Jorge Milanes Despaigne

Cojimar. Photo: Caridad

Despite large government investments made to improve the energy situation here, shortages are still not uncommon.  All you need is a little wind or rain and the electric company will immediately shut off our power, which they claim to be a precautionary measure.

Yesterday, however, that wasn’t quite the case.  This time they disconnected the power at the start of the day without a faintest breeze passing through the Cojimar community.

It’s been a while since something like that happened.  This caught us by surprise, because in the ‘90s —when we had alumbrones (only brief periods of light)— we were always prepared with battery-operated lights, kerosene lamps or simply candles.

“What the hell!  It’s seven in the morning and the current is already off!”  I heard one neighbor yell.

I couldn’t even see my hands in the pitch black darkness.  I somehow found my house shoes under the bed, put them on and felt around for the door to let in what little pre-dawn light there was outside.

I continued down the hallway to the bathroom and turned on the shower, but there wasn’t any water.  Nor could I turn on the pump to the water tank.  Nevertheless, I was able to drink some water and wash up a little using the water in a big plastic bottle I had in the refrigerator… “I’ll have to get breakfast on the way to work,” I told myself.  “That’s right; I need to leave for work in good spirits.”

At the bus stop, everyone was talking about what had occurred, since it was unusual for that time of day.

“It’s a hassle to get up and not have any water!” one person griped.

“And later they’ll show just the opposite on the news, just like how they recently featured Cojimar as a model for the quality of public works being realized,” commented another person.

“We’ll just have to wait and see if we have cold water and electricity when we get home,” I thought, though this turned out to be no less than the first of three such trying days – ones like you couldn’t imagine.


Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

2 thoughts on “Like You Couldn’t Imagine

  • That’s nonsense, it is not “Stalinism” that is causing Cuba’s problems. Cuba, perhaps, does not have “real socialism,” but this is not because it has “Stalinism” but because its revolution was birthed by Khrushchevite revisionism and has grown in such a tradition. Fidel came to power under Khrushchev’s wing, and Khrushchev – an anti-Stalinist – was one of the worst betrayers of socialism in history. If Cuba had Stalinism, as in the actual way the USSR operated with Stalin as General Secretary, it would be infinitely better off. “Stalinism” is what Che wanted for Cuba – if only he had taken the reigns instead of Fidel…

  • Apparently this is one more example of ´socialist´ bureaucrats — who in this case operate a vital public utility — clearly not being beholden to the people they in fact objectively serve: the citizens of the local community. Apparently they subjectively feel that they instead serve those who pay their wages, and otherwise control their lives: the even _less_ accountable higher-ups in the ´socialist´ bureaucracy… And so one the very real daily needs of the citizens is in large part decoupled from the special interests of the still locally-unaccountable electrical power generation system and bureaucracy.

    Such pathological praxis couldn´t occur if a REAL socialist form of organization existed — whereby it was the local, organized community which controlled its own direct electricity generation: because the power operators would be most quickly held accountable by the local councils who oversee these operations. Within the day, I would imagine. Heads would roll — as they should.

    So as always: Cuba must ditch its stalinist ways toute de suite — or forget about real socialism and start worrying about capitalist restoration: and all that this implies…

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