Citizens… Time To Tighten Your Belts / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 29 December 2016 – My generation
knows no good news. We grew up with the grey subsidies of the rationed
market, we reached puberty amid the rigors of the Special Period, we
raised our children in a country with two currencies, and now they warn
us that times of economic stress are coming. It appears there is no
respite from this long sequence of disasters, collapses and cuts that we
have suffered for decades.
This December the National Assembly of People’s Power acknowledged the
negative numbers that reality made clear long ago: Cuba is not growing,
production is not recovering, and the so-call Raulist reforms have not
given citizens a better life. The island is heading toward the abyss of
defaults, cuts in vital sectors of the economy, and continued stagnation.
In other places, the rulers would resign before the panorama facing this
nation, due – in great measure – to bad management. However, since the
general president did not win office by a popular vote, no one can
punish him at the ballot boxes in the next elections. To the opposition
that has demanded his departure, the iron fist of repression and
punishment is always applied.
Instead of a mea culpa, the officials who, on Tuesday, detailed the
economic debacle and in somber tones said it will continue in the coming
year, have called for greater productivity, a reduction in superfluous
expenses, and using the so-called “efficiency reserves,” the final
official euphemism used to explain what little remains in the national
However, a few hours after concluding the parliamentary session in which
such bad omens were unveiled, the second of the three planned test runs
began – Friday will be the third – for the huge military parade that
will be staged in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution on 2 January. A mass
gathering, with parades of war tanks and soldiers marching in lockstep,
that will cost Cuba hundreds of thousands of pesos, if not millions.
The traffic on the capital’s most important arteries has been paralyzed
as of the early morning hours of yesterday, Wednesday. Thousands of
state employees didn’t have to complete their workday, and a long line
of buses had to travel from various municipalities to the parade
grounds. Countless snacks were distributed among the most faithful
participants in what is coming to be seen as a “Raulist coronation.” The
younger brother has planned his own investiture in power, now on his
own, after the death of the former president Fidel Castro.
Why this waste of military resources in the middle of the crisis that
the country is going through? Such delusions of grandeur are not
consistent with the 0.9% decline in GDP this year. This military parade,
with its boasts of strength and a “baring of teeth,” will squander some
of the resources needed to repair the deteriorated roads of the island,
to give just one example.
In this city that has suffered serious cuts in public lighting, where
the last-hour bus terminal have been overwhelmed before the lack of
interprovincial transport, and where a pound of pork costs up to two
day’s wages, what will take place this coming Monday is far beyond
wastefulness, it is a sign of lack of respect.
And so, there are certain politicians. They call – for the umpteenth
time – for a tightening of belts and a reduction in the expectations for
a better life, while they waste enormous quantities of national
resources playing at war.
Source: Citizens… Time To Tighten Your Belts / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez –
Translating Cuba –