By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)
HAVANA TIMES – Cuba as a country with alarming growth statistics of its aging population poses a real headache in the short term for government authorities if they are not intending to turn the entire island into a nursing home. And for the first time it seems to bring to memory a commercial, with not very good intentions to say the least, where it is announced that the old pay less.
Besides the list of benefits society offers its citizens there is an almost international practice which is applied even in countries of third world Latin America, where seniors enjoy certain privileges when opening the wallet or boarding a public bus.
I read and reread with care the offers 0f national and international hotel institutions associated with Cuban entities for this summer, where one of them says that people over 65 years have a 10% discount. What a novelty! However, such promotions are not offered by goodness but by a careful business strategy.
Since quite a while ago, although it is reported with some anesthesia [perhaps because it emphasizes the growing class differences], the domestic market is among the leading visitors to Cuban resorts along with Canadians, Mexicans and Germans. The real reason, among other more caring ones, is for Cubans living abroad to cart their “elderly” to the beach, taking advantage of any discount. Although not everyone has almost a hundred dollars per head daily to stay in Varadero hotels or the cays.
But what about the vast majority of the elderly
It is time, and not later, to begin thinking about how to make life more enjoyable for those people who saw the birth of the revolution and today, for strange reasons, are dying off without reaching 70 years of age.
One advantage they should receive is regarding diet. A quick look to what a ration card buys a person leads one to conclude that it doesn’t even cover half of the month or even less. In addition, most pensions range from only 8 to 12 dollars a month.
The state should eliminate the ration book and dedicate the resources to those families unable to go to the government’s hard currency stores where precisely the things you need to live are sold. It’s unbelievable that people who roll up in a Mercedes or an Audi receive rations at the neighborhood store. Five of them renouncing the rations would allow a decent amount of the products to go to one elderly person who doesn’t receive remittances from Miami or Europe.
And even more. An elderly that doesn’t even dream of feeling included in that 10% hotel discount.