The Word Bureaucrat Is in Fashion

Erasmo Calzadilla
Erasmo Calzadilla

A bureaucrat is a person with an important job, an official, who instead of trying to find effective solutions to problems, worsens the situation by adding more unnecessary procedures, papers and meetings. This conduct is a direct result of their mediocrity or becoming too comfortable with their position of power. A local journalist recently made reference to this situation, but the article quickly became only a narrative of one specific event involving a family member. This bothered me.

The bureaucrat has become the perfect sacrificial lamb. Everyone openly complains about them because he/she is nobody concrete, and so nobody feels like they’re talking about themselves. Nobody is afraid of losing their prerogatives when they hear a rant against the bureaucrat. As such, the journalist is taking no risk. Is it so hard to understand that hiding behind this recurring phenomenon is a power structure that, like the regenerating Hydra, can easily re-grow its sacrificial bureaucratic heads?

In his life Marx wrote for several newspapers that were quickly censured or shut down specifically for going right to the source of the wound -power- rather than frolicking around the branches. Shouldn’t we follow the example of the Marxist journalists? If so, how is it that the local press that claims to follow the doctrines of this man offers up superficial criticism that does not attempt a sincere analysis of the relations of power in our society, which have allowed and encouraged this type of bureaucracy for some 50 years now?

It almost seems like a law that a power structure never makes a true criticism of itself, which could possibly lead it to renouncing a part of its privileges. They talk about bureaucracy as something to eradicate, but they never ask how it is possible that a government official repeatedly doesn’t do his /her job? Who protects that official? How can this situation continue if they have a boss and the boss has a boss and the boss’s boss has a boss who should be preventing this from happening? And how is it possible that the Cuban people, supposedly the owners of everything, put up with this situation without a word of complaint until someone higher up makes a decision?

To me it is evident that behind all this is the existence of a well-off group that protects itself, the preamble of a class like the one that took over everything after the fall of the Socialist camp in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It is a power that is born and nurtured by the favorable conditions of a society like ours, where people have been taught to quietly accept orders that come from above. And it is the bureaucrats that are above.

The journalists that have the responsibility to inform, instead avoid offering the people a profound analysis of the situation, and simply channel the public’s desperation into things of little importance. I have little doubt that those who write such superficial articles, and those that encourage this shallow style of criticism, are acting as conscious protectors of the new well-off class. Surely they feel that they are the real revolutionaries, those who are truly defending the people. However, it is precisely that attitude which opportunely protects the new class that slowly takes position.

The story was already lived in the old Socialist Bloc, but they don’t want to learn the lesson.