Old Thieves

Danae Suarez

When one speaks from the crisis of values that our country has experienced since the fall of the socialist camp (meaning when the former USSR ceased being the USSR and decided to permanently get rid of its foolish stepchild, which is what Cuba represented to them), I always think about the generation that was coming of age at that time and those who were born and raised during the debacle that the Special Period crisis represented to us.

However it is not only our youth who have been feeling the bitter consequences of this decline in values.  The elderly are also seeking ways to adjust to a society where “anything goes.”

Incidents in often-mentioned agricultural markets are a barometer for measuring not only the country’s economic situation but also its moral code.

For many people, stealing has ceased to be something wrong.  A few days ago it was very sad to hear a clerk saying that it was the elderly and not the youth who were stealing products at his stand.  But it was even sadder to hear the words from the mouth of an old man himself.  Defending such actions, he responded, “A thief who steals from a thief has 100 years of forgiveness.”

I don’t know how favorable or unfavorable the approaching economic changes will be.  I don’t know how long it will take Cubans to assume — if that turns out to be the case — the focuses of a new society.  But there’s one thing I’m certain of: It will be many years before we reclaim the mentality that has been torn, twisted and tarnished by the consequences of these years of struggle for our very survival.

Danae Suarez

Danae Suárez: I’ve always felt responsible for defending values that are eternal but unfortunately have been forgotten in a world that tends more towards the depersonalization of the human being. So what better place than my country to assume the task that each conscious citizen should assume: To work for a better society. I will never forget the famous phrase of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” I’m therefore committed to ensuring that my drop is not missing.

3 thoughts on “Old Thieves

  • As a canadian that spends 4 to 5 months in cuba every year I have been on the losing end of many tranIactions while buying food or anything else in cuba. Whats really amazing is the attutude,by cubans, that it is my fault if I let my guard down and allow people to steal from me. Living there I have a frist hand view of the dificulties that day to day life can bring from hunger,parent not being able to give thier children things that others have etc and can honestly say I’m not sure if I would be any different if I was born into that culture what I do know is maybe I would be a better dancer haha. What worrys me is if or when things change will the cuban sociality be able to return to the values and honor or will they continue to feel theft from people that have more is justified. Viva cuba

  • I have posted in this Forum before that I personaly believe a true text book Socialist Society is impossible, it goes against Human nature.
    I am a Canadian and as a Canadian I support completely Canada’s Social safety net. I am also a Business owner and believe strongly in a free market Economy.
    I am more than wiling to pay to have Healthcare and cradle to the grave Education for all Canadians.
    To achieve and maintain these privileges I will pay an equal share do not ever ask of me to pay more than everyone else or to make less Money or remove from my hands the benefits or the fruits of my labor.

    These self evident truths have been denied for too long in Socialist and Communist Countries and when you deny Human nature and Human need for too long even theft can be justified.

  • A society cannot develop socialist morality among the great mass of its people in the absence of socialist social — and thus material (at root) — relations. That’s a fact, AFAIC. So no amount of ‘moralizing’ coming from any Party or its kept mass-media, or ‘altruistic’ behavior demanded, by fiat, from social institutions under its control, will do anything other than further DE-moralize such a situation — and create instead a widespread sentiment of disrepute for the entire project of Socialism… There is no alternative but to devolve decision-making power into the grassroots of any society which claims to be ‘building socialism’. None. And from the countless decisions made on this basis WILL come a REAL, concrete socialist morality. ‘Bred in the bone’, so to speak.

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