Cuba: The Capos of State Administration

Yenisel Perez Rodriguez

HAVANA TIMES — The consolidation of capos in Cuban state administration favors the maintenance of authoritarian order in the country.

They are representatives of those highly conflictive contexts of the underground economy that reaches the whole of Cuban society. We are talking about the informal economy.

This is supplied mainly by those goods and services that workers and officials are able to divert or pilfer from their government workplaces.

The level of conflict which encircles the informal economy is proportional to the distance that separates us from those resources. Being very close to them implies participating in something very similar to organized crime, although this is more organized than crime. The blood still doesn’t reach the river.

The better the organization of the informal economy, the more violence and authoritarianism there will be among those who re-appropriate state assets. The capos will be those heading the structure.

It’s a situation that connects authoritarian government with popular authoritarianism. It’s a point where some interests of the state couple with certain selfish interests of the people.

This comes from people as a sum of individuals, not as a community. The obsession of the authoritarian bureaucracy with total power can be found on the same stage with “every man for himself” among ordinary people.

There, as host of the encounter, are the administrative capos. Their diplomacy harmonizes the authoritarian order with individualistic pillaging.

From the state, they get a carte blanche that allows them to be close to the merchandise; and from their employees they receive popular approval of their role as well as cannon fodder with which to feed their administrative reports.

This allows their position within the power structure to become eternal. They can out survive and government. And this one will turn itself to ashes.

Some will want to judge them for the wrongs committed.

Yet they will defend themselves using the argument of “something had to be done.”

They will hide themselves behind the sins of others. Under the discourse that scares anyone who works indirectly with the authoritarian order that is eating away at our society.

This is why they will be re-born in future authoritarian regimes. As a Mafioso aristocracy if the neoliberals take power, or like capos of the workers’ mafia if populism is again embedded.


Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

3 thoughts on “Cuba: The Capos of State Administration

  • Okay, I admit, no mojitos studies, just a bit of poetic license. As far as chambermaids in Cuba, that is the truth. BTW, I don´t hate anyone but I strongly dislike cruelty and unfairness.

  • “There is not an honest mojito in Cuba” Really? Was there a study conducted by you about this??

    “Women who clean tourist hotel rooms are among the lowest paid and least regarded workers around the world except in Cuba. In Cuba, the woman who has this job is revered in the streets as among the elite”

    Blind hate is bad for the soul and take you closer to stupidity

  • Cuba suffers from a culture of corruption. Even otherwise honest people are drawn in because the informal economy is so widespread. There is not an honest mojito in Cuba. Women who clean tourist hotel rooms are among the lowest paid and least regarded workers around the world except in Cuba. In Cuba, the woman who has this job is revered in the streets as among the elite. Why is that? She has access to shampoos, perfumes, suntan lotions and even clothes ¨lost¨by tourists. The manager of a warehouse of Cuban sweet rum has the best house on the block. Why is that? For every five bottles produced and sold through the front door, two more bottles are accidently broken or defective and must be ¨discarded¨ out the back door. A failed system begets more failure.

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