A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who believe in prosperity
A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who believe in
VERÓNICA VEGA | La Habana | 26 Abr 2016 – 11:17 pm.
“Obama’s children.” This is what some are surreptitiously branding the
participants in the Cuba Emprende project, an initiative backed by the
Archbishopric of Havana at the Centro Cultural Padre Félix Varela, which
provides business training and guidance to those who have decided to
start a business on their own.
Evidently, “contributing to the development of economic acumen, social
progress and improved quality of life” is an objective diametrically
opposed to the concept of austerity that we have been beaten over the
head with for decades, while poverty spread and private property was
The derisive label reflects a backlash to Obama’s meeting with private
sector representatives at the Fábrica del Arte (Art Factory), in that
fleeting air of freedom that lasted only for the few hours that the US
president remained on the island.
Fidel’s reflection, published in the newspaper Granma, was the beginning
of a counteroffensive to relegate the whole experience to a footnote,
followed by a media onslaught and also, of course, the recently
concluded VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only one
authorized to chart the country’s political and economic course.
With a massive image of Fidel looming over the event, the subject of the
private sector was inevitable, one of the most scandalous of
contradictions, as the regime still encourages the repudiation of
independent journalists and opposition activists, and scorns payments
from “the enemy” and purported accumulations of wealth.
How is it possible to reconcile these contradictions and to render
coherent the monstrosity that they insist, at all costs, on calling
“socialism?” How is it possible to combine prosperity with an
indoctrinated penalization of capital, corporate independence with the
centralization of power, and reconciliation with hatred fanned for more
than half a century?
While common sense silently makes inroads on the island, the snake
charmers are refusing to back down, and spending exorbitant amounts on a
desperate ideological campaign, warning Cubans against the demon of
neoliberalism. Once again confusion and discord are being sown by the
seat of power, where the real needs of the people never were (or are)
Faithful to the concept that things are not what they are, but what they
are called, at the Seventh Congress there was talk about the expansion
of self-employment, and the hiring of employees by private entities,
which has resulted in the creation of SMBs on the island – though it was
always stressed that this “does not mean a return to capitalism.”
However, ever since the reform under this “updated socialism” plan
began, since the old justification for the “blockade” was put down to
the irresponsibility of the people, as it was argued that wages could
not be increased until production rose; ever since “unnecessary free
benefits” were eliminated, the country’s leadership has begun to pepper
its rhetoric with more contemporary adjectives: “prosperous and
sustainable socialism,” as if this clarification did not entail any
admission of the economic catastrophe the Marxist dream has meant for us.
When Cubans who were sick and tired of promises and delays congregated
at the Embassy of Peru in April 1980, publicly admitting that they
wanted to abandon the country, Fidel called them “scum, the dregs,
worms,” and they were lumped with convicts and schizophrenics so that
the Government could evade its responsibility, and to corrupt the
“Obama’s children” is a less deprecating label, but one which, once
again, seeks to shirk all responsibility. It suggests that “they’re not
my children, they belong to another,” to the foreigner who in just two
days rode a spontaneous wave of popularity, despite an atmosphere of
The marielitos (who fled for the US by boat in 1980), who were seen off
with insults and the throwing of eggs, were welcomed as winners when
they returned as visitors of “the Community.” Historical amnesia has
always been an element facilitating injustice, and even more so in a
country where the vast majority is struggling just to survive, and need
has trumped dignity.
Of course, this is no longer a good time to be fomenting “repudiation”
so visibly, nor to get rid of anyone who does not accept the official
rhetoric, whether a worker, a great scientist, or an artist or a famous
intellectual, the exhibition or publication of his work no longer being
“Obama’s children” suggests that self-employment is a necessary evil,
when it is actually a right and a vital component for progress in a
modern society. Once again an attempt is being made to belittle the
merit and question the legitimacy of economically empowered citizens.
Once again the government fails to admit that the real (and avoidable)
evil has been its wrongheaded administration, and that it is the only
one that is grudgingly accepting a change that is only natural.
There are some who aspire to live from their work, and not the
adulteration of products for their own countrymen, or the deviation of
resources, with the anxiety of being discovered, or by sacrificing
scruples to scrounge for a few crumbs. There are those who refuse to
accept lives of dissimulation and perennial duress in exchange for
material wellbeing. These are not “Obama’s children.” They are Cuba’s. A
Cuba that is emerging from dormancy, disfunctionality and absurdity. A
Cuba that yearns to play an active role in the world again.
Source: A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who
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