From our Great Achievements of Socialism Bureau
Ever since Castro, Inc. took control of everything in the country once known as Cuba, those who live on that island slave plantation have known nothing but constant shortages and long queues for scarce goods.
Castro, Inc. has been blaming the constant shortages on the U.S. “blockade” for six decades, but the sad truth is that the real “blockade” is the one set up by Castro, Inc. itself, to crush any competition that might threaten its total monopoly. In other words, the internal “blockade” stifles economic and poltical freedom as well as private initiative, private enterprise, ingenuity, and efficiency.
A couple of days ago, Pulitzer-prize winning Cuban-American author Mirta Ojito was allowed to shine a spotlight on this awful truth in El Niuyortain, of all places.
Ojito, who fled Cuba on the Mariel boatlift forty years ago, demolished one of the most cherished myths of the self-anointed thinking class.
Many think that Cuba’s problems with food began with the fall of the Berlin Wall, once the Soviet Union stopped subsidizing the Cuban economy. But in the ’60s and ’70s — the years when much of the world was looking at the island as a beacon of progressive thought and lofty ideas — most Cubans didn’t get enough food, toothpaste or toilet paper to get them through the month.
I remember standing in endless lines for potatoes only to be told, when it was finally getting close to my turn, that the potatoes had run out….I remember wanting desperately to eat fish and not being able to find one anywhere. Imagine that. We were surrounded by water, and yet, there was no seafood. I’d sometimes dream of apples. I’d wake up just as I was about to bite into one, perhaps because I lacked imagination to conjure up the taste, never having seen an apple except in the movies.
In time, I came to understand that talking about food — the yearning for certain kinds of food — was safer than talking about other needs. Food was a metaphor for our more pressing, but forbidden, needs.
Today, an article in CiberCuba by Gretchen Sanchez confirms the truth revealed to New York Times readers by Mirta Ojito with singular eloquence, and no small measure of anguish.
This isn’t some wrong-minded exile complaining about the inconveniences of a socialist utopia they fled due to their own selfishness. This isn’t one of “those people.” This is a Cuban, living in Cuba, who after sixty years of socialism is still standing in line, still lacking everything.
Abridged and loosely translated from CiberCuba:
“We Cubans have to queue up to buy a simple piece of chicken, cooking oil or even a simple bar of soap. This is how we see our reality here in the midst of COVID-19 ”, explains a Cuban from the town of Camajuaní, once famous for its fertile soil and citrus groves, now unproductive, like the rest of the island.
Queues are spread across the entire island and are not a new phenomenon seen only in times of coronavirus.
Queues in Cuba are an evil that have accompanied us since the stores on each corner lost their meaning, since the small neighborhood stores stopped being private businesses, since abundance vanished from our midst.
Queues, damn queues in Cuba. They have become part of our daily lives and we have become so used to them that we no longer question their presence in our lives. We join the “cola” in silence, sometimes even without knowing what they are for.
The queues that have emerged throughout Cuba for decades are the most reliable proof of the precariousness of the Cuban economy, the lack of effective commercial management and the low levels of productivity in the country.
They are not new, they have been repeated over and over for decades. They are not a product of the coronavirus, they have only become more visible at this stage. They will not end, they will continue to torment us until we recognize the true conflict that originates them.
Whole story HERE, in Spanish