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.

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