Apartheid en Cuba
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    Celebration or Condemnation? / Luis Felipe Rojas

    Celebration or Condemnation? / Luis Felipe Rojas

    Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

    One can already hear the beating drum of the proletariat. Just a few

    work days away from the International Day of the Worker, the red machine

    of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) has spent

    various weeks moving around its chains.

    This time, the confirmation came from the voice and presence of Salvador

    Valdes Mesa, as the czar of the one and only official Union. The first

    vice — Estaban Lazo — has accompanied him in his adventures

    through factories and institutions. But, who and what will they celebrate?

    The indication of this year is that the State recruits and those who

    have wandered into the private sector will march "in a tight and

    uniformed block". The support that the latter will give to the economic

    model of the island confirms that the wave of lay-offs, which the State

    decided to interrupt at the last minute, was worth it. In the blocks, we

    will see the unemployed, those who are nearly at that point, and those

    who see them like a mirror of what their lives could be in just a few

    months if the sacred economic guidelines go through.

    The leading elite and the followers which will be in charge of carrying

    the country on their shoulders have received high level reprimands,

    under accusations of sparking re-unionism, idleness, and administrative

    corruption as an ill that is worse than even that of

    "counterrevolution". At the same time, they are blamed for the economic

    inefficiency which Cuba suffers from, they are accused of not being at

    the high level of the working people. And that's to everyone: victims

    and offenders. The slipping of the frontiers between the culprits has

    been and continues being the axis of revolutionary rhetoric — saying a

    lot without saying anything.

    Ever since Monday, April 23rd, when the convocation occurred, the same

    actors as always have popped up throughout Cuban television screens:

    secretaries from the nucleus of the single Party in the national

    corporations, undaunted unionists, exemplary workers, and the general

    public which indestructibly supports the massive parade in unconditional

    solidarity with the Marxist-Leninst postulates.

    What has been left out of this performance act — pronouncements and

    promotions aside — has been the authors of the thousands of complaints

    which are being sent every single week to newspapers, radio stations,

    and other public spaces. It is difficult to believe (a show, after all)

    that Cuban workers march "in solidarity with millions of workers and

    citizens of countless countries who also march today demanding their

    fundamental rights to life and work with dignity", without even blinking

    before the violations committed against them.

    What is true is that no-one is awaiting spontaneous reactions against

    the rulers, but the operation of the restructuring of the labor force,

    the expulsions of those who have been deemed 'non-suitable', and the

    hundreds of workers from the sector who have seen their months

    of labor being reduced due to the international economic crisis, among

    others, without a doubt conforms a good breeding ground.

    Popular non-conformity towards the high taxes on the self-employment

    sector, the disorder of clients amid the elevated prices of agricultural

    products and other fundamental services, as well as the complaints of

    the incessant bustle of inspectors and bureaucrats in search of

    commissions or with absurd refusals amid any single process are all

    significant evaluators that May 1st will be a sincere and cynical act

    consisting of parts that are still unknown.

    If, in reality, the thousands of unionists from the non-state sector,

    convoked now by the State, march in support of those who have closed the

    doors on them during half a century, they would be forging a new elite

    similar to that which sustains the Nomenklatura and it would be yet

    another act of apartheid against the attempts of independent unions —

    that black hole when it comes to citizen participation in contemporary Cuba.

    Translated by Raul G.

    30 April 2012


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