After having squeezed these last few months, I have managed to extract some events that could be called “novel.” One of the most advertised has been the handing over of idle land to those who want to make it productive. Under the concept of usufruct — that is the right to freely use and profit from someone else’s property as long as it is not damaged — what is being offered today, for a period of ten years, are large, and until recently underutilized, state-owned estates. Given the law and studying the “pros and cons,” the biggest problem now is to convince the potential lucky winners that their contracts won’t be canceled prematurely.
Caught up in this new practice of making the underutilized productive, I perused my city looking for everything that is useless. I have managed to inventory a staggering number of services, factories, and work places competing for the prize for inefficiency. Were we to apply the same logic to these enterprises as to land, they could be offered to citizens to manage privately. The rest of our centralized economy demands the same treatment as those marabou weed infested hectares, today granted in usufruct to the independent farmer.
My catalog of the “infertile” abounds with restaurants full of flies but lacking in menu offerings, rambling Vedado* houses moldering in the hands of some institution no one needs, and hotels, like the Capri, the New York or the Isle of Cuba, destroyed by negligence and government apathy. To impose some common sense, these examples of inactivity could be placed in the hands of citizens, families, or groups, ready to make them productive.
Better that I don’t continue this survey of inefficiency. It could come to proposing that the seats in parliament, the political offices, the ministries and their dependents, all be surrendered for the benefit of those who could actually make them effective.
Vedado = A neighborhood in Havana.