibilities for personal fulfillment and quality of life were tied to the size of the bureaucratic feather and not to the capability and qualification of the citizen.

The result of imposing that unhealthy social architecture is that everything having to do with human beings in our society is damaged. No wonder it has been described as anthropological genocide. It will take generations to heal the nation. No other country in the region has suffered so prolonged and systematic a policy of degradation and subjugation of its people.

As a representative example of what has happened in Cuba, from 1959 to the present we have had the Inclán Foundation, located on Carmen Street, between Cortina and Figueroa, in La Vibora. According to the older residents, it was a school for children from low-income families. Students received a general education, they were prepared in appropriate subjects and practical skills while working in workshops within the institution. Once the State took control of all activities, of society and individuals, the teaching facilities became — everyone said it although euphemistically — that in reality the government leadership and the bureaucracy constituted a new class.

Millions of cubic feet of concrete were used to build tunnels. Today the city of Havana sits on a gigantic Swiss cheese, supposedly for “the war of the whole people.” The reality is that these would be underground prisons in the “people’s war.” However, for no materials and labor have been assigned for the maintenance and conservation of the once flamboyant and commendable Inclán Foundation. It is a demonstration of the absurd march toward ruin.

Don’t be Shocked by Anything

Among cannibals.  At least when we kill, it is to eat.

Since the founding of the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana, I have been mulling over the Cuba-Russia reconnection.  Some of my blogger colleagues, upon the dedication of the recent Book Fair to that country, quickly posted their brilliant writings on the web. In spite of what chauvinists say, women are smarter and quicker than men.  It is not necessary to substantiate this with neuroscience or brain research; the Biblical reference is enough.  The Book of Genesis tells us that it was Eve who first ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and later convinced Adam to do likewise.  Since then they have the advantage over us.

Russia was the guest of honor at the recent 30th International Tourism Fair.  At the same time, we also celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The old French proverb, “The more things change, the more they remain the same” is relevant here. These Russians, having shaken off the soviet dust, dream of the tsarist crown and scepter.  Having mutated, the communists now exhibit the desires of the nobility.  Although by their methods, they are more like Ivan the Terrible than Peter I. For this reason, they are natural allies of our lifetime corrupt rulers.  At the end of the day, the mutual enrichment took place under the carte blanche of socialism and the building of communism.  If they pay the fee, they will be equally welcome on the island these modern pirates and buccaneers of the world.  The ambitious speak all languages, even that of the disinterested.

The construction of the great orthodox installation could have been an act of devotion of the successor in power, who now, in his old age and political and economic weakness remembers religion and commends himself to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia and lost causes.  Don’t be shocked by anything.

Translated by HEFA

To Our Worthy Ladies in White

Sunday, May 9th, we celebrate Mothers Day in Cuba. This antecedent was established in Philadelphia, USA, where Ana Jarvis founded an Association with the purpose to promote a propaganda campaign in favor of dedicating the second Sunday in the month of May to honor mothers.

The proponent of this homage in our country was Victor Munoz Riera, journalist and member of the Masonic Lodge “Fe Masonica” who adopted that initiative and published an article in El Mundo newspaper with the title “My White Carnation” in 1919. Later after his election as a municipal councilor in Havana, he proposed the foundation of this date in the Municipality of Havana; it was approved on April 27, 1921. Years later, Pastor del Rio, a Mason and a Representative to the House of Representatives of Cuba, got ratification in Congress of the Republic on July 7, 1927.

The family is the angular rock of society and its cohesion is the job of the mother. Today we know, from discoveries about the human genome, that all of us living on the planet carry a part of the primitive mother of humanity, the conventionally called African Eve, embedded in our mitochondrial DNA.

In our homage, we should dedicate a minute of meditation, recite a poem, hum a melody or say a prayer for Mother Creation. Together with all that uninterrupted chain that has made possible the survival of our species, and those who suffer for their children. I, in my own way will include the worthy Ladies in White.

Translated by: Mari Mesa Contreras