The Anonymous Complaint

Alfredo Fernandez

Vegetarian Lion. Photo: Caridad

“Someone sent an anonymous note… That’s why things are red hot at the company,” I was told.

It wasn’t because of this repeated message that I’ve gotten used to hearing such complaints. And I’m never going to understand why people have to send these types of anonymous letters to report the mismanagement of a company or the corruption of a manager.

It seems that a non-person status — which has been adopted in an unnoticed fashion by the Cuban population after having given up their rights to the State — has ended up establishing the anonymous letter as the only safe and sure option that workers possess to report what’s wrong.

The “anonymous note” is a furtive protest by those who have complaints but cannot raise them, since it would be almost impossible for them to defend themselves. Workers therefore resort to this concealed and sheltered way to express their opinion or reveal knowledge about their company.

Here in Cuba, the un-signed message is the surest way to report misappropriated resources, to identify beneficiaries or to blow the whistle on horrifying manipulations of financing.

If a worker directly and resolutely criticized the poor management of their workplace organization, they would automatically feel the pressure of their union, which would do everything within its power to justify the company’s conduct. Here unions almost always worry more about the managers than the line workers.

Here in Cuba, anonymous notes are usually taken very seriously by upper management since their information usually turns out to be as enlightening as it is true.

I remember that one researcher at the Institute of the Studies and Research on Work (IEIT) told me that years earlier she was dismayed when in a study of MINBAS (the Ministry of the Basic Industry) she discovered that a vice-ministry had been created solely to investigate these anonymous letters.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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