“Castro lets Cubans build their own homes,” reads the headline from this AFP article, which reports that Castro–not the Cuban government–is giving Cubans permission to build their own homes to assuage the housing shortage on the island. One has to wonder if the proper recognition that Cuba is a dictatorship where one man, and one man only, has ultimate authority to decide the most basic aspects of life on the island was a Freudian slip.
Nevertheless, perhaps this headline hints at headlines we might see in the near future from the AFP:
“Castro lets Cubans breathe”
“Castro lets Cubans wear clothes”
“Castro lets Cubans eat food”
“Castro lets Cubans use toilets”
These mock headlines may come across as sarcasm, but the reality is that the island’s dictator has the power to deny any of the above mentioned actions to any Cuban on the island he wishes. In fact, he is doing it right now to the thousands of prisoners of conscience who are languishing in his jails.
Oh, and the rest of the AFP article? Well, this little gem pretty much says it all:
More than 80 percent of Cubans are homeowners, but by law cannot sell their homes. They can however swap them under a government system called the permuta.
In Cuba, I guess as far as the AFP is concerned, you can “own” something even though you can’t do anything with it without the dictator’s permission.