HAVANA TIMES — Over the past few days, the Cuban press has been flooded with articles and news reports about the government’s last propaganda gold mine: unused or slow-moving products. In their tenacious quest to find excuses for the national economic disaster, they have found something new to blame.
These products are the ones that have been in storage for years and have never been put out for sale, or put on display on store shelves and hangers for decades without anyone buying them because their prices are exorbitant for a Swede’s wallet, let alone a Cuban’s.
The almighty Comptroller General, Gladys Bejerano, threatens that “there won’t be any room for immunity” and calculates that losses to the national economy are worth 1057 million Total Money (God know’s what Total Money is because I don’t what it is), due to “control and inventory problems” of outdated products, among other things.
It seems to me that the Cuban economy is losing more money today just because they can’t carry out an accurate inventory of a planned economy, than what Batista and his acolytes stole during that dictatorship.
A few days later, there was a news report about the “chaos and tons of irresponsibility” in La Conchita, the state-run packaged fruit juice monopoly, juices which go missing from any Havana store for weeks at a time even when they sell for extortionate prices.
Some 1500 tons of natural pulp thrown out to waste at a single warehouse because they didn’t have any way to package it, according to the administrator, because of the administrator’s poor management according to the Party. We already know where this administrator is going to spend the next few years, I feel sorry for his family.
It goes without saying that low-end bureaucrats are given the finger for these results, managers at state-run companies, those responsible for imports, sales, at a company level. Nobody thinks to look higher up, much less at the system.
I’m lying, one of the most conservative journalists on the national propaganda scene did think about the system and ended his article called “Unused or slow moving Products” with the solemn phrase: “What regulates the market in capitalism, doesn’t regulate anything under socialism which is guided only by conscience.” After this “great theoretical contribution”, they he should be promoted it to the Ideology Department at the Cuban Communist Party’s Central Committee.
The message they’re sending is that the poor management of some administrators is the reason for the constant shortages we experience living here in Cuba. They always find excuses to justify, to create the damaging fiction that symptoms are the causes and thereby continue to change and change things ad infinitum without really ever changing anything.
It seems that six decades weren’t enough to prove to our government that a centralized and planned economy is 100% inefficient. It doesn’t matter whether the system shows itself to be incapable of satisfying its hostage population’s needs in the slightest.
As part of this new propaganda campaign, the media front men have followed inspectors, headed by the Party’s local representatives, who went unannounced to six building material retail points, which are nearly always empty.
There, they “discovered” what we already know, a never-ending pit of corruption, embezzlement, bribery, accounting manipulation, diversion of donations received for hurricane victims and whatever inventing employees there can do to get everything they can before they “explode” and are replaced by others who will do the exact same thing, because this is the perverse logic that our government forces us to live, so that they can continue to control us.
Years of crude manipulations or deceptive lies against a market economy haven’t been in vain, searching for solutions to Cuba’s great problems outside of the pre-established framework of a state-centered economy is heretical and immediately labeled counter-revolutionary. Saving the system that they call “socialist” is more important than saving the people who have to live under this system.
And the message sinks in when you ask Cubans what needs to be done and the majority agree and say: “more controls!” Ironically, more controls are needed in the most controlled economy in the universe.