Social workers: the ephemeral body of action


With their red shirts they appeared in my neighborhood one day to inventory the old American refrigerators and the Soviet air conditioners.  They came vested with full powers and one early morning they also descended on the service stations in an operation to stop the illegal sale of fuel.  They were young people who hadn’t been able to enroll in the university and a plan—gestated at the highest levels—converted them into a troop available for any task, on the promise of a place in higher education.  Allocated a set of clothes, they started to move across the country in newly purchased Chinese buses, flamboyant and imposing.  Their authority to appear at any labor center and ask for accounts, do an audit and even replace personnel, earned them the alarming nickname, “children of the Comandante.”

Some of them abandoned the ten-year commitment they’d signed on for and for them leaving was difficult and the black mark on their file certain.  The same ones changed light bulbs on the streets of Caracas as controlled the sales people in the convertible peso stores.  They were the new eyes of power among us and yet they belonged to the generation most affected by the Special Period, the dual monetary system and the fading of the myth.  So it was common to see them exchange self-confidence for obedience and slogans for words of boredom.  Their brilliance was as brief as the denim trousers they were allocated at the start of their work.

Today, one hardly hears them mentioned.  Although there has been no announcement that the social workers have been demobilized, at the very least it seems that their work lacks substance.  There are now no electric pots to distribute, no public opinion surveys to conduct, and it seems that the enormous physical infrastructure of shelters, snacks and buses that supported their work can no longer be guaranteed.  I rarely run into any in the street, but those I do see no longer have that arrogant air, nor display their previous pose of belonging to an elite group.


9 thoughts on “Social workers: the ephemeral body of action

  1. I am reminded of the lost hope’s of the many teenager’s that either sit at home or wander the street’s here.Their parent’s can either not provide,or they can no longer continue

  2. Hola Cold in Chicago
    How nice to be remembered! I’ve been a bit distracted with too much going on… but I still “lurk” every day and I WILL return!!!! I’m glad to see all my friends are keeping the conversation going.

  3. Candido:

    I’m glad we agree on some things even if we disagree on others. I understand your dilemma and have much empathy.

    I used to debate with Carbo Servo and Andy, who no longer place comments about differing approaches to various problems presented by the dictators.

    Just remember, we’ll outlast these creeps no matter what. This will be over in a few years or sooner.

  4. Cold in Chicago:

    You are totally right and I’m agree with your method,,,,,BUT,,,you can’t denied that often those historic situations and after so long, that requires a supreme effort to stay like that, being quiet, with calm like anything did happen!!!!.

    Even in our case, that we are out of his hands, the small part of his cruel system that was touching our soul ( and still is )), is enough to star a fire in our hearts that will be very hard to extinguish!!!!!.

    Sometimes, even thinking or pretending to get enough cold blood,,,there is not other way that to scream “Le Zumba el mango”!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. One of the things that probably bring a smile to the Castros is when we complain too loudly or often, about certain inconveniences they throw before us here in exile. When I visit Miami, I try not to listen to the bleeding hearts, right wing Cuban radio, complaining of how mean and vicious Castro is. I confess that there is an AM radio station transmitting from Cuba that plays instrumental music, which I prefer to listen to driving to the Keys, for as long as they don’t talk propaganda.

    With all due respect to other compatriots methods of dealing with the dynasty, I take the position that that man cannot hurt us no matter what he says. I just don’t care. Granted, he did steal and rob our families blind back at a time when they started pillaging private property, businesses, and personal freedoms, and that stuck. But we are resilient, and I think we’ve grown much bigger than he is. In terms of personal, physical and/or economic comforts, he really cannot touch any of us on this side of the drink no matter what he does.

    So why give him the satisfaction of letting him so much as think that we’re agonizing over some move he makes here and there. There is so much, those incompetent fools do to trample themselves and make us laugh about, so why return the favor?

  6. What a travesty .What they are doing is not consistent with what a social worker is all about.As one myself,they are neither social nor workers,they simply are rubber stamps of the revolution.

  7. Estimada Yoani,

    Como a ti, aqui Montaner cuenta como el Castrismo hace su labor de desinformacion contra los escritores, como el.

    Publicado el domingo, 07.12.09

    El asesinato de la voz

    Afirma el diario Granma que el ex embajador norteamericano Otto Reich y
    yo asesoramos al gobierno que derrocó al presidente Zelaya en Honduras.
    Naturalmente, esa es una burda falsedad. Reich la ha desmentido. Yo lo
    hago ahora con el mayor énfasis. No conozco al señor Micheletti ni a los
    militares que depusieron a Zelaya. No tengo la menor relación con ese
    evento. Se trata de una acusación absolutamente infundada y delirante
    propia del desacreditado periodismo cubano.

    Por supuesto, no estamos ante un error inocente, sino frente a una
    calumnia muy bien estudiada. Primero, un agente de influencia del
    régimen situado en Miami, un viejo periodista al servicio del gobierno
    de Castro, dijo en su hora radial que hay un informe secreto de un país
    europeo que afirma que Reich y yo somos asesores de los golpistas. No
    reveló de qué país se trataba ni cómo él obtuvo esa información. No
    podía hacerlo: es una pura invención. La calumnia, plantada en la radio,
    inmediatamente se abrió paso por internet hasta La Habana. Allí, los
    jefes del agente de influencia la reprodujeron en Granma y toda la radio
    cubana y las cadenas de noticia la lanzaron al exterior. Inmediatamente,
    muchos medios de comunicación del mundo entero la reprodujeron sin
    detenerse a verificar el contenido. Gracias a internet, ese efecto se
    multiplicó por mil en un instante.

    ¿Por qué mienten? Muy sencillo: propaganda, desinformación, ”medidas
    especiales” propias de los gobiernos totalitarios. En inglés existe una
    expresión muy gráfica para cierto tipo de difamación extrema: character
    assassination. Consiste en destruir metódicamente la imagen de una
    persona hasta convertirla en una figura repugnante a la que nadie desea
    vincularse. Contra los escritores incómodos existe una variante
    igualmente vil: el ”asesinato de la voz”. La campaña se encamina a
    intentar silenciarlos mediante calumnias, amenazas y presiones de todo
    tipo sobre ellos y sobre los medios que divulgan sus ideas.

    Este episodio no es nuevo. Hace muchos años que padezco
    ininterrumpidamente una de esas operaciones de los servicios de
    inteligencia. En 1980, Jesús Arboleya, alto oficial de la Dirección
    General de Inteligencia de Cuba, le explicó al profesor Lisandro Pérez
    de Florida International University que se interrumpían los contactos
    académicos entre el gobierno de Castro y el Instituto de Estudios
    Cubanos de Miami mientras yo escribiera en el boletín de la Institución.
    Para honra del IEC, jamás me pidieron que dejara de colaborar.
    A partir de ese momento, el gobierno cubano, por medio de su vasta red
    de colaboradores, se ha dedicado a propagar sistemáticamente dos
    falsedades que jamás ha podido probar: unos supuestos vínculos con la
    CIA, que nunca he tenido, y un pretendido pasado terrorista que, por
    supuesto, es totalmente falso. Esos son los dos caballos de batalla en
    los que montan sus campañas.

    A veces las presiones son más intensas. A fines de los años 80 los
    servicios cubanos de inteligencia me enviaron a mi oficina de Madrid un
    libro bomba titulado Una muerte muy dulce. Querían asustarme para que me
    callara. La bomba no estaba preparada para que estallara. Era sólo una
    macabra amenaza. Acababa de publicar un libro que les irritó mucho:
    Fidel Castro y la revolución cubana, y pretendían que no siguiera
    escribiendo. Obviamente, denuncié el hecho y continué mi labor.
    El siguiente capítulo de este intento de ”asesinato de la voz” tiene
    fecha fija. El próximo 4 de agosto una delegación de miembros de la
    ”Red Informativa Virtin”, un grupo de presión pro FARC que opera en
    Colombia –mamertos les llaman en ese país– le hará entrega al Dr.
    Gustavo Bell Lemos, director de El Heraldo de Barranquilla, de unos
    cuantos centenares de peticiones de diversas partes de América, todas de
    la misma cuerda política, para que cancelen mi columna. Según revelan
    ellos mismos en sus publicaciones de internet, la operación de recogida
    de firmas la ha coordinado desde La Habana la señora Rosa Cristina Báez
    Valdés, persona designada por la Seguridad del Estado para estos
    menesteres policiacos.

    ¿Por qué esta exagerada fijación de los servicios secretos cubanos en mi

    Según me cuentan algunos desertores de alto rango, en su momento fue el
    propio Fidel Castro el que decidió que su aparato de propaganda y
    difamación me colocara en el punto de mira. Parece que le irritaban mis
    comentarios sobre su gobierno y, sobre todo, mis análisis sobre su
    personalidad psicopática y sus limitaciones morales e intelectuales. En
    realidad, no sé exactamente por qué me odia. Lo único que se me hace
    evidente es que quiere ”asesinar” mi voz.

  8. That have been the typical answer for every different period of time during the 50 years of abusive , oppressive and cruel Castro’s regime.

    During the 60’s were created the Militias with people hungry for revenge, and ready to kill just supporting anything that Castro indicated.

    The Militia had a military character, in other words, was some kind of organization linked with the newly created Police Force, the Rebel Army and the State Security, were responsible to inoculated the terror in the Cuban population.

    At the end of the 60’s were created the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the) Revolution), which led hatred, revenge, surveillance, to every street in every City in the Country.

    Each block had an organization, called CDR, consisting of a chairperson, a vice president, and organizer, an ideological leader and chief of surveillance ,,,,,all elected by the members of the block,,,unanimously!!!!.

    Each person living in that street, older than 15 years, had to be a member of the CDR, otherwise would be classified as enemy of the revolution.

    They were in charge of the meetings listed for Castro, to read, study , analyze and support, all his speeches, ideas, etc,etc,,,,,mandatorily !!!!!.

    They were in charge of organize watchkeepers every day, 365 days a year, the block should get a permanent guard of 4 persons divided in two groups, one group form 10 PM to 12 AM (the women ) and a second group from 12 Am to 6 AM (the men),watching anything that happened on that street every day,,,,,is you were coming late, o with who you were coming, accompanied by this or that, if there was a fight in a house whose screams were heard , or if somebody brings me drunk or dressed in one way or another,,,,,anything,,,anything,,,any detail will be considered and maintained by the CDR’s records, to report, or inform it to the police or any other Government organization each time that they needed to know about you, your loyalty,,,etc,,,,the CDR’s report would be enough testimony to send anybody to jail, or to be killed, or simply, to be marginalized for ever an ever!!!!!.

    This organization brought the terror, the snitching, the monitoring to each house hold of the Cuban people,,,,,,people watched each other, brothers watching brothers, parents watching children, friends watching friends,,etc,,,,there was not limit,,,to watch !!!!!

    Today, the CDR is a “hot potato”, that nobody wants, because steals, everybody violates the laws, therefore the members of the CDR and its leaders are “criminals” in the eyes of the Cuban Law!!!!.

    Resume:Those Social Workers, are another step that Castro needed in his survival process to keep the terror, the panic, in his cruel, abusive and oppressive regime that lasted more than 50 years!!!!


  9. Sounds like a mix of the sadistic Hitler Youth and SS Waffen. Back when the Castro dynasty was better capable of studying and learning, they must’ve read “Main Kampf” (Adolf Hitler’s book outlining his plan of action) from beginning to end.

    Trouble is, at the end of World War II, both, the Hitler youth and the SS were begging for food and mercy from American and Russian soldiers. In the case of Cuba, these Children of the Coma-andante have now met an early demise without anyone dropping so much as a BB pellet. We must thank the cobweb of errors and problems the dynasty creates, and in which they themselves get tangled.

    If it wasn’t for the hardships they cause, it would be like watching a slap-stick comedy show. Not to worry, they’ll join the three stooges in comedy heaven soon where they can continue to practice their art.

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