We become used to the inflated figures, the secrecy when something goes wrong, and a gross domestic product that never reflects the contents of our pockets. For decades the economic reports have had the ability to hide, through pages filled with numbers and analysis, the seriousness of the problems. Among those qualified in the inexact science of finance, there were some, such as Oscar Espinosa Chepe, who dared to unmask the falsity of certain numbers and who were punished with the “pajama plan” of unemployment and disgrace.
This week my reading of the serious and well-argued analysis published by Father Boris Moreno in New Word, the magazine of the Havana Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, has increased my anxiety about the collapse we are heading into. With the suggestive title, “Whence the Cuban ship? A look at the economic environment,” the author warns us of a fall – a nosedive – in the material and financial state of the Island. Words that should terrify us, if not for the fact that our ears have become somewhat impervious to bad news about plunges in productivity and shortages
I agree with this holder of a Master’s degree in Economic Science that the first and most important step is “the government’s formal commitment to recognize the ability of all citizens to express their opinions without reprisals of any kind. We should eliminate in our environment the labels that restrict the exchange of ideas and opinions.” After reading this, I imagine my neighbor, a retired accountant, openly expressing his views about the need to allow private enterprise, without this earning him a repudiation rally in front of his door. It takes work to project something like this, I know, but I cherish the idea that some day – without fear that they will be accused of being “mercenaries in the pay of a foreign power” – thousands will express their ideas and propose solutions. What enormous capital Cuba would recover!
While the coffers are not going to be filled solely by proposals and reasoning, our experience tells us that voluntarism and exclusions have only contributed to emptying them.