Cuba: Letting Others Make the Changes

Veronica Vega

HAVANA TIMES — In a chance encounter a few days ago, I heard a few words that shook me to the core. The friend of a friend was talking about his girlfriend, the daughter of a member of the Ministry of the Interior (domestic security).

Describing her, he said — almost apologetically — “She doesn’t believe in any of that defending the revolution crap. No one there is living in a fairytale. Many of those people are disillusioned.

Then he added, “But ‘they’ can have whatever they want. My girlfriend sometimes walks around with 200 CUCs (over $200 USD) in her purse. She goes to school just for the hell of it since she already has a lock on a job in tourism. What they require is that she be a member of DTI (the police’s Department of Technical Investigations).”

What I expected to follow was some criticism, a protest… but he only said: “I told her to accept it.” Then he completed that sentence with a shrug.

I couldn’t help jumping into the conversation by asking, “But didn’t you just say that she doesn’t believe in any of that?

The young man simply made a gesture that meant something like: “Yeah, but hey, what are you going to do?”

What was most puzzling was that he immediately added, as if he had a glimmer of hope, “We’ll all have to see what happens when everything changes here.”

A response came to me, but I held it in – only out of courtesy.

While my friend was saying goodbye and we separated, my restrained words kept going around again and again in my mind:

More than ever, we’re only helping to complicate things so that others can wiggle out.

More than ever we’re benefiting from lies while hoping others act to defend the inconvenient truth, which exposes us, which makes us equal.

More than ever we believe the world is changing on its own while we worsen things with our inaction, while we hang ourselves with all our weight and try to hide our own little double-dealings (as if that were possible).

Yoko Ono once said, “We are all connected” in this world.

Those who have 200 CUCs in their purse and those who don’t. Those who watch and those who are watched. Those who are silent, those who lie, those who express themselves – and those who wait…comfortably.


4 thoughts on “Cuba: Letting Others Make the Changes

  • if cuba is neo-liberal capitalist as alleged in 1 havana times article what are demonstrations to defend socialism for? how much do adidas sports shoes cost in cuba? adidas was selling them for $1 in india. at cost. they were loss leaders to get indians hooked on the brand. with advertising and distribution there was probably a small loss. i suspect that a lot of branded sports shoes in cuba are counterfeits. flip-flops cost less than 50 cents in china but $10-$15 in cuba. malls in the capitalist phillipines have flip-flops for $3-$4. grady´s banging on about co-ops again. kibbutzim and co-op moshavim in israel survived with massive state subsidies and because they were fortified against palestinians towns. it´s not state monopoly socialism. it´s state monopoly capitalism. it´s what the 1848 revolutionaries wanted and what they got in the october revolution. few co-ops survive for long. share options for all workers is a better idea. the workers can then move on if they like and sell their shares if they like and they do if they know that the company is not well run. are tourists supposed to buy $15 flip-flops? i´d rather go barefoot. you can buy good shoes in chile for $10 and up. i once saw good $8 shoes in habana. just once.

  • most intelligence agencies spend 70% of their budget on economic intelligence. the NSA, MI6, the CIA etc. what exactly are the duties of securidad del estados?

  • Thanks, Veronica.

    The big red banner above says, “Preserve and Perfect Socialism.” Well, if the party wishes to do so, then it should transition to modern cooperative, state co-ownership socialism.

    This would preserve and perfect Cuban socialism, and be a positive example unto the world. It would however mean jettisoning the moronic principle of the state owning everything productive, i.e., state monopoly socialism.

  • Great post, Veronica! Someone once said, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”

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