Other Companies, The Same Challenge

An area of small private businesses near where I live.

By Lien Estrada

HAVANA TIMES – I know a person very close to me who wants to start working again. She had retired, but as is the case for most, her money doesn’t last until the end of the month. So, she has decided to try and get hired again. Not an easy task either, because many of these salaries, when compared to the price of food, are laughable. Moreover, it requires shouldering a level of responsibility again.

She is an accountant, with more than thirty years of service in the footwear company in Holguín. She has already heard some job offers, mainly from private businesses, which are possibly the best-paying companies in Cuba at the moment.

“That’s great!” I said when she told me. “But I’m not going to accept,” she replied. “Oh, really?” I reacted. “Why not? They say they are the best.” “Because I’ve heard from various sources that they keep two sets of accounting books simultaneously. Can you imagine? The real one for their internal work, and the other one they show the State when audits come,” she answered, “and frankly, right after my retirement, I can’t get involved in such a mess.”

“It can’t be,” I said. “Fraud continues to come first. Before, when private businesses were not allowed, state-owned companies didn’t stop inventing numbers and reports. Now, in this new phase with private businesses, it might be worse,” I shared.

It’s as if in this country, with the Communist Party’s obsession to achieve absolute control, it prevents the rest from doing something right. Or one could also think of the other opinion on the matter, that totalitarian systems like this one really need corruption to sustain themselves.

Although it is declared and repeated ad nauseam, the socialist idea that common welfare is a priority and that everything worked the government does is for the benefit of all. However, it doesn’t feel that way on a day-to-day basis. To the point that we cannot conceive a reality where the discourse and daily practice are more divorced than what is found on this island of Cuba.

And it’s very easy to perceive this abyss between the two. From the experience of seeing the president in front of the cameras saying that we are an optimistic and hopeful people, while emigration continues to grow, which does not support the president’s statements. We find that same corruption at all levels, imposing increasingly aggressive and inevitable impoverishment within the population. Accompanied by a total lack of confidence in government decisions, given how misguided they have been over the last four years.

However, due to this acute crisis we are going through as a people, I hope we reach that limit where the Cuban State is forced to make substantial changes. I’m talking about all aspects that constitute a nation. From the legal, economic, and administrative. Because if there’s one thing, we are all sure of, it’s that the situation we are enduring, is unthinkable to prolong for much longer.

Read more from Lien Estrada’s diary here.

Lien Estrada

I am a lover of animals. I am passionate about a good book, a good movie, or a good conversation. I can't help but regret that I don't enjoy studying exact sciences. I am glad to have read Krishnamurti from a very young age. My upbringing is Christian, but I am fascinated by all religions, especially those of the East. The sea is another world that I find captivating.

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