About Food Rations and Cuba’s Future
It’s the last Saturday of February and I pass by the bodega store to pick up my rationed “groceries”. For those of you who don’t know, the State sells some products to citizens via our rations booklet.
An alleged basic basket with meagre amounts of rice, beans, split chickpeas, sugar, cooking oil, a small pack of coffee, bath soap, and half soap for washing clothes. Sometimes, there’s toothpaste, salt… but it’s not enough to cover your basic needs for a third of the month.
This time, I come across a situation that has been ongoing for months now. Not everything has come in, they can’t even guarantee this trifle anymore. Just rice, soap and two pounds of sugar out of the four we should get, but there isn’t enough for everyone. But we did get an extra pound of rice this time, for free, as it comes from donations from abroad made to this hungry people.
On the other hand, “the country is making progress and that hurts them”, or “better is possible”, are some of the slogans the Government is pushing in its fake, sickening press, that is dedicated to analyzing the next caricature of elections with some candidates that nobody knows or cares about, and of course to lie and manipulate facts, like it normally does.
For example, state-owned TV showed a feature recently about the misnamed “Puentes de Amor” (Love bridges) and Carlos Lazo. He comes with a Cuban who suffered an accident in the US to receive medical treatment in Cuba, and the news shows how he is taken down the airstairs on a stretcher.
After he was treated in the United States of America without success, our system will supposedly save him. A sad system that can’t save a dozen patients in a psychiatric hospital, or even save newborns at a Pediatric Hospital in Havana, much less others who haven’t been able to receive medical assistance because ambulances aren’t available or have even died as a result.
We are the global medical power that doesn’t even have medicine to treat scabies, but the show needs to be put on.
The above is just a small part of the painting of hardship that the poorly named Cuban Revolution has become. However, especially from the Left, there are those who insist on believing in and justifying its atrocities with the catch-all excuse: the US embargo.
Cubans here are submissive under the yoke that oppresses them, meditating on all the ways they can escape from an island without a present or future. A country sunken in despair and a social order without rights, where the ruling elite know they need to make reforms to stay in power, but not towards a democratic, free market system that would get the country out of hardship, but by implementing “bogus reforms” instead, as some people have said.
Something like State capitalism which they call socialism, with the Communist Party in power as the Castro family and associates’ political instrument. This is why we have the whole fairytale of small and medium private businesses, hiding their privileged private companies with complete impunity via this exclusive capitalism, on the fringes of its alleged proletarian vocation.
The well will be dry for the real entrepreneurs, amid so much bureaucratic red tape, bans and government harassment.
Maybe, in the future, in a decade, when the few oldies who came into power by force and are still breathing leave this world, maybe just maybe they will grant some small freedoms to found political parties that can take part in elections, although I’m sure there will always be a mechanism to carry on with the heirs of this oligarchy in power, just like the Russian system with an eternal Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.
But maybe in the future, a reformist will push forward a process of change towards creating a truly democratic and prosperous society, with real leadership and altruism… maybe just maybe.