Cuban Citizens are Just Collateral Damage

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

Outside an office in my community of Pinar del Rio.

HAVANA TIMES – Excessive bureaucracy is a disease caused by Cuba’s control oriented system. The frustration and inefficiency it decrys are the collateral damage facing the island’s population.

As a legal adviser for a state company, I must go to different government institutions to get paperwork. This could be from a court, attorney general’s office, commercial or property register office. Likewise, the local housing board, physical planning office and a long etc.

It was the local Physical Planning office that I had to go to recently. I needed to get a certificate of measurements and boundaries of some properties belonging to the company I represent. I am currently in the process of registering those at the Property Registration office.

When I arrived, I saw the same thing I always do. A long line under the summer morning sun, waiting for their far-off turn to get some personal documents. That could be anything from a simple ruling to a permit.

Doing paperwork in Cuba is punishment for citizens

People were crowded around the building. A fence separated them from the building, until they were allowed in to the waiting room. This was also packed with other people waiting to be seen.

A woman said that she had spent months trying to get her paperwork, just like an elderly man also said.

“You come here and they tell you to come back on such and such a day and that day they weren’t there.”

“And they tell you this with a smile,” another woman said.

You might have thought that applications and processes would have slowed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s true that ever since lockdown began in March up until Pinar del Rio province entered the third phase of recovery (a triumphant understatement when we thought that we had beat the new coronavirus), services had been limited quite a bit, but I have seen this scene play out for years.

Hurdles, going back and forth, delays in much-needed paperwork. They might be getting a license to a permit to build a house to a simple deed that needs updating. All of this despite more flexible regulations adopted in recent years on these matters.

But they aren’t enough. All the regulations that require cumbersome paperwork in Cuba are designed to control the lives of every single Cuban. That includes even those who live abroad.

As long as we have socialist totalitarianism, these frustrating evils will thrive and endure, the result of excessive bureaucracy.

Evils that people in the United States might call “collateral damage”.

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8 thoughts on “Cuban Citizens are Just Collateral Damage

  • Perhaps I’ll begin, Carlyle, by pointing out to you the difference between opinion and fact. It is not ‘my opinion’ that the Canadian government is looking at possibly providing a guaranteed basic income to its population. It would be a fact. Perhaps your asian linguistics professor emeritus could explain in more depth, the difference between fact and opinion. You seem to confuse the two in your diatribe. This would be in addition to a Universal Health Care system, already the envy of many countries, except of course, the poor U.S., who can’t even seem to get a firm grip on the concept of pre-existing conditions in an individual’s health. That people are born with differing genetics is their own damn fault, right carlyle?! Forget the mountains of paperwork each insurance company requires from health care providers in the ‘wonderful’ capitalist system. It is this one efficiency that frees up most of the monetary resources for Canada to provide the universal care.

    Spoken like a true kool aid soaked capitalist, Carlyle refers to social safety nets as free money. Entitlements, like food for example, is a terrible drain on the most wealth country in human civilization. No, Carlyle. It is what wealthy countries do to elevate those less fortunate to a position where they can now compete in the capitalist’s game. Even poor countries, like Cuba, attempt to provide these basic needs. Structured poverty is what you seem to profess. But, like a true sociologist, I realize that perpetual, cyclical poverty is a major contributor to crime. Another fun added expense to a burdened lower/middle class, while the wealthy reside in security riddled gated communities.

    Perhaps, Carlyle, you should find some ‘facts’ upon which to base your shallow opinions on.

  • Again Eric, try to tie your comments into Cuba. Are you saying that bureaucracy is so bad in the US that Cubans shouldn’t complain about theirs?

  • US seems to suffer from more bureaucracy, more people on the Government payroll, filling out forms, shuffling paperwork, producing nothing… just handling paperwork. Sigh, when I was farming I was going to create a bureaucracy, whenever an agency required paperwork, I would say, did you call the office and arrange and appointment? When they do that, I create a form that needs to be filled and filed on time and in person, of course they would have to make an appointment to file. When they filed it, I would say, “oh, this is the wrong form” you need this other form, give us a call, we’ll make an appointment. eventually it would be a perfect energy source, just going round and round and round.

  • Kenneth James Theriault obviously is reluctant to admit that the reason why the Cuban totalitarian regime does not make better use of its resources, is the incompetence of the communist system. Relating that to “a need created to continue to employ people in redundant positions in order to honour the social contract which all successful governments require to achieve efficiency.” is simply laughable.
    I look forward to the guaranteed monthly income which is in Mr. Theriault’s opinion, going to be offered to Canadian citizens. Free money!
    As the Professor Emeritus of Asian Languages at the University of Toronto observed: “A degree in Sociology is a degree in wishful thinking.”

  • Perhaps they would better use their resources if they didn’t run into roadblocks thrown up by hostile foreign governments for the sole purpose of choking all roads to achieving a modicum of success. When every move to develop trade with other nations is scrutinized by a bully power, there is a need created to continue to employ people in redundant positions in order to honour the social contract which all successful governments require to achieve efficiency. Canada is looking at offering its own citizens a guaranteed monthly income to free up the various social safety net providers and streamline it’s inefficiencies. Welfare, unemployment insurance, disability bureaucracies. The cost savings of streamlining would free up a bogged system.

  • I am convinced that one of the Castro dictatorship’s reasons for the insufferable bureaucracy is too justify the bloated government payroll. As the largest employer by a huge margin, the need to get documents signed by so many people in so many different areas of government is simply to give these folks something to do. There’s a saying in Cuba, “getting government officials to say ‘no’ is easy. Getting someone to say yes is the problem”.

  • Perhaps it was in anticipation of developing a the typical form of communist bureaucracy that on the 22nd April, 1959, Fidel Castro said:

    “Cuba is capable of producing cotton, paper and newsprint.”

    He was obviously wrong about the cotton which would have been economically beneficial, but correct about the needs of bureaucracy and the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, Granma.

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