Cuba’s “Struggling” Officials

Rosa Martinez

From the Cuban soap opera Añorado Encuentro. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES, May 14 — I’ve never been drawn that much to soap operas, but since we have so few options on television, I ultimately end up learning about the plots.  I might even see one or two episodes if for no other reason than to criticize the poor acting or to complain about the series’ slow pace.

Last week I found myself obligated to watch the Cuban series that’s being shown now.  I didn’t feel like reading or doing anything else, and since we only have one TV at home and the majority decides what we watch, it was my turn to lose out.

But it wasn’t that bad watching that episode of Añorado Encuentro, because thanks to that I was able to witness as poor Mireya (the wife of the corrupt leader) was left dumbfounded by the atrocities committed by her dear husband.

If I hadn’t felt the same thing, I’m sure I wouldn’t have understood it, but I’ve experienced that before.  In fact, I believe that all of us who love our country suffered that same way when seeing what happened with several of our leaders, those who we trusted.  It tears us up inside.

I’m not talking only about the former minister of the Food Products Industry, Alejandro Roca, who was recently and well-deservingly sentenced to 15 years in prison.  I’m speaking about all those who have been caught stealing from the people, as well as those who haven’t been found out yet and therefore continue swindling, misappropriating and — what’s worse — destroying our revolution.

It’s said that Yoani Sanchez and other Cuban bloggers opposed to the government are our enemies.  But in my opinion, those embezzling, thieving and lying leaders are more dangerous than any inflammatory message that might navigate over the Internet.

These culprits are more harmful than any subversive campaign because with their actions they can achieve what the activities of dissidents will never achieve by exaggerating our problems or lying about some event.  Misleaders cause us to lose the trust in all our leaders and in our social system.

The curious thing is that neither Alejandro Roca nor those convicted in the future will be able to say what was uttered by Evaristo, the corrupt figure in the Cuban telenovela.

They won’t be able to say that they did what they did because their pitiful wages weren’t enough to live on or because they wanted the best for their children, because all of us know that these officials don’t need to steal to achieve either.

Nor will they be able to say — as did Evaristo — that they weren’t stealing, that they were only “struggling,” because ladies and gentlemen, if what they’re doing isn’t stealing…then what is?

2 thoughts on “Cuba’s “Struggling” Officials

  • Good article, Rosa. While the finger of blame points toward these corrupt officials, it also points in another direction, toward something much more profound.

    When we conceive of socialism as the state owning the land and all the instruments of production, we immediately destroy the historically-evolved institution of private productive property rights, and hand a monopoly of ownership of everything productive to the state.

    The state, in turn, must now employ wise bureau heads and bureau functionaris both to plan and administer this vast conglomerate of state property.

    History has shown that the enormous bureaucracy that inevitably replaces market forces and direct enterprise ownership results, and probably must result in both economic lethargy and growing corruption, plus political and social, one-party absolutism.

    The original, pre-Marxian concept of socialism was cooperative and democratic, not statist and bureaucratic. The true finger of blame, based on the results of historical, revolutionary experience, is the Marxian concept of socialism as the state owning everything productive.

    But a finger of optimism also points in the direction of reform for the old, discredited socialist concept.

  • Rosa it is clear to each of us there is a lot of corruption that goes up to the high places so the question is why they do not fix it? Is it because the top is also corrupted?

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