From Milk to the Parapets

With the mass stampede of foreign investors, the store shelves show the real statistics of our finances. My mother called early to tell me there is toilet paper in a distant market; she said I should hurry because word was already out and it soon would be gone. I go out looking to the right and left like a fan, to see if there is any kind of juice to put in Teo’s cup for the morning. But the shortage of supplies is remarkable. Río Zaza brand Tetra Paks have disappeared from the shops; the former joint venture that produced them is now mired in a corruption scandal. The black market has collapsed; it’s no secret to anyone that it is fed by the diversion of resources from the factories and the theft of goods while in transport to the shops.

Even the most patient foreign entrepreneurs, like the Spanish who ran the outstanding firm Vima*, have packed their bags and gone home. The consortium between the perfume maker Suchel and the Iberian capital provided by Camacho has come to an end and in the absence of dyes my friends are showing their grey hairs. The time when the country bought first and paid later is over, now we are carrying so much debt it is difficult to attract capital or to buy on credit. The effects of the crisis are felt strongly in everyday life, with the price of soap 30% more than it was a year ago. The housewives scratch their heads faced with the skillet, while shouting that the wages go like water once paid at the end of the month. Not even those blessed by a remittance received from abroad or the skilled traders in the informal market have it easy.

Few remember now that speech from three years ago in Camagüey, where Raul Castro suggested the possibility of a glass of milk for every Cuban. Quite the contrary, the words he delivered last Sunday have brought us trenches, parapets and apocalyptic images of an Island sinking into the sea. Chasing the elusive food, we have little time to reflect on what was said at the Palace of Conventions, but his Numantian* threats hang over us. Interpreted literally, they portend that we can expect a foxhole surrounded by sandbags, a rifle to shoot we do not know whom, with the final bullet in the chamber to be used on ourselves. Meanwhile, the General will stand firmly at his post and check, from a distance, that no one breaches the final order of immolation.

Translator’s notes:
Vima: Food importer which supplied hotels and state-run businesses.
Numantian: Search on “the siege of Numantia” for background; in short, the Numantines chose to burn their city rather than surrender it to the Romans.

59 thoughts on “From Milk to the Parapets

  1. A long tractade, essentially revolving around what you too are recognising: “Cuba needs to start a debate”

    Exactly my point. Cuba. Not the world for Cuba. Cuba alone. Internally. We should all step back and let them sort their way forward out. We should only encourage and support the peaceful and legal approach to that debate.

  2. Trudeau, I went through all that with my own country. Jugoslavija was by far more developed than Cuba is today. We had all the freedom in the world. We had the rate of development captalist countries can only dream of. Or emulate by doing the only thing capital can, to make itself appear to be prosperous – selling off its’ natural richness, either real estate or mineral resources. Or both. And we were under similar blockade pressure just for being that successful. Allbeit, our blockage was more subtle and under the radar.

    It was the “intellectuals”, “dissidents”, the “political alternative” tah was doing exactly what Yoani’s cronies are doing. Presenting the facts and events in such a way that the foreign media, all just a bunch of capitalist apparatchiks, had the opportunities coming form everywhere to bullshit about “evils of communism”, “grave economic situatuion” and all that nonsense, just like the one about Cuba.

    In doing so, they raised the profile of internal, essentially the enemies of Jugoslavija, terrorist elements who were hellbent on starting an armed “revolution for freedom”. You all know how did our “liberation” from evil communism end. And if you look at the individualrepublic, you will notice that not one of our 6 federal republics is even close to the economic level they had in 1990 when the fucking retarded right-wingers, supported by capitalists from all over the NATO who-is-who list (guns, training and money) Came to “liberate” us from our “oppression”.

    And economies are drowningfurther, plagued by the sinergy between the crude western capitalism and its’ criminal component. Our presidents/prime ministers ar all involved deeply in whatever the local mafias are doing, corruption we never knew about is the only way to anywhere, if you aren’t in the circle, you are nobody going down. The real face of the wesxtern “democratic” capitalism has surfaced in Jugoslavian disintegration. Just look what and who is shaking the things in EU “parliament”. How people get the high positions, and simply follow their trajectories and contacts. Every single one will cross the paths with at least two of Jugoslav republics leaders.

    Capitalism is one huge criminal organisation, with tentacles spread all over the world like a malign cancer that is beyond operation.

    So, when Yoani and her “friends” are ramping up the international opinion for their “cause” I see just another repetition of the already old and tested recipe for anohter “freedom” bringing “revolution. This is not a honest recount of what is the problem some Yoani would have in Cuba. This is another foreign-orchestrated “voice from the darkness” kind of bullshit straight from CIA/NSA subversion for beginners books. ANd the only goal is to reach the critical mass of the public opinion to justify a support or even outright military invasion on Cuba.

    We’ve been through all that in Jugoslavija, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venzuela recently, during the anti-Chavez putch, and elsewhere so many times, if you are still buying that shit, you are either one of their supporters and all for more wars to satisfy some unnatural desires, or you are naive (you as a collective – anyone reading this, not you personally Trudeau).

    Hence, I am a priory against this blog and everything it supposedly stands for. And if Yoani is genuine in her sentiment, then she is a naive victim of the people who will dispose of her once their objectives are met, or fail.

    But Yoani behind this web crap is not a naive person. She and her team are a well organised and orchestrated propaganda bullshit, skillfully distorting the picture of Cuba. Fully conscious of their work and effect they may have both out and in side of Cuba.

    As I said in a previous post, even though the usa is falling apart from its’ internal economic implosion (some good is the capitalism, falling apart every few years), but no one is jumping to arms to change the system that is opressing so many people in so many ways. Instead the changes a re coming, slowly, through the system.

    Legally. Peacefully. Evlutionary rather than revolutionary. The system is changed through the lessons learned and in a legal way. Not exactly by the power or the will of its’ people, given the many protests from left and right, but at least peacefully.

    WHat this blog is aiming at is not going to be peacefully, if it happens. If she wanted a change, she would try and make the difference through her country’s system. Build the fundations for changes she thinks should be made. Educate people and use the power of the system itself to make the steps forward. Telling to the world how are the things in Cuba is not constructive. It is destructive way of bringing the change about.

    And it reveals her/their real intentions.

    Even in the absence of the war, if people like this change the system in Cuba, the losers will, again – as always – be the people of Cuba.

    As it has happened so many times in the past, in other parts of the world. Our time alone is full of examples how that approach has failed and how ill fared the people who were to benefit from those foreign-instigated changes.

  3. Damir,

    Your position seems to be clarifying. To paraphrase: you admit that Castro is a disastrous as an economist (perhaps only Che was worse) and that he is a paranoiac who has turned the island into a giant prison. You also believe that violence is no solution, and that change must come from within. On all this we agree. Why, then, the hostility to Yoani Sanchez ? You see her only as a foreign-supported agent-provocateur. If you read her, you will not find a an extreme right=winger, but someone who is seeking a just society, a civil society. Her position is largely critical, but her wish seems to reform Cuban society. Yet you harbor paranoid fantasies about her. Cuba needs to start a debate, not simply to brand all criticism as inspired by the CIA.

  4. According to marxism intellectuals are the ones that make commodities of the ideologies they produce & then offer themselves for hire to the real social classes whose ideologies they formulate & whose intelligence they will become.
    marx believed that intellectuals aim to universalise their ideologies, turn them around & expose the partiality of those ideologies.
    In the same hand the ideologe is the entity that makes the intellectual’s postulation come to reality.

    So while I agree fully with the statement about the use of brute force … I find myself confused
    1) about the freedom & prosperity part … after 50+ years where is cuba’s?
    2) I think your use of the terms ideology & intellectual are suspect need review.

    After reading the begining of this comment … for the “what is worth” it was a group of intellectuals that brought cuba to where it is today.
    It was the ideologes that carried the intellectual thoughts into today’s cuban reality.
    With them rests their intrancigency and refusal of change.

  5. Trudeau, 37 it is. Most of the cubans complaining about the Cuba and Castros are from Miami, or elsewhere, as I did say “elsewhere” as well because you could be from anywhere in the world. Like Canada. And mya or may not be Cuban at all…

    There are only a few non-Cubans that will raise the voice against Castros mostly because that puts them in the same basket with the Miami’s ultras.

    Also, civilised people nowadays are against the violence and wars. There’s got to be a better way. Legal. If I wanted to change a capitalism in Italy, a revolution would be most certainly received with a counteraction. Even if I manage to mobilize the half of Italy (which would not be a hard thing to do given the state of the economy and politics…) there would still be state’s armed forces to deal with.

    The same applies to Cuba.

    yes, Fidel is a horrible president from economical point of view, and his paranoias about another war are turning the country into a prison. But overthrowing the system is not what is needed. People need to use the system to turn it around and change it from within.

    It may turn out to be easier option than it looks. Changes are slowly happening. The travel of thousand kilometres starts with one saml step. Instread of bullshitting, and a lot and with incredible dose of stupidity that majority of dissidents have, intellect is what is needed to make progress.

    It always was, it always will be. Only intellectual effort brings the progress. Brute force approach only brings wars, bloodshed, horror, regression. It took over 50 years for capitalism to start making modest progress after they took over through bloody revolutions from the feudalists.

    How traumatic would be for everyone if these primates in Miami have it their way and move into Cuba with arms?

    Look what happened to Jugoslavia in 1991. “freedom” came with 240 000 dead or missing, people divided forever and local economies still today unable to recover from the war for “freedom and democracy”. German TV2 interviewed samples of Jugoslavs across the ex territory and 90% said that it was better in socialist Jugoslavia. They were safer, had more and lived better lives.

    They will recover, eventually, but how long will it take for “freedom and prosperity” to arrive? Jugoslavia was by far more developed than Cuba and people enjoyed all freedoms known to man, and still destroyed themselves stupid to replace one ideology with another.

    Nothing good ever comes from violence. And majority of those spewing hatred for current situation in cuba are ideologically motivated, not intellectually. Just read the comments in the spanish section. If worde could explode, the whole internet would have been blown to pieces.

    Those are the idiots that motivate me to say what I see and think. For a bit of balance in this madness that these idiots are creating here.

  6. Since you asked:

    “You can bullshit to your little Cuba there in Florida somewhere, but you cannot play that primitive manipulative game with me.”

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