Linguistic Reforms

We will never yield to blackmail from any country or group of nations no matter how powerful they may be.

We will never yield to blackmail from any country or group of nations no matter how powerful they may be, come what may!

Don’t worry, reader, this article isn’t about what you think it is. It’s not a call from the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language to expedite the process of accepting new terms, nor even a demand to reduce the complexity of Spanish spelling. None of that. It’s been quite a while since I hung up the robes of a philologist, and I now understand more about bytes than syllables, more about tweets than conjugations. I am speaking, rather, of those peculiar twists used in Cuba to describe economic, political and social phenomena. The “reforms” that we are experiencing seem to be happening more in the field of linguistics and semantics than in concrete reality. I will offer up some examples… don’t despair.

In our country there has been a call to “update the socialist model” through measures that are simply adding elements of a market economy to the system. What is called “self-employment” is known in other parts of the world as the “private sector.” Nor are the unemployed designated with the corresponding word, but rather given the label of “available workers,” a very smooth way to describe the drama of unemployment. In hospitals, when they greatly reduce the number of X-ray and ultrasound technicians, it’s explained as a chance to “enhance the clinical diagnosis.” Which, translated into a truthful statement, means that the doctor must discover with her eyes and her hands everything from a fracture to an internal hemorrhage.

In the official discourse, popular frustration with the reforms is simply a sign of “misunderstanding and indiscipline.” If, in addition, this disagreement leads to protests in the street, then the participants are neither “outraged,” nor “proletarians demanding their rights,” but rather “mercenaries” and “counterrevolutionaries.” On this Island, the expression “the people” is one of the many pseudonyms for the powers-that-be, so you can imagine the confusion this often creates. When you read, “by the decision of a sovereign people…” or “with the participation of all the people,” you can substitute for the subject in each of these phrases “the Communist Party.” Nor can the cholera epidemic be mentioned by its seven letters, because the newspaper Granma has already coined the phrase “an illness of acute diarrhea.” And those impoverished neighborhoods that stretch around the periphery of the city, don’t even think of calling them favelas or slums! They are, in the distorted semantics surrounding us, “low-income communities.”

I don’t understand anything and neither do you. A meta language has taken over our lives and no word is what it seems. But trust me, reader, and “don’t worry yourself,” which is just the way we say every day that “the situation is worrisome.”

105 thoughts on “Linguistic Reforms

  1. Come on team “yoani”, if you are posting the photo above, wwhy not post the photo of the invitations to general public to participate in the political process and nominate or be nominated in the recent municipal elections!!!

    These papers were posted everywhere.

    If you want. I can send you some photos taken in La Habana this past September!!!

    Be objective and, since you calim to be some kind of pragmatic “journalists”, report the facts, not your personal delusional and grossly failed ideological histeria.

    Shift, am I an optimist… The team “yoani” being objective…!!

    The end of the world will come before that happens!!!!

  2. The 50 year old trade embargo must remain intact,and as a matter of fact, it should be intensified. In order to fully eradicate
    Cuba’s communist regime, one must never relinquish one’s true ideological vision,for such an effort will contribute to the rapid demise of such an obsolete repressive apparatus. Furthermore, the term “happy Jew” entails a derogatory connotation. Without any reservation, I hereby manifest my unconditional support for the state of Israel, our true ally in the fight against those left-leaning Arabs who have always
    supported Fidel Castro.

    Pedro Luis Boitel

  3. Nobody gives a toss what you say, the person who calls himself “Damir” (we know that’s not your real name) because you are a non entity, a barking mad nutjob whose pathetic snarls will be lost in the mist of time.

  4. Ok, I understand. The team “yoani” ARE a bunch of cowarsd and do not want to answer the questions I ask of htem. The truth is simple and well known. their delusional ideological bullshift propaganda is contrary to the truth, and we all know that.

    Hence, they drop shift and then run and hide, in CUBA mind you – safety and security without comparison in the world – why risk making even bigger fools of yourself, right?

    Yet, the silence does exactly that, even if you do not want it.

    Here, the New York times shows the photo of healthy and happy jew, resting comfortably in a CUBAN prison.

  5. The silence is the sign of approval and agreement.

    Damir has always claimed that the team “yoani” and their 1 and a half pioneer brigade of supporter(s) adore Castros, and they are their idols.

    To date not a single voice of denial.

    In fact, they intentionally avoid responding to that single one claim.

    Because it is true.

    The delusional team of usanian wannabe terrorists and small time crimsons from the sewages of miami call Castros dictators.

    And adore them!!!!

    Must be true what the old addage says then. Each to his own.

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