Cuba’s New Middle Class Identity

Erasmo Calzadilla

New cars for sale in Havana. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The way people in Havana have reacted to the high prices of automobiles in this new State market is staggering. People who don’t even earn enough to get through the month are appalled with the news, as though the real possibility of purchasing a vehicle had been ripped from their hands.

Could it be that a middle class mentality is gaining ground in the popular imaginary? I can’t find a better explanation.

In the first days of January this year, a new Labor Bill that legitimates exploitation and continues to transfer power from worker to employer came into effect. What was the reaction of Cuba’s workers? Nearly null: no one on the street said anything about it.

In cyberspace (dominated by what I refer to, with no derisory intent, the “counterrevolutionary perspective”), it barely ticked anyone off.

The counterrevolutionary and middle class perspectives are similar, though they do not agree on all points. For instance, if the police mistreat the Ladies in White or detain a dissident who’s expressed his longing for freedom in public for an indefinite period of time, people’s reactions tend to be rather pale.

There is a long list of elementary rights the government tramples on unabashedly, but people keep a stiff upper lip.

It is very funny, then, that the “people” should get stirred up and develop a sense of indignation and belonging, not because the markets are under-stocked or the government sells crucial consumer products at 250 % their market price, not because of the declining quality of education or healthcare, not even because of a lack of freedom and democracy, but because the class they feel they belong to had its wings clipped.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

14 thoughts on “Cuba’s New Middle Class Identity

  • January 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for that link . I spent about a half hour reviewing the website .
    It’s good to know where you get the information that you post and what underlies your thinking.
    I was unable to find anything about the children being rounded up but did love the slide shows.
    All that said, I much prefer scholarly and objective websites when I cite a source.
    I am not at all surprised that this website is one of your primary sources .
    Neither am I surprised that you fail to realize how much of joke it is .

  • January 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Again, a gross understatement from you.
    The Cuban secret police are regularly sent out to scoop babies out of their mother’s arms, taken back to one of the 20 or so palatial estates owned by Fidel Castro’s where they are spitted and barbecued.
    I read that in Forbes or the Miami Herald so it must be true .

  • January 16, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I bought a wooden whistle but it woodn’t whistle .
    Then I bought a steel whistle and it steel woodn’t whistle.
    Then I bought a tin whistle
    and now I tin whistle.

  • January 14, 2014 at 10:17 am

    That website certainly has an editorial bias, but a video is a video is a video…..Hard to argue with that, no?

  • January 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

    La Lobo Feroz & Co.. What an unbiased, unimpeachable source for information on Cuba !

  • January 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Your attempt at sarcasm is a poor substitute for honest debate. Worse still, Cuban secret police don’t just arrest adults, now they are rounding up children.

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