Reports from Cuba: Why all the fuss if Gil did nothing?

Ana Leon writes from Havana via CubaNet:

Why all the fuss, if Gil did nothing?

Alejandro Gil did not go out on the street with a sign asking for freedom. The only thing he did was divert money from the public treasury, with the consent of other criminals who are at his same level or above him.

Over the weekend, there was no other talk in Havana other than the blow-up of the former Minister of the Economy, Alejandro Gil. On the sidewalks, in the churches, at bus stops, in the many small shops trying not to go bankrupt, literally everywhere, people talked about it. If the government’s objective was to divert popular attention to Gil’s fall from grace, it succeeded. But if its intention was to make him the sole catalyst for the anger —abundant and dangerous— that Cubans exude, driven mad by power outages lasting up to fifteen consecutive hours, it fell short, and greatly so.

Instead of being satisfied with the demise of Gil alone, Cubans, who compare the current scandal in the upper echelons with case No. 1 of 1989, are asking when the other responsible heads will roll, because there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Gil was heavily involved in a scam only with the consent of other criminals who are at his same level or above him.

If the regime believes that it will appease public opinion by sacrificing the owners of some successful small and medium-sized enterprises (MIPYME), accusing them and exposing their crimes on television thanks to the support they received from the former Minister of the Economy, they should know that Cubans have watched this movie several times.

The corruption of the regime’s officials is an open secret, not only because Díaz-Canel’s administration is the most inefficient and shoddy in the history of Cuba, but also because nothing else can be expected from people who manage businesses that are not audited by the General Comptroller of the Republic, people who handle public funds as they see fit without accounting to anyone, who squander and steal with total impunity while the official press dirties its hands and face by publicly asserting that here in Cuba “the relieved ministers do not leave, as in other countries, with their bags full.”

Right now, anyone who is moderately informed remembers those words recently expressed with tremendous conviction by journalist Arleen Rodríguez Derivet, and they also remember Gil, with his very stern face, saying that every economic measure implemented in the last five years has been for the wellbeing of the people.

An enthusiast of the Monetary Ordering and its implementation at the most critical time Cuba has suffered since the Special Period; the architect of the “today yes, tomorrow no” approach to the dollar; the author of the phrase: “we know life is hard, but have confidence that the only way out is socialism and towards that we are all working,” Gil gradually became the face of bad news, because Díaz-Canel pulled him from his opulent anonymity in London for that purpose. For that, and to give him the title of “Doctor” from the University of Pinar del Río, the only university to lend itself to such shamelessness.

Some claim that Gil never wanted to be a minister. The hot potato fell into his hands, and he couldn’t refuse, but he decided to make the most of his new situation. And he would have continued doing so if Mirtza Ocaña Lara, the dollar trafficker intercepted in Tampa, hadn’t confessed to the authorities that she was working for him. If that woman, who had carried out similar operations 45 times in less than a year, hadn’t been discovered, Gil would still be stealing quietly, and we would be none the wiser.

While the government conducts its “rigorous investigation,” the disgraced man’s sister rushes to Cuba and celebrates the worrying news with a party and a song-and-dance, to imply that there is nothing to worry about, as the worst that could happen to Gil is being confined to house arrest until the people forget.

For Gil, there will be no Valle Grande or Combinado del Este prisons. He won’t spend a deserved season with the common prisoners, to firsthand experience the lack of hygiene, the disgusting food, the pain without medicine, the scabies and fungi in the filthy cells, the degrading treatment from the jailers. His blatant betrayal of the homeland is not, by any stretch of the imagination, as serious as the “crimes” of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Maykel Osorbo, Lizandra Góngora, Aniette González, Jorge and Nadir Perdomo, or any other prisoner from the 11J protests, from Nuevitas or Caimanera.

Alejandro Gil did not overturn a patrol car at the corner of Toyo Street,; did not wrap his hefty build in a Cuban flag nor tied himself to a strangulation post; did not go out with a sign asking for freedom; did not demand food or medicine for a people dying of hunger and treatable diseases. All he did was divert who knows how much money from the public treasury for his own interests. Gil did nothing, except to assume the role of a doomsayer while it fell to Manuel Marrero to be the nagger, always urging the farmers and ranchers to do more with nothing.

Behind the scenes, everything happened and continues to happen. This is just the first act of a play that will not end with Gil, because it is no longer possible to fool the intelligence of an entire people as was done in the case of General Arnaldo Ochoa, when one had to be content with the version prepared for television.

Today there is the Internet and the national situation is out of control. Cubans want to know what will happen with the former minister and those who allowed him to traffic millions of dollars to the United States, while Cuba was left without bread and in the dark.

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