A billboard for shelter

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On Saturday, we took advantage of a friend heading for Pinar del Rio and traveled in his car with some donations for the victims.   Clothes and food given by people who have little, but with a desire to help those who have less.  That solidarity between citizens that, although it may seem insignificant compared to what governments and NGOs can give, mustn’t be left undone.  The final destination for the things we collected was the town of Consolación del Norte and the small adjoining villages, some of which still don’t have electricity.

On the highway we were surprised to see how quickly they had repaired all the political billboards.  These signs would be more practical as roofs for houses than in their current use as political propaganda.  One of these gigantic metal posters would be enough to cover some of the houses whose residents are still sleeping under the stars.  Can you imagine having a ceiling that reads, “Only by our work can we create resources”?  Living under such a platitude might not be very pleasant but at least it would protect you from the rain.

I returned and confirmed that the recovery will take years, that hope is scarce and that the worst may be yet to come when the enthusiasm for helping fades.  The police have tightened the checkpoints along the highway to prevent the movement of goods in the informal market.  Bad news for all of us who depend, in large measure, on the sellers who knock on our doors.  An intense campaign against the diversion of resources, against high prices in the farmers markets, and against all those who spread negative rumors, warns us of what’s to come.  We already know that these offensives start by attacking what’s illegal and evolve until they restrict the few spaces for opinion and continue even to the peanut sellers.  The condition of “public plaza under siege” is heightened, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see some examples of legal processes in order “to conserve socialism.”

These two hurricanes have left us trapped in a pattern we already know.  That of a State that tries to resolve through centralization, control, legal threats and a strong hand what should be solved with openness, space for private initiatives, freedoms and reforms.

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4 thoughts on “A billboard for shelter

  1. “The Revolution gives us everything,” including rapidly fixed political signs. I think if that happened in the US, some of these politicians might be assassinated.

  2. I can’t believe the political signs have already been restored !!!

  3. Doesn’t sound like Raul can talk his way out of this one.

    What can the Cuban people do? How long will they put up with nothing? Will they leave on rafts?

  4. Like always the party its ready to re-build all their propaganda billboard, the tourist area and leave 90% people waiting for a miracle from the sky. its sad looking at those billboard and a block or mile from there you can see people witn sad face, house, roof gone, empty stomach, and the goverment still telling people work work and dont steal from the goverment. hahaha,
    Castro need to stop talkin about the economic of the USA and try to solve a problem he has create since 1959. because its going to get worst, people will steal from the goverment and the county will be in a total chaos, all do to the master mind of Hurricane CASTRO’s.
    My Reflexion to Castro. if u are smart, Open the Doors, let people to speak their mind, open their own business, let the american company or any other companies to put business in cuba, give the Newsmedia to the people, let the new entrepreneur to bring new ideas to cuba, give your seat to the young people because u try it for 50 years and u got a country that look the same way you look, out of day, old, broken, ill.

    Free Market

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