By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – Political control mechanisms on Cuban employees are not only limited to fake unions, that’s not the case at all.
It’s an open secret that there is at least one informant working for State Security at every workplace, where they communicate what’s going on in the lives of every subject under their radar to their superiors.
There is also a Party official who is appointed to “attend” to this state business or institution.
But that’s not where totalitarian control within Cuba’s work environment ends either. Now, in the era of computers, when Cuba is finally beginning to increase Internet access, there are I.T. security groups and regulations, which are not only dedicated to protecting from viruses and cyber-attacks, but also to check on what citizens are doing on social media, what websites they search for, how they talk about the system…
There are also some legal regulations – such as the Worker’s Guard Regulation, for example, which is what I want to write about today-, and they have the same objective.
It is supposed to protect the company’s assets and resources against any threat, and also encourage a “sense of belonging” among employees at their workplace. However, it’s nothing but a unifying body, a power gauge for individuals and an excellent vehicle to filter between the supporters, indifferent, apathetic (which are the majority) and the rebels.
This legal text recently made its way into my hands, and I’ll pick out some articles from it, as an example.
ARTICLE 2: The Worker’s Guard has a political/ideological and voluntary nature. It will be organized based on the Collective Work Agreement, as every worker’s duty, stemming from the individual commitment of participants for assessment, as an evaluation indicator in the Socialist Emulation.
ARTICLE 3: Failure to comply with this legal document will require union measures of a political/ideological nature with those who fail to abide by this regulation.
That is to say, despite the guard being supposedly voluntary, it has a political and ideological nature according to these articles and what they say about the guard, and failure to comply with this is subject to sanction.
ARTICLE 4: The Communist Party (PCC), The Communist Youth (UJC) and the Party’s Union organizations at participants’ companies and workplaces, will strive together with a political mission: total and conscious incorporation of every worker to ensure that the guard is successfully completed.
Article 4 continues to reveal the system’s totalitarian nature, as it involves the Communist Party, its Union and the Young Communist League (the latter always reminds me of Hitler’s Youth during the Nazi regime) to work “hard” with a political mission, which in theory is to get workers to develop a conscious desire to carry out the guard, but in reality, we all know it’s just to pressure, force, threaten and anything else that comes to mind.
I’ll end with this articles:
ARTICLE 7: The days of the Worker’s Guard will be Saturday, Sundays and official holidays, between 8 AM and 5 PM, and can be extended to days and hours previously established depending on the activities that require it, especially on the days when security and social assistance cheques make it to post offices.
Here, we can see the flagrant violation of the worker’s right to weekly rest outside of the working day. A guard imposed on workers, who are pressured via different mechanisms and sanctions, is just like having the Sword of Damocles over their heads.
However, to end, it’s not all bad. This law often fails, just like other control mechanisms. Apathy has become widespread now for years, and the same people who are responsible for demanding or enforcing these regulations almost always turn a “blind eye”.
But from time to time, there is always someone who takes the fall to remind everyone that there is a limit to disobedience.