Cuba Needs a Vaccine Against Blindness

By Warhol P. (photos: Caridad)

HAVANA TIMES — We Cubans urgently need a vaccine against blindness, because many of us are either blind or going blind – which aren’t the same things.

And take note: I’m including myself, because sometimes this kind of blindness can be picked up. That’s right; it’s contagious.

When we’re in a bus, most of us seem like we’re praying. We’re usually rolled up into balls and piled up on top of each other, but it doesn’t strike us that situations like this continue year after year. Yet nothing happens. On the contrary, many people become infected with blindness. Despite the crowded bus being packed to the rim, they’ll say the bus is empty.

It’s laughable, because how is it going to be empty if passengers are so close to one another they can barely breathe. I even think that that someone could be raped and no one would notice. This situation I’ve classified as Level 1 Blindness.

Level 2 Blindness occurs more frequently. In Cuba there’s no haggling over prices. You can go into any farmers market, and even if the produce is rotten, the price is always going to be the same.  It’s regulated.

Fruits and vegetables might be in the most horrendous shape imaginable, compelling the vendor to draw upon their blindness resource. So, with a big smile from ear to ear, he or she will tell you how the produce is simply delicious, or how the decomposed bananas are sooo sweet. Yet finally we make the purchase – it’s the only option we have.

We get home with the produce, wash it to get rid of the parts that are in the worst shape, and then we take advantage of the best parts.

But then there’s Blindness Level 3. Much has been said in the media about the Coppelia open-air ice-cream parlor. Television broadcasts stories about how the service is so good. But is that the truth? The fact is that you have to visit it and then you’ll realize that much of what is said isn’t true. I’ve corroborated that right on site.

I’ve seen workers who violate the rules of hygiene, coughing on deserts without even covering their mouths. The ice cream is never really scooped well, and the customers know they’re served poorly.

But what happens? Nothing.

All of us turn to our share of blindness. Many things we see are wrong but we have to turn the old blind eye, because the employees have to live and make a living, and to do that they not only have to steal from the state but also from the people.

Yep. Because when a butcher doesn’t distribute each family’s share of rationed chicken correctly, those who they’re robbing are the poorest people. When you buy the rice — which we all know is more expensive now — and the clerk gives you two ounces less than what you’re supposed to get, those who are being robbed are the people. But all we all know is that the clerk is usually skimming a little off the top here and a bit more there, because that’s how they make their profit.

So, who’s responsible for fixing this mess we’re in?


3 thoughts on “Cuba Needs a Vaccine Against Blindness

  • An article today posted on echoes many of the same sentiments here:
    This is a small excerpt:
    “Human societies see what they want to see. They create national myths of identity out of a composite of historical events and fantasy. They ignore unpleasant facts that intrude on self-glorification. They trust naively in the notion of linear progress and in assured national dominance. This is what nationalism is about—lies. And if a culture loses its ability for thought and expression, if it effectively silences dissident voices, if it retreats into what Sigmund Freud called “screen memories,” those reassuring mixtures of fact and fiction, it dies. It surrenders its internal mechanism for puncturing self-delusion. It makes war on beauty and truth. It abolishes the sacred. It turns education into vocational training. It leaves us blind. And this is what has occurred. We are lost at sea in a great tempest. We do not know where we are. We do not know where we are going. And we do not know what is about to happen to us.”
    I suppose that “blindness” is part of the human condition now, because Western capitalist societies are experiencing many of the same things described above. The middle class is evaporating, our ecosystems are collapsing, we are filling our time with mindless entertainments like “reality” shows and other drivel, and more and more people are being forced out of their homes and into poverty. And yet I am holding out hope that we will recover our sight before it’s too late.

  • But there IS a vaccine against blindness: Saramago’s ‘Blindness’ 🙂

  • Why has there not arisen a “Rosa Parks” amongst the Cuban people. Why has no one finally said that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. How long will Cubans continue to act like sheep? Where is the lion in the crowd who stands up to the oppression and injustice. African-americans faced and continue to face a far worse manifestation of the imperialist attitude of racism, classism, and sexism but our resistance has always been consistent and true. The 2008 election of Barack Obama was just one more step, albeit a major one, taken against the rule of the oppressor. What, if any, steps are being taken in Cuba or are Cubans contented to remain “blind”.

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