An Example of Bureaucracy in Cuba

By Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES — This Friday I visited an office of ETECSA [the telecommunications monopoly] to get a refund of a US $100 deposit I had given a few years ago. The process took half an hour and I had to sign 11 receipts! When I went to sit, the security guard stopped me saying that the chair was hers.

A dozen or so persons were in line outside and when I got inside I noticed that only half of the employees were working. Next to me, two of them were negotiating the sale of a pair of shorts with the guard, the owner of the chair.

A pregnant woman came for a procedure but she was told that she must speak with “the boss” and that he only serves the population on Fridays from 9 to 12, so she would have to wait until next week, if she doesn’t give birth first.

View Comments

  • I recall similar experiences in Moscow back in the day -- we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. That being said, dealing with Verizon is not exactly a picnic.

  • There is no incentive for a cuban government or other worker to serve the public.none !!the system (cuba) is changing but its changing from the top down....its time that the people ,the ordinary citizen/worker to change as well.it will be extreamly hard for them to do as they just do not know any other way.when the boom starts in earnest the cuban worker will be replacd by workers from other countries.the first thing the cuban worker needs to learn is not to steal...

  • There is a billboard around Cuba and in a few places in Havana that shows a picture of Fidel's side-view on the left and reads ...'after Fidel' and on the other half if the billboard shows 40 of the same image of Fidel. It is meant to counter the hope that after Fidel dies, his ideology will die with him. Fernando's problem is a common one shared by many Cubans. Many government employees don't see themselves as public servants, they are all mini-Fidel's. Imperious and beyond reproach.

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