Cuba’s All-So-Kind Economy Czar
Marino Murillo, the so-called “reforms Czar”, has always struck me as a contemptuous person. The arrogance with which he speaks before those who allegedly represent the people, the self-confidence with which he addresses the thorny issues no one before him has been able to solve, and his body language, place him somewhere between a domineering public official and a neighborhood butcher.
These elements of body language, together with the concrete content of his pronouncements, make it seem as though Murillo does not appear before parliament to account for his actions but to threaten and scold the public, inform them at best.
I did however notice a certain change in his demeanor in his most recent public appearances: a distant melancholy in his eyes, an almost unnoticeable stammering, there where there was once resolve, less vigorous hand movements…
There were subtle signs of fatigue and doubt, signs that less sensitive spirits may not have noticed. The fact is that, in these appearances, his spiels did not make my blood boil.
Today, however, he once again set me off.
After referring to the re-establishment of a single currency monetary system and other labor-related provisions that would be implemented in the coming new stage of the reform process, the Czar said:
“These tasks are all the more complex because of the commitment towards the people we have. In other parts of the world, these things can be done much more easily.”
The phrases that Murillo often lets out reveal the real state of Cuba’s power relations and the way in which the governing class interprets the social contract.
In the Czar’s worldview, Cuba’s political stage is set up as follows:
On the one side, we have the people, not the real people but the people presupposed by the Party Guidelines: an innocent people, as helpless as a small child that tells the leaders its problems so that they can solve them.
On the other side of the equation we have the leaders: a group of know-it-all technocrats and responsible patriarchs who know what to do to solve the said problems, provided people work hard and remain disciplined.
If the technocrats wanted (this is the best part) they could solve social problems through unpopular measures, as their super-evil counterparts do in the rest of the world, but their commitment towards the people prevents them from going so far.
Ultimately, I am grateful for such unsubtle politicians, for politicians who think like foremen and bare themselves and call a spade a spade from time to time. I am confident such insolent remarks will someday end up angering Cubans and awakening their civic pride, their dormant dignity and their political awareness. If it happened to me, why can’t it happen to others?