HAVANA TIMES — In almost all bakeries where they make bread rolls for our households, the clerks handle the “products” with the same grimy hands they use to count bills and coins. Even in times like these — with diarrheal epidemics and shortages of medicines — this practice continues.
Recently a completely uncouth clerk at my local bakery sneezed into his hands, wiped them off on his clothes and then went back to handing out the bread.
It’s normal that this happens among peoples who aren’t familiar with pathogenic microbes or basic hygiene. What’s “strange” is that this is also happening in Cuba.
People here know that this guy is a pig. Nobody likes the fact that he handles their food, but nobody complains or protests. Why not?
It seems that resignation has established itself as a cultural “value” of our people – that and a kind of totalitarian populism that misjudges those who differ from the masses.
If a foreigner gives us a bar of soap as a gift, or if we’re prevented from going into a hotel, a fiber of our national pride still vibrates. However mistreatment by government institutions is assumed to be an inevitable and natural phenomenon.
We’re so used to being stepped on that we often don’t even realize it.
The annihilation of pride and personal dignity is a key weapon of domination in this system and in any other one. The recovery of these qualities will be a sign that things are actually changing.
In other words: The day you see people at the bakery demanding that their bread not be handled will be the day you’ll be able to say the syrup is about to turn into candy.