HAVANA TIMES, June 23 — As the government speaks of an “excess” of more than a million workers, the central bureaucratic apparatus is proposing to create an additional province by dividing Havana Province, which rings Havana City Province, in two.
This will mean another provincial committee for each political and mass organization, another provincial assembly of Popular Power and a host of replicated provincial offices, such as ministerial and state committees, another newspaper, and another television network.
This will also require an additional baseball team and a new squad for each sport. Who knows where this would leave the Havana baseball team, which has been rising like foam and was knocking on the door of the championship last season after winning the year before?
In short, a whole new mechanism of the state-party-government bureaucratic apparatus will have to be reproduced for a new province.
How does that proposal fit in with the trumpeted policies of reducing the state and eliminating bureaucracy and subsidies?
Will it be part of a new jobs creation policy?
Are these the structural changes that the government talks about?
Is this the most effective action to take when the aim is to eliminate bureaucracy, subsidies and expenditures by the state? Has anyone figured how much this new bureaucratic structure —that will only consume but produce nothing— will cost to the people of Cuba. And what will it cost Cuban workers, who are the ones who subsidize the state – and not the other way around, as some would say?
For the new province, have they added up the wages, cars, perks, buildings, furniture, cafeterias, auxiliary expenses, gasoline, electricity, water, gas, new license plates for cars, new ID cards and all the letterhead, stamps, stationery, signs, etc.?
Wouldn’t it be better to review the effectiveness of the current structure of 14 provinces and 169 municipalities and to think of an alternative on that is lighter and more efficient?
Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate or reduce the intermediate rung of provinces —which complicate everything— and perhaps leave the three historical regions, as does the Revolutionary Armed Forces (which has its western, central and eastern divisions).
In addition, with three regions the number of municipalities could be reduced and true decentralization carried out in terms of functions and powers, which could be directed more toward the municipalities. This would be in a line similar to the “people’s war” military defense strategy and policies of self-sufficient consumption, grass-roots autonomy and self-defense?
If it was possible to eliminate the province structures, can you imagine how much the state would save, which is a way of asking how much Cuban workers would save?
Don’t they realize that their proposal for a new province, which means more non-productive intermediate bureaucracy, doesn’t help with popular control from below, though this is what is needed? Instead they’re offering more bureaucracy.
Have they thought of asking the people of Havana themselves if they agree? Or, in accord with our current form of representative democracy, will it be sufficient to simply pose the question to their representatives?
Have they thought of asking the people of Cuba if they’re willing to shoulder the cost of this new structure?
Are the authorities going to hold a referendum?
And when are we going to publish in the newspaper or on an official website the costs of all our national, provincial and municipal, government, ministerial bureaucracy, political and administrative management?
In short, and as a bank teller would say: The cash doesn’t reconcile with the accounting.
* Pedro Campos Santos. Former Cuban diplomat in Mexico and at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. International political analyst. Head researcher of the Center for United States Studies project the University of Havana. He is currently retired. His articles can be read at the following site: http://boletinspd.eltinterocolectivo.com
Contact Pedro Campos at: [email protected]