An Unequal Society in Cuba
Communism - a sociopolitical movement that aims for a classless society structured upon communal ownership of the means of production and the end of wage labour and private property.
Sounds great in theory but does it work in practise?.
From my travel around Cuba I must say I have great admiration for so many aspects of their wonderful country.
Their excellent healthcare system. One of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. They way they send doctors to the world's poorest countries in times of crisis.
Their excellent education system. Free up to Master's level. Free housing. Cramped though some homes are, at least they do not have the headache of a lifetime's struggle to pay off a mortgage.
However increasingly I am seeing more of an unequal society. The haves and the have nots. I ask myself if Castro's and Guevara's dream on an equal society actually exists when I stay in a hotel and see very well fed well heeled Cubans with their Blackberrys and ipods in tow, paying more than I did for a stay in a four star hotel.
When I see all of the mod cons at a casa I stayed at in Trinidad. The latest hi fi, t.v. internet acess roof terrace owned by a single mother, and around the corner you have some poor family struggling to scrape together their next meal I ask myself if Communism can ever work, or aspire to Karl Marx's ideal society.
Where for example are the black faces in the Communist party? Or in the Embassies around the world. I have yet to spot on Afro Cuban Consulate or Ambassador or Party member.
I do however see lots of Afro Cubans hustling tourists on the streets of Santiago - Jinitero Central, or Havana.
Or sweeping the floors and mopping up in the hotels and washing dishes in the kitchens of restaurants. Never yet seen one running the country or with a Phd or Msc to his name.
Let me give you a classic example of the abuse of power and money within Cuba.
My friend does not have access to the internet at home or at work. He comes from a working class family, his mother is a nurse, father a chef. He works hard in a factory.
He relies on friends who have access at work.
He pays them 1 cuc every time. One is a Doctor who will insist on adding the Msc to all of his emails.
I became suspicious of Dr. Axxxx emails when I found some of them were becoming more explicit than I would want them, knowing they were being read as is every email being read by the State.
From their tone I knew it was not the style of writing or words my friend would use. He has affection for me but also respect.
Last year I planned to visit him. Then I received an email again via Dr. Axxxxx from a man I did not know. The man was saying how he wanted to see me again and could not wait to kiss me etc. I was stunned and presumed it was my friend trying to catch me out, playing a trick on me. So I cancelled the trip to his town.
He wrote to me and assured me he had not sent the email. Then Dr. xxxxx wrote to say it was a mistake the email was meant for someone else that he writes emails for.
This year I plan to visit. I was annoyed to receive an email from Dr. xxxx wife who clearly has too much time on her hands who also sends emails for lots of Cubans for 1 Cuc via the Cuban Healthcare system SLD.
Proporting to be from my friend and always signed in my friend's name the email suggested a great casa, lots of privacy etc. Muy Barata etc. I wrote back to say that this woman's casa got a bad write up on the net and that I had found my own casa thank you.
I was annoyed as I began to think my friend was hustling me. The fact I had paid out almost 600 Euros to get there annoyed me to think that he could see me as a way to hustle a commission on a casa.
Two days ago another email arrives from him via Yxxx using the SLD web sever again. Again in his name and suggesting yet another 'great casa' Muy Barata, Muy Privata etc. etc. Now I was really annoyed as it also included a vulgar reference to kissing me all over and wherever I wanted, or some such tacky tripe.
I wrote back to say I was annoyed that I was being seen as a Yuma to make a commission and how disapponted I was. I also wrote to him at the other email add. he uses. He responded to me to say he had no access to the net all week and he had not written the last email.
I was furious I wrote to Yxxxx directly and called her nothing more that a '5 Peso Puta' out to make a buck for a foreigner.
I added a few more angry words and told her I had blocked her and if she contacted me again I would copy all of her grubby emails and send them to the Minster for Health in Havana to let them know how she was abusing their website.
An hour later two more emails arrived from her to my spam box. both were abusive to me and she ranted on that she was a respectable mother and wife to an MSc Doctor and not a Jinitera etc. etc. I blocked her yet again!.
Yesterday and today I have received no less than 5 emails from Dr. xxxxx. proclaiming his professionalism and status as a Doctor Msc etc.
I wrote back to say that I did not know him. I did not want to know him or his crazy wife.
That he must be sick to have been doing what he has been doing, not only by inventing the fake email from a man I did not know, but including vulgar references in the email purporting to be from my friend.
I said he was a pervert and I would block him and send his emails to the Cuban Health Ministry to show them how their Doctors were abusing their system by charging poor Cubans and then altering the copy.
Che Guevara did not give his life so that State money could be wasted training Doctors to Masters Degree level so they could sit on their culo all day abusing the health care system making money from sending emails illegaly.
My point is that Cuba is far from an equal society. When you have Cretins like Dr.xxxx and his crazy wife sending out emails all day via the state system instead of working and more disturbingly trying to break up relationships in the process.
Sadly the class system did not die with Castro.
The abuse of the poor by the priveleged elite is alive and well in Cuba of today.
Comments by Vic webmaster
Whaw what a story, but let me make some remarks.
First things first. Yes, there is a growing unequal society in Cuba. There are Cubans with a 400 peso Cubano salary (approx.20 USD) and Cubans that receive money from abroad (family, friends etc).
This money from abroad is very much needed in Cuba. Most of the money from abroad is used to buy in the Dollar shops, to buy hifi, dvd's, TV sets, clothing, food etc. The Cuban government gets a lot of money (taxes) out of these shops, money used to subsidize the food rations and free health care etc. You can't build a social paradise on an economic cementery. That's the real tragedy in Cuba, they have neglected the economy. The biggest surprise these days came from FIDEL CASTRO he made a declaration:
"That even in Cuba the communist system didn't work!"
The expectations are that the Cuban goverment will reduce the State control on the economy and allow more private enterprise. A prosperous country is a nation with a broad middle class.
There will always be extremes on both sides high and low. This is a universal law, called the Pareto rule. The challenge is to keep both extremes manageable.
In Cuba it's a common practice, to sell passwords
for internet access on the black market and to earn a few dollars from this illegal activity. That's why you get email messages from several different accounts. It's illegal, but I hear Cubans saying we live in a communist system everything is from everybody.
And let's be honest, the internet time stolen in Cuba is peanuts compared to the internet time stolen in our "wealthy" Western world. Many European companies report millions of lost euro's due to employees following social networksites like Facebook during their worktime. That's theft too! and many companies have blocked access or are monitoring the internet!
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