Baby Ounces

He has sewn a double lining into the bottom of his pants. Big enough to hold the milk powder he sneaks out of the factory. So far he’s never had any problems, but every now and then they bring in a new guard and he avoids taking anything home for a few days. His work at the Dairy Complex has never been professionally interesting to him, but he wouldn’t exchange it for any other. To his place as a packer he owes his daughter’s quinceañero celebration, the new roof on his house, the motorbike he rides around the city. He has a job envied by many. An occupation someone with just a sixth grade education can do, but one coveted by academics, experts and even scientists. It’s a workplace where you can steal something.

Ingenuity and illegality are combined when it comes time to make a living. Hoses rolled up under a shirt carry alcohol out of the distilleries. Cigar rollers calculate when the security camera looks away to slip a cigar under the desk. Bakers add extra yeast to make the dough rise disproportionately so they can resell the flour. Taxi drivers are experts in fiddling with the meter; clerks steal a little bit from each tube of liquid detergent; farmers add a few small stones to each bag of beans… so they weigh more. Creativity in the quest of embezzling the State and the customer stretches across the island.

However, of all the elaborate and clever ways to “struggle” that I have known, there is one that stands out as remarkable. I heard it from a friend who gave birth to an underweight baby at the Havana maternity hospital. Both the child and the mother had to stay in the medical center until the baby gained almost a pound. The process was slow and the new mother was desperate to go home. The bathroom had no water, the food was terrible, and every day her family had to make great sacrifices to bring her meals and clean clothes. To top it off, my friend looked at the other low birthweight babies and they were putting on ounces rapidly. She expressed her desperation to another patient who responded, laughing, “Boy, are you stupid! You don’t know that the nurse sells the ounces?” That lady in the white coat who walked the halls every morning charged for entering a higher weight into the medical record. She was selling non-existent baby ounces. What a business!

After hearing that story, nothing surprises me any more, I am never shocked by the many ways in which Cubans “struggle” for survival.

48 thoughts on “Baby Ounces

  1. Corruption is widespread, workers steal from the government enterprises where they work, bribing their bosses to get the goods out of the workplace and resell them in the black market.

    There is a high degree of corruption, fraud and public use of funds by the party apparatchiks. Managers of state enterprises divert good to sell on the black market. In June 2011, fifteen top executives of Cubana de Aviación were sentenced to prison for fraud. In April the vice president of Habanos S.A. and 10 others employees were under arrest for selling cigars illegally to foreign distributors. Pedro Alvarez, former head of Alimport, under investigation for corruption, escaped from the island in late December 2010.

  2. Nick,

    Happy Sunday to you too!

    I missed your previous post, but I see that Neutral Observer has more than adequately dealt with it.

    You don’t have any proof to support your biological warfare conspiracy theories. Nada. And now you want me to condemn something that didn’t happen?

    Ok, if that makes you happy, sure, but I thought I already did that. Here goes, just for you — I condemn all biological warfare. Oink, Oink!

  3. And to wrap up the lunacy report:

    There is no evidence of a swine flu epidemic in Cuba greater than in other Caribbean countries.

    Castro decided to kill 500,000 pigs, that’s all. Swine flu is a typically non-lethal disease, and, you guessed it, is very common in swine. Many pigs in neighboring countries also had swine flu, but the pigs were treated with rest and recreation, not mass slaughter. Castro doesn’t have to answer to pig farmers.

    Nick mentioned another lunatic conspiracy theory, something called Operation Northwoods. Which he incorrectly stated was some CIA plan for false flag operations. His logic is… if the US government would do so-and-so (which they would never do), then they must be capable of an evil swine flu conspiracy.

    Actually, the CIA had nothing to do with Northwoods. It was a lunatic proposal originating outside the CIA that was immediately dismissed by the government and its CIA advisers. The people who signed off on the proposal were removed from their posts.

    One of the reasons the US government never engages in false-flag operations is they know the public will find out.

    Even at the height of cold-war lunacy, a US administration would never be lunatic enough to engage in an Operation Northwoods.

    The US government documents all lunatic proposals from its employees, there are millions of employees, and some of them are lunatics.

    To its credit, the US government makes such information public and is open to criticism.

    Now Che Guevara and Fidel Castro really did want to carry out a nuclear first strike against the USA. Bother of them admitted it and recent evidence from the ex Soviet Union shows that the Soviets thought they were both lunatics.

    Luckily for us all, the Soviet leaders weren’t so insane.

    And unlike the swine flue conspiracy, we do have traceable sources for Cuba using chemical weapons in Angola. Witnesses to torture in Cuban prions, to the murder of dissidents, etc.

    But in the cult of Castro, all evidence for Castro’s misdeeds should be ignored. All non-existent evidence that Castro is good and the USA is evil should be believed.

  4. To answer Nick’s lunatic question, Hank has already condemned biological warfare in his previous responses. If Nick takes the time to read and think, he will see that such condemnation is implied.

    I too would condemn any act of biological warfare, whatever the source. I have condemned the US government for many lunatic acts in the past and will do so again.

    The first big question is why Nick believes in conspiracy theories for which there is not a shred of evidence?

    I made an attempt to track down Nick’s lunatic theory. There are no traceable sources for his swine flu conspiracy. It seems to have originated in the mind of Castro or one of his well-wishers, and then repeated by leftist conspiracy quacks.

    Out of the many thousands of ex-CIA agents who were spies for Cuba or the Soviet Union or simply sympathizers with Castro, or simply hated Nixon, or simply would have been revolted by any plot to engage in biological warfare by their government…

    Exactly zero have come forward with evidence of a swine flu conspiracy.

    And the chance of that happening is zero.

    As is the chance that Castro wouldn’t have named any names of people involved in the plot, given his super-duper spy service that knows everything and can save Castro from “hundreds of assassination attempts”, another of Nick’s lunatic conspiracy theories, which all contradict each other.

  5. 2nd point:

    I have met Cuban academics, engineers and scientists who have told me they covet jobs where theft would earn them more money.

    In fact, I have met many who quit their academic low-theft jobs and got jobs in the hotel and taxi industries and in blue-collar jobs where theft earns them more money.

    I met former scientists, engineers and academics working as taxi drivers, waiters, night watchmen, cashiers, hotel desk clerks, maintenance men, cooks, etc.

    Hmm, I wonder why?

    Of course there are also academic jobs where the academic can steal. Or do some other private business, like tutoring, to earn extra cash, but Yoani didn’t say ALL academics envy the packing job. Her sentence implies a considerable number of them do though.

    And it is a very realistic description of Cuban economic life.

  6. Nick,

    Instead of providing a single shred of evidence that the US introduced the swine flu into Cuba, Nick asks Hank to condemn a conspiracy for which there is not a shred of evidence.

    Talk about lunacy.

    Nick, please swear that if Fidel Castro invented AIDS as a plot to bring down the US government, you will condemn that terrible act.

  7. A job as a packer is ‘coveted by academics, experts and even scientists’ ????
    Huge over exaggeration.
    I have met a couple of scientists in Cuba and several academics (not quite sure what is meant by an ‘expert’).
    During the course of my various conversations with these people I can recall that many subjects were touched upon (including by pure coincidence, the subject of swine flu).
    However I am straining my memory here to recall any one single occasion where any of these people expressed a desire to be a packer.

    I suggest that saying “A job as a packer is coveted by academics, experts and even scientists” is effective in illustrating the point that is being made, but is in fact, a very big over-exaggeration.

  8. I shall ask you once more Hank.
    Here is the question again:
    ‘….am I to understand that if it were to be admitted that US taxpayers money has been used for the attempted spreading of pig poison, would this not meet with your approval Hank??
    Am I to infer from your comments that you would not condone such actions???’

  9. Hank,
    Go to the top right hand corner of this page.
    Click on ‘previous’.
    Third to last comment.
    This is where I address your concern regarding pig flu.
    I showed you the courtesy of a full reply.
    I finished the reply with a question.
    A question which you have not been able to answer.

  10. Our Daily Bread: Stolen Today

    Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen
    Posted on October 4 , 2013


    HAVANA, Cuba, October, http://www.cubanet.org – Part of the population of Guanabo, east of Havana, spent two days without bread — an essential food in the current Cuban diet — being available off the ration book, because of a quarrel among bakers, including injuries and the breaking of the gas lines to the ovens, which needed to be repaired and interrupted production.

    “Several police officers quelled the war between the bakers. The injured were treated at the polyclinic. It was learned through statements from the contenders that the fight started because some bakers stole wheat flour from others,” says Isabel Torres, a customer who couldn’t buy any bread because the fight broke out just as she arrived.

    But the flour didn’t belong to anyone but the State bakery, just like the oil, salt, yeast, fuel, the ovens, and even the water, though these ingredients are often appropriated. Corrupt practices extend to almost all bakeries — not to be absolute — including the illicit sale of the flour and oil.

    What was the private reason for the conflict?

    Continuous reading here: http://translatingcuba.com/our-daily-bread-stolen-today-reinaldo-emilio-cosano-alen/

    The book “Corruption in Cuba” says that “As in other former socialist countries, when given opportunity, few citizens hesitate to steal from the government. Since the bulk of the productive resources are owned and managed by the state and the vast majority of Cubans work for state-owned enterprises, these petty crimes are widespread

  11. Nick,

    I’ve searched for evidence that might support your claim that the United States introduced Swine Flu and other diseases into Cuba. That’s what you said in the last thread. I cannot find any evidence that would support your claim.

    Could you please tell us what evidence you are relying upon to support your allegation?

    Courteously yours,
    Hank

  12. Ah…Chairman Mao, another stellar example of an oppressor. Why am I not surprised?

    He was so successful, that millions starved to death under his watch.

    That’s right, better to establish a clear dividing line between “them” and “us.” Divide and conquer!

    Perhaps the persecuted on this blog can band together and start a dictator of the month book club. You could read all the classics, and then discuss amongst yourselves what your favorite dictator would do to such low life scum as welfare cheats in the US and UK, who might want just a little extra so they can provide a Christmas present for their kid, or, horror of horrors, how to deal with those thieving Cubans who pilfer, here and there, from work so that they can supplement their slave wages.

    Off with their heads!!!

    You could also earn your “morality police” badges. What lovely fun.

  13. Nick,

    they call you ignorant, they call you an “ordained minister in the cult of Castro”.

    I can only congratulate you on this and even envy you a little.
    I am reading Mao Tse Tung’s “Red Book” and this is what he says:

    QUOTE:
    I think if we, being an individual person, party or school, are not attacked by the enemy, it is a bad thing, because it means clearly, we found ourselves in the same pond of mud with him.

    But if we are attacked by an enemy, it is very good, as it evidences that we have established a clear dividing line between him and us.

    If the enemy attacked us fiercely and shows us in the darkestlight as a people deprived of any virtue, that’s even better, because it proves that we have not only established a clear division between him and us, but we have also been very successful on the job.

  14. Now let’s just take a look at Yoani’s alleged over-exaggerations, according to Nick:

    “To his place as a packer he owes his daughter’s quinceañero celebration, the new roof on his house, the motorbike he rides around the city. He has a job envied by many. An occupation someone with just a sixth grade education can do, but one coveted by academics, experts and even scientists.’

    Great post, but Yoani, some pretty large over-exaggerations going on in these three sentences.
    Try keeping it real.
    Or at least a bit more real than this.

    Bless your heart.”

    Um…the first sentence merely states that his salary, or what he has been able to supplement it with by filching on the job, has paid for his daughter’s party, his new roof, and his motorcycle. Just a statement of fact and I don’t see any “over-exaggeration” here.

    “He has a job envied by many. An occupation someone with just a sixth grade education can do, but one coveted by academics, experts and even scientists.’

    Again, no “over-exaggeration.” Doctors, engineers, etc. moonlight as cab drivers and waiters in Cuba. That is beyond pathetic.

  15. Nick, the guy who believes the CIA introduced swine flu into Cuba, without being able to offer the slightest hint of a shadow of a glimmer of one piece of evidence, comes onto this blog to accuse Yoani of exaggeration.

    Interesting piece of lunacy.

    Actually, this post just repeats what every Cuban in Cuba will tell you.

    Which is that almost all Cubans steal on the job. That everything is for sale in Cuba.

    Because of Castro’s revolutionary medical system, doctors and nurses routinely steal from and even murder their patients.

    Unless you’re a tourist, well-connected or pay them a bribe, you’ll wait forever before a Cuban doctor will treat you.

    If Mazorra happened in a capitalist country, there would be huge outcry from the likes of Nick, who would call for an international investigation into Cuba’s medical system. Mazorra would be brought up in every post as proof of the depth of Cuba’s corruption.

    But because these things happen in Cuba, they are ignored and covered up.

    Long live the lunatic cult of Castro!!!

  16. That’s some amazing detective work there, Marabu. The US embargo hurts Cuba’s pocketbook? That’s the point. I wonder how Spain funded anything in Cuba prior to the existence of Paypal?

  17. U.S. embargo deprives cultural sector of millions: Cuba

    HAVANA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) — The U.S.-led economic embargo against Cuba cost the island’s cultural institutions 12.7 million U.S. dollars in losses in the past year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ministry of Culture.

    The report said Washington’s embargo hinders normal cultural exchanges between Cuba and other countries by listing some examples.

    In 2012, U.S. company PayPal, which facilitates payments via the internet, placed restrictions on the account of a Spanish company to prevent its financing for Cuban cultural projects, saying the funding would violate regulations imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

    Read more:
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/business/2013-10/02/c_132768262.htm

  18. ‘ignorant attempt at humor !!!’
    That’s a bit strong Trevor.
    I understand exactly the point of Yoani’s posts thanks.
    I like them.
    That’s why I read them.
    There is both a lot of truth and a lot of exaggeration in the most recent one.

  19. MIAMI HERALD: Reconciliation among Cubans is needed, will be difficult – by Juan Tamayo

    Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits are closer than ever but true reconciliation requires justice for past abuses. And while economic engagement is a good way to ease Havana’s fears of change, the benefits should not go only to the island’s ruling elites.

    Those were some of the many opinions voiced Friday at a Miami conference on Cuban reconciliation that featured speakers from the island and Miami as well as Germany and its former communist twin, the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

    People in the mostly Cuban-American audience of about 150 nodded in agreement or sighed in reproach as the speakers noted the benefits and pitfalls of reconciliation, largely as reflected by the reunification of West Germany and the GDR after the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989.

    Cuban families on the island and in South Florida have increasingly overcome their political distance in recent times and now “this is a completely different community” said Marifeli Perez-Stable, a top Cuba analyst at Florida International University.

    But reconciliation is not easy, warned both Dieter Dettke, a professor at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University, and Günter Nooke, a dissident in the GDR and later human rights commissioner in reunified Germany.

    True rapprochement requires both forgiveness and justice but not revenge, said Dettke, noting that after the GDR’s collapse, 246 of its top officials were indicted for various abuses. About half of them were found not guilty, he added.

    For reconciliation “you need to have a sinner who regrets,” said Nooke, who also noted that the German government had agreed after reunification to pay reparations to the victims of the GDR’s notoriously harsh security apparatus, the STASI.

    Dagoberto Valdes, a lay Catholic activist and magazine editor from western Pinar del Rio province, said reconciliation among all Cubans on the island and abroad will require truth, justice, forgiveness, inclusion and an education in civic ethics, among several factors.

    Asked if he would negotiate with current government officials, Valdes said yes, at the proper time, under the proper legal framework and with all the required pieces on the table.

    “Without forgiveness, communism wins,” he added.

    The “Second Conference on Reconciliation and Change: The German Experience,” at Miami Dade College was sponsored by MDC; FIU’s Cuban Research Institute; and the Cuba Study Group, a centrist non-government organization headed by businessman Carlos Saladrigas.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/04/3670152/reconciliation-among-cubans-is.html

  20. GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT OUR Yasiel Puig FUACATAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAINST THE ATLANTA BRAVES YESTERDAY! LOTS OF SPORTS WRITERS HAD TO EAT THEIR WORDS IN THEIR CEREAL THIS MORNING! AND THE CASTRO “GOVERMENT” STILL HAS NOT MENTION ANYTHING IN THEIR PRESS ABOUT HIS ACHIEVEMENTS! WHAT ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF? WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS Marabu & Nick! YOU BOTH ARE OUR “EXPERTS” ON CUBA AND CUBAN ISSUES! WAITING ON BATIED BREATH DEARS!

    L.A. TIMES: It’s Yasiel Puig who unnerves Braves, energizes Dodgers – In Game 1 of an NL division series, L.A.’s enigmatic young outfielder allows a rusty Clayton Kershaw to find himself and his team to catch its playoff breath. – by Bill Plaschke
    The Dodgers rookie stormed into his first postseason Thursday night at Turner Field with the wild swings, crazy sprints, bold throws, and a smiling swagger. The Atlanta Braves tried to harness him, then challenge him, then, finally, they shrugged their weary shoulders and hit him. By the time the game was two innings old, he already had intimidated the Braves pitcher, bewitched their center fielder, enraged their fans and put a crooked number on their scoreboard. By the time it ended, the enigmatic, enchanting 22-year-old kid had laughed in the face of baseball’s most pressurized month, waltzed around the team with baseball’s best home record, and inspired the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory in the opener of the National League division series. After which, he put his cap on backward, blew kisses to the crowd, and threw an uppercut to his critics.

    But after he silenced the whiny chants of more than 40,000 fans waving foam tomahawks Thursday night while allowing a rusty Clayton Kershaw to find himself and allowing his teammates to catch their first playoff breaths, it was clear there are times when his good can spectacularly overshadow the bad.

    The madness was just beginning. Schumaker lofted a fly ball to shallow center field that Heyward caught with what should have been a reasonable chance of throwing out Puig at home plate. But this was Puig. And Heyward had no chance. Yet he futilely threw home anyway and, in doing so, allowed Uribe to sneak to second base, from where he scored on A.J. Ellis’ bloop double to left field out of the outstretched glove of lunging Evan Gattis.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-1004-plaschke-dodgers-20131004,0,3626136.column

  21. Trevor,

    For your information, Marabu might be an employee of the Cuban government. He has practically admitted as much.

    He doesn’t even know where he lives, you think he’ll engage in rational debate?

    The other guy you’re talking to is an ordained minister in the cult of Castro. He’s now equating poor hungry Cubans with welfare recipients in Britain, who are given 100 times or more in free money what an average Cuban worker slaves for each month.

    On our last visit we went into a tiny room housing three generations of Cubans. They were all going hungry and we had to feed the kids.

    If any one of them went out to protest, Nick would accuse them of being CIA agents and cheer on the police who beat and jail them.

  22. Marabu, You’re waaaaay out of your league here. You don’t have the intellectual capacity to post rational arguments. Instead, you post garbage that has nothing to do with the argument at hand. Why don’t you stop embarrassing yourself, take some time off, learn to spell, actually visit Cuba, then come back and see if you can contribute something useful. Castro apologists like you , especially those who have never been to Cuba, and don’t even know which country they, themselves live in, are pathetic.

  23. Nick, your ignorant attempt at humor with the twins story link really shows that you entirely miss the point of Yoani’s posts.

  24. Saudi Arabian law? Major LOL. Who, in their right mind, would ever want to emulate Saudi Arabian law?

    Proposition 36 has absolutely no bearing on this conversation:

    California Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000, was an initiative statute that permanently changed state law to allow qualifying defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to receive a probationary sentence in lieu of incarceration. As a condition of probation defendants are required to participate in and complete a licensed and/or certified community drug treatment program. If the defendant fails to complete this program or violates any other term or condition of their probation, then probation can be revoked and the defendant may be required to serve an additional sentence which may include incarceration.

    What a dumb comparison.

    Three strikes law? Let’s see, repeat after me, ONE, TWO, THREE. That’s three, not “we send you to prison for a year, or more, for stealing some flour. Again, absolutely nothing to do with the argument at hand.

  25. There you go, and I quote: “Either you go hungry or you send the baker who steals from you to jail.” There is no in between. Like I said, an extreme view, from someone who is blessed not to have to live like a Cuban.

  26. Have you guys never heard of three strikes law?
    Never about Saudi Arabian law?
    Never about Proposition 36 in California?

    Cuban government is too mild on crime, that’s it. Cubans want to eat bread as Saudi Arabians but to treat their thieves as Mother Theresa would.

    This will never work. Either you go hungry or you send the baker who steals from you to jail.

  27. Yes, actually, Marabu’s comments are extreme. A year , or more, in prison for stealing flour to survive? That doesn’t constitute an extreme view, in your opinion? In a previous post, he recommended the death penalty for something equally as innocuous in Cuba. That’s extreme and ignorant.

  28. Marabu’s comments are extreme???
    Not extreme like some of the comments of certain other people here……….

  29. Yeah boy, there’s a new sheriff in town, the morality police, those who are concerned about a little bit of an extra claim on welfare so that a child could have a Christmas present, or a little workplace filching amongst Cubans so that they can make their lives a little better.

    I don’t hear any complaints about the morality, or lack thereof, of the Castro dictatorship.

  30. Nick, Your friend Marabu is just as extreme in his views as any tea party type. That was my point. But I never see you admonishing his views on this site.

  31. Trevor
    How about someone who fraudulently claims extra welfare benefit in UK or USA?
    So they can buy their kid a Christmas present the same as all the other kids get.
    Where is the right and wrong or morality in that?

  32. Trevor,
    To answer the other part of your question.
    By the letter of the law, people who steal from work are thieves.
    In fact I have a very, very dear friend who was caught stealing from work and found himself in a lot of trouble.
    It is a big polemic in Cuba and has been for some time where the right and wrong lies on this.
    Some say that people steal from work because they ‘need to do this to get by’.
    But others say that those who steal from work ‘steal from everyone’.
    Where is the morality?
    I wouldn’t want to pass any judgement on this.
    Who the F am I to pass a judgement on this other than to say that I can see both arguments.

  33. Nick,

    You are ever eager to display your complete ignorance of all things Cuban on this blog.

    I have no idea why. I assume your attraction to fascism, lunatic conspiracy theories and violence against little old ladies stems from some deep-seated personal insecurity.

    Yoani is extremely conservative in all her statements. She avoids exaggeration at all times.

    The only jobs worth anything are those you can steal from, every Cuban will tell you that. If you go to Cuba and talk to some Cubans, you might learn something.

  34. Trevor,
    I understand from what you write that you also have problems with ‘tea partiers’ in your country…
    I think all sane people would have a problem with these types.

  35. No, Marabu, it’s not OK. Why don’t you directly address my inquiry as to why someone who doesn’t have to live the way that Cubans do would look down upon them for doing what they must to survive?

  36. So, Nick, do you agree with your friend Marabu’s assessment that Cubans are thieves, who deserve a year or more in jail, for filching workplace goods in order to add to their slave wages? And you have problems with tea partiers in America? LOL.

  37. Marabu,
    They’ve been having a bit of an attempt.
    But their attempts don’t add up to a hill of beans……….

  38. ‘To his place as a packer he owes his daughter’s quinceañero celebration, the new roof on his house, the motorbike he rides around the city. He has a job envied by many. An occupation someone with just a sixth grade education can do, but one coveted by academics, experts and even scientists.’

    Great post, but Yoani, some pretty large over-exaggerations going on in these three sentences.
    Try keeping it real.
    Or at least a bit more real than this.

    Bless your heart.

  39. Thank you for correcting my spelling, Trevor

    I have to correct my advice to President Castro then:
    One month of prison for each stolen flower.
    One year of prison for each stolen pound of flour.

    Is it OK now?

  40. Marabu,

    Many armed robberies in Cuba. But I agree much safer than Mexico. That’s because Cuba is tougher on violent crime than any other country in America, especially against tourists.

    Cuba has the most right-wing and punitive penal system on the continent, which might be a good thing if it was used against criminals alone.

    Unfortunately Raul also punishes innocent Cubans with it, as that is the only way he can stay in power.

    You are confused about why Raul can’t crack down on the black market. If he did, many Cubans would starve and there would be enormous bloodshed on the streets.

    Socialism leads to mass starvation or black market capitalism, take your pick. Castro chose the latter to stay in power. The only way to reign in such corruption is to legalize private business and trade, which he is slowly doing.

    But Cuban society under Castro became more corrupt than at any other time in its history, and this does not bode well for future social peace.

  41. Marabu, How fortunate you are to live in a country, although you don’t seem to know which one that is, where the necessities of life are abundantly available. You should count your blessings.

    One year in jail for stealing a pound of “flower”? My, what a law and order type you are. I can’t even begin to fathom what goes on in the mind of someone who would look down on Cubans, as if they are thieves, when they just do what they have to do to feed their families. Your idols, the Castro brothers, are the real thieves. They have stolen the freedom of millions of Cubans. And you can’t bet that they aren’t having to steal “flower” to survive.

    Spell check is a wonderful thing.
    flour not flower
    caught not cought

  42. Great post Yoani.

    Selling baby ounces. Is there anything that isn’t for sale in Castro’s totalitarian state?

    I have heard that Che drained the blood of prisoners he just executed to sell to the Red Cross.

    Don’t know if it’s true, but unlike Nick’s Swine Flu conspiracies, there are actually witnesses to Che’s blood selling activities.

    As well as to the murder of Paya and thousands of others.

  43. Great post, teaches a lot about Cuba.

    I have learned here about a huge criminal potential in the minds of so many Cubans. “Bakers add extra yeast to make the dough rise disproportionately so they can resell the flour” and… and… and…

    Imagine these little criminals would have access to explosives and firearms. If this happens, I will never go to Cuba, ever. For the time being, however, Cubans and foreign travellers alike can only say THANK YOU to Cuban security services. I don’t remember any news about armed robberies and assasinations as we know them from Mexico or the US.

    Gun control is good, but, in my opinion, Cuba does not combat the petty crime with enough energy. What are they waiting for? Are you scared to show being though on crime to the rest of the world, Mr President Castro? Are you a coward? Unfortunately, Yoani does not write what happens to those thieves working as bakers when they are cought. Correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect they just get fired.

    Here is a piece of advice to President Raul: one year of prison for each stolen pound of flower. Two years for repeat offenders.

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