The original sin

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August and September have been a tough test for the long-awaited economic reforms, which appear to have been shipwrecked even before weighing anchor.  “You have to have confidence in the management of Raúl Castro” exhorted my friend on seeing my persistent distrust.  “Soon they are going to implement new measures,” the same lady assured me, almost three months ago.  She belongs to the group who hope the rulers can solve our current problems—a good part of which they created themselves with their absurd prohibitions.  Me, I’m on the picket line with the skeptics.

My doubt stems from “the original sin” of Raúl’s government: It was not elected by the people, rather it is the fruit of a dynastic, inherited succession.  He was not chosen instead of even one single opponent and, for me, designation without an alternative is not an election.

The current President did not propose a program, he did not commit himself before his voters, and that means he is not accountable to us.  The much needed measures can take one year or five years because he will not lose his post.  He caught, without competitors, the tempting apple of power.  Now he can eat it without haste, because our votes have not been the path that led him to obtain it.

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18 thoughts on “The original sin

  1. corrections:

    well we indians are matured enuf and neither we will accept pure capitalism nor pure socialism but will make our own system suitable to us.

    i am very sure people will show this maturity in the next elections and elect a government which will guarantee education to all,fight terror , restore our national pride rather than pleasing bush or next american president !

    another thing there nothing called socialist propaganda in india you must be knowing we are the largest democracy there is no place for proganda here we watch everything includig cnn, bbc,

    and our current prime minister is a bush admirer whom even americans hate!

    btw it was not me who was questioning capitalism but someone else as annoynmous

  2. what do you mean by saying that poor people don’t return back there loans ?

    here in india only poor people return their loans and rich and powerful enjoy ( including many politicians who have not returned their loans )

    and about people not returning loans in US blame it on your lifestyles, if one plans carefully everything is ok.

    well we indians are matured enuf and neither we will accept pure capitalism nor pure socialism but will make our own suitable to us.

    i am every sure people will show this maturity in the next elections and elect a government which will guarantee education to all,fight terror , restore our national pride rather than pleasing bush or next american president !

  3. “Considering what is happening right now in the U.S. we all need to keep questioning democracy, capitalism. ”
    -anonimo

    What is happening in the USA now? This is a good example, I live in Texas. The hurricane hit us as well and did a lot of damage. All societies hit a low point, where they are at their worse, which is what the economy in the USA is in right now; it’s called a recession. Yet I still have more food than I need, I’m still a university student supporting a wife and a baby. I own a car, we have two TVs and two DVD players. We enjoy renting movies from the redbox vending machine at the grocery store and we travel all over the USA about twice per year which we will do again this year (remember the USA is large). We do a lot more but I don’t want to waste the time writing it, the point is that life hasn’t changed here. The economic situation is normal, every once in a while there are economic problems, companies merge, some fail, jobs are lost, this time we are worried about a risk of entering a deep depression (there is no depression we are just worried about the risk).

    But our economic problems now are not all the fault of Bush (he shares the responsibility). Learn the real history of the subprime loan crisis. It started with ex-president carter (a socialist who is a friend of castro and chavez); he started a program designed to give loans to the poor. Loans that are considered to be very high risk, but Carter was not an effective president so it didn’t get anywhere. Under president Clinton (another socialist) the program was restarted and this time Clinton was effective in passing laws that required banks to give out high risk loans to the poor. Compare how the rich and poor handle their debt. The rich tend to pay off their debts faster than the payment schedule while the poor tend to pay by the slowest schedule possible, often missing payments, which means that if high risk loans are given to the poor who most often just pay the interest and not the principle, the total percent of total loans on the market held by the poor will increase, and that is what was happened because when a high risk loan is given to a poor person that loan will never go away, they will never pay it off if they only pay the interest. We have reached a point where the total number of high risk loans is so large that any rise in cost of living could trigger a massive rate of foreclosure, a banking crisis and recession and this is what has happened. There are people here making $40,000 dollars per year living in a house that costed $500,000 thanks to easy access to high risk loans. The interest rate alone was $30,000 per year, so you can imagine that this makes no economic sense. How can someone who makes $40,000 pay $30,000 in interest, eat, have entertainment and pay on the principle of this loan? I don’t think the loan will ever be paid back making it a certain failure at some point. Bush helped the problem (he didn’t cause the problem) by being financially irresponsible as a president (the war has costed around 200 billion dollars per year). The terrorist attacks also added to a weaker economy and OPEC limiting oil supply helped increase the price of oil– all leading to pressures that caused poor people in the USA with irresponsibly large loans (thanks to carter and Clinton)to fail to make payments and foreclose. Bush’s fault mostly lies in his inaction. He did not take the steps early in his presidency that would have helped use avoid problems. One of them is that we needed to switch away from oil more quickly. Almost all of the USA’s trade deficit is thanks to oil. The other error was by the fed, who raised the prime rate when all of these risky loan holders were starting to have financial problems (this may also be tied to Bush).

    So based on what is happening in the USA right now we need to question socialism, capitalism and all the presidents going back over the last 50 years. Try pulling the iron curtain off your eyes a little and learn something. Research it. I know it’s hard to filter the socialist propaganda out of what’s on the internet but in the end if we do not learn from the truth then we learn the wrong lesson and we make the same mistake again. And by finding the truth one must forget any kind of emotional attachment to politicians or political system, most often there is some kind of shared responsibility for a crisis, which is what should be analyzed. I have no doubt that nothing of what I wrote above has ever been written or discussed on the news in India or any other country outside of the USA.
    Now you know why the USA is having a crisis with the banking system.

  4. Helping poor people is great, and I admire you for that what you are doing.

    However, in Cuba if you work, when you think that you are helping with working, you are contributing to support a government that doesn´t really care to spend 1000 years more in the power, nomatter what they have to do, which show they have to make about their “achievements”, to keep the mouth of those citizens, who disagree with the system, shut like it is the case of those journalist who are in jail just because they criticized the organization and the methods they used. Why don´t they let cubans make their their own business if the privatization of some sector would benefit people, If there are already rich(those people who receive money from abroad) and poor people anyways?

    Don´t you think, cuban citizens have the right to intend at least, to change cuban politics, to try another way to start developing the economy ?

    Did you know that most of all cuban citizens live on the money they receive from abroad ?

    Furthermore, did you know that these things we discuss here, cuban people cannot speak freely?
    They cannot express their disagreement nor here, neither in public. They do not have access to internet at home just like you or like me.
    Do you think that is fair?

  5. Considering what is happening right now in the U.S. we all need to keep questioning democracy, capitalism. Complicated systems that are dependent on a well educated and healthy society. Contradictions everywhere. Some argue it is the “best” the world has come up with so far. Best for whom?

    Democracy and evil twin Capitalism are most likely the most sustainable and successful systems. But far from perfect.

    If we can all educate ourselves, strive forward, keep the beacon of peace, fairness, and human rights at the fore and do the best we can given the economic and political realities of our day to day lives …we can truly make a meaningful difference in the world that we share.

  6. yes i am ready to work without profit for people and in india i am teaching in my free time without any money

    why?

    education is being denied here to all only financially well off peole get it!
    i want to contribute whatever i can

    i am not a supporter of socialism or fidel but i am of the opinion that governments must ensure good education and medical facilities to all
    rather than making rich people even richer

  7. Anónimo

    Would you work without being paid, without food and without any profit ?

    See, that´s what happens. And even if you would be so good hearted, that you would do it for your nation, they wouldn´t let you do your own business if the they (government) don´t get the bigger piece of the pie. And if still you would do it, your profits would disapear in a hotel.

    So, it is not so simple as you put it.

    Life is politics! Get involve just in case you think what you do, it doen´t have consecuences !

  8. “us masters” means american masters,
    hope india will regain its complete sovereignity again,

    i repeat cubans are lucky they get many basic facilities they need , beieve me its a distant dream for many,
    hope u will get involved in development of your nation rather than complaining,

    work to make your nation better rather than getting involved in “politics”.

  9. atleast you people have fridge in cuba in india its a distant dream for many,
    you are lucky things are education and medical facilities.

    here in india these things are distant dream for many as government is busy satisfying us master

  10. MIAMI has collected over 300,000. USD and tonnes of food to help the people of CUBA. its the CASTRO brothers who do not allow the HELP to enter Cuba. SHAME ON CUBAS LEADERS keeping the population under the tight grip. The USA has offerred over 5 million not the 100,000. USA HATER claims. BE honest try it for a change. CUBA LIBRE coming soon. People stand up for your rights. Chaves and Castro favor OBAMA, AMERICANS get to choose. God bless you Y. Sanchez keep up the great work.

  11. Yoani,

    My heart is breaking for the people in Cuba. Supposedly the U.S. offered a joke of 100,000 dollars of assistance. Meanwhile bailing out wealthy investment banks in terms of trillions of dollars. And millions being spent on nonsense tv advertising, most of it lies. There are people here who are doing whatever they can to help in spite of the government. I know you don’t want to support the Castros, but please do what you can to reach out to progressive Americans who will open up a reasonable dialogue. The Cubans in Miami want more of the same old lockdown…but I believe more open dialogue, perhaps with President Obama, can open the doors to a reasonable approach for the Cuban people. Please encourage the Cubans in exile to vote for Obama and honest change for the better for all.

  12. Yoani, you are a hero! Continue your work; you are doing what is right. I am praying that God keep blessing you with wisdom.

  13. Is this fridge a liberty symbol?
    Is this the symbol of socialism?
    I was impressed by this emptyness…
    I wish you all the best my dear.
    May God take care of you!

  14. We have the same problem in the States, Yoani. We have two fools running for president that were chosen by Big Business to be puppets of the money interests. And the governments tells us that we are free to make our own choices. HA!

  15. Great Blog,
    I hope for different Cuba.
    I left Cuba a couples of years ago and I wonder how brave you are.
    keep fighting, keep doing what we din’t do.
    keep the freedom of this portal

  16. Yoani,

    It is always refreshing to see that you have the courage to write what you do and that you write as often as you do and that you do it so well.

    I wish you all the best.

    I hope you, your family and your friends are safe and comfortable (as much as possible).

  17. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Cuba: Economic Reforms?

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