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Some Thoughts on How Cuba Can Undo the Disaster

Some Thoughts on How Cuba Can Undo the Disaster
April 4, 2014
Verónica Vega

HAVANA TIMES — The title of my post alludes to the question with which
blogger Yoani Sanchez closes Devaluación (“Devaluation”), an article
addressing the question of how the marked and profound damage the
revolution has caused Cuban society could be fixed today.

It is not my intention to be polemical, but I believe some of the
undeniable causes behind this damage are the ideological
institutionalization of disrespectful behavior, the country’s
“meritocracy” and the deliberate propagation of vulgarity and ignorance
as a means of political manipulation. Now that we’ve acknowledged the
injury, however, the crucial question isn’t so much who is to blame as
how we can go about fixing the immense damage caused.

More than once, I’ve heard the rather categorical assertion that Cuba’s
gradual moral regeneration will only begin with the complete extinction
of today’s generations. This perspective, which precludes any
possibility of taking part in the country’s rebirth directly, is so
disheartening one loses all interest in expressing an opinion on the
subject. So I began to reflect on what we could do if a legitimate will
to change things existed (not only among the people, of course, but also
within the government). These are the points I came up with:

- Wages on a par with current prices. When citizens begin to see that
they can live (not merely survive) without the need to misappropriate
State goods, hustle or directly resort to crime, they will gradually
regain their sense of the ethical and begin to appreciate the value of
honesty once again.

- Workers ought to be assessed on the basis of their skills and
performance and not their political loyalty. This will restore the
natural order of things and make workers feel motivated. It will help in
the development of different projects and do away with mediocrity, an
ill that is ubiquitous on the island.

- The degrading background checks based on assessments conducted by
members of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) or the
Cuban Communist Party (PCC), used to decide whether a citizen should be
given a certain job, travel or anything, must be eliminated.

- All acts of retaliation against citizens must be banned immediately.

- All individuals who discriminate against others on the basis of race,
gender or opinions must be punished with the full force of the law
currently in effect (or new laws that sanction such practices must be
created and approved).

- Titles such as “Mr.”, “Mrs.” and “Ms.” must be officially restored.

- All citizens must be treated with respect in all of the country’s
institutions and by public officials and police officers.

- Teachers and professors must behave respectfully and use appropriate
language in front of students. Classroom inspections must not be
announced beforehand. The truth must be made public in the hallways,
classrooms and slogans of these learning institutions.

- State establishments where young people gather to listen to reggaeton
music must begin to offer other dance music alternatives.

- Streets must be cleaned and those who litter roads by throwing garbage
from windows or balconies must be fined.

- Laws that restrict noise levels, domestic violence, sexual harassment
and animal abuse must be passed and enforced. Non-smoking areas must be
enforced through the application of fines.

And the list goes on and on.

Many will say it is easy to dream of such things, but I believe that
expressing the truth this way can undermine institutionalized lies and
the bad habits people have adopted because of a lack of options, fear or
apathy.

Recently, during a CDR meeting, a neighbor of mine encouraged others to
attend meetings more regularly in order to trace strategies that could
benefit everyone (such as payments to individuals tasked with operating
the building’s water pump and with mowing the lawn, for instance). He
insisted that he wasn’t calling for meetings of a political nature, that
he wasn’t interested in anyone’s politics (if they had any) – that he
simply wanted to address issues that affect all of the tenants.

Reality is much more compelling than mental constructions. At this
point, having clearly seen and experienced the country’s moral and
economic collapse, people are hungry, if not for truth, at least for
progress.

Source: Some Thoughts on How Cuba Can Undo the Disaster – Havana
Times.org – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=102789

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