Don’t give me anything else / Don’t give away anything else. / Let me earn it. — Buena Fe
By David Canela
HAVANA TIMES, October 21 — To be independent is the only way to be worthy of respect, therefore a people who depend on the whims of a government (foreign or domestic) and not on their own work to satisfy their economic needs cannot be worthy of respect.
One of the myths that the Cuban government has tried to weave is that the revolution has liberated and dignified people, when in fact the opposite is true. It has instead totally demeaned them as human beings.
It formally abolished prostitution and gambling for being immoral and because of the belief that people must work for their own well-being to enjoy the fruits of their labor. However it has contributed to perpetuating conditions of poverty that fed them, making today’s Cubans believe more in stokes of luck (marrying a tourist or winning an illegal lottery) than the meager fruits of their labor.
This demeaning has been at all levels.
First, they diluted people as individuals and made them believe that they would only have human and moral value if they adhered to the “communist” doctrine or the will of a leader.
Secondly, they eliminated people’s economic autonomy, making them dependent on an abstract centralized economy in which they were mere cogs of a national mechanism from which their income was derived.
In all times, those who have power control; and those who don’t, obey. As Simon Rodriguez once said, “(You must) Have something, because those people who have nothing, end up selling themselves to those who buy them.”
Thirdly, they have converted education and public health care into political hostages of civil society, making each individual believe that in the event of any political reform, these would be the first benefits to perish as sacrifices. The right to education and health isn’t portrayed as recognition of human dignity and worth, but a gift from our government, a bargaining chip to manipulate and blackmail the Cuban people.
The problem isn’t that these services come to us directly “for free” (it’s already known that the funds are ultimately derived from the national product of the people, the workers). What’s contemptible is the character with which this is clothed: as a gesture of “goodwill” by the government. They want it to appear that these services exist because of a kind and generous state, not because these are civil rights.
Remember the motto “the university is for revolutionaries.” This phony free education only promotes the myth of the state messiah, which — like a god — watches over the safety of all its children equally, though sometimes it’s slow to respond to their demands.
Therefore, we should joyfully embrace the fact that some old people, after having worked all their lives, finally had their run-down tenement building repaired thanks to funds donated by a Spanish municipality in collaboration with the Havana Historian’s Office.
Similarly, on TV we’ll see some old Venezuelan woman thanking Chavez for giving her a new house. This is like those Middle Eastern princes who suck the wealth from their nations and on days of celebration throw a few coins into effervescent crowds. Gifts are still the masks of political demagoguery; they are what governments exchange for the dignity and decorum of their citizens.
Not even full-time beggars are willing to give up their dignity – they pay for the charity they receive with blessings. So why should Cubans beg to tourists? And, especially, why must they beg for the wealth that only they produce for a parasitic government whose main industries include ideology, bureaucracy and corruption?