Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

Cuba and the End of Things

Warhol P.

Line outside of an ETECSA center.

HAVANA TIMES — All of us know that things in life have a beginning and an end. This holds for movies, soap operas, books, songs, night, day – everything.

Today, I sat down to think about all of the people I have met in the course of my life in one way or another, people who are no longer around – not because they’ve left the country (there’s plenty of those), but because they’re now pushing up daisies.

Thinking about this makes me sad, for I know one day I also won’t be around anymore. Though one knows dying is the most natural thing in the world, that one won’t live forever, nearly no one wants to die. The exceptions are often terminally ill people who look on death as a kind of final and glorious rest.

Nor do we take the death of a relative or a close friend very well. When this happens, one feels that things change and that nothing will ever be the same again. It is as though an emptiness settles inside you, so as to never leave you again.

I have thought about the end of things that surround me. I would very much like to wake up one day and see, with my own eyes, that things are different than they are now, that things have changed for the benefit of everyone.

In order to make my wishes come true in some form, I will close this post with a small list of things that I would like to see end immediately.

–          So-called Cuban “socialism”
–          Censorship in all areas
–          The ration booklet
–          El pollo por pescado Chicken rations, handed out in lieu of fish
–          Bureaucracy
–          Opportunistic and talentless artists and writers
–          The imprisonment of Angel Santiesteban
–          The Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC)
–          High prices at agricultural and livestock markets and hard-currency stores
–          Low worker salaries
–          Racism and homophobia
–          Double standards
–          Dictatorship
–          Hypocrisy
–          Bad television shows
–          The high prices of Cuba’s telephone company
–          Lack of access to a fast and cheap Internet connection
–          Wars and violence of every kind
–          Hunger
–          The US blockade
–          Poor relations between the Cuban and US governments

  • Griffin

    That’s a good list of things to see an end to. You should know however: there is no US blockade of Cuba.

    By definition, a blockade prevents anything and anybody from travelling into or out of a specified territory. As you can tell from the large numbers of foreign tourists in Cuba, and the availability of imported goods including products and food from the USA, there cannot exist anything reasonably called a “blockade” of Cuba.

    What exists is a partial embargo. Cuba can buy most products from the US. Cuban-Americans are now allowed to travel to Cuba and to send remittances to their relatives in Cuba. Non-Cuban Americans can travel to Cuba for what is called “purposeful travel”, but not for ordinary tourism. Cubans, in theory at least, are now allowed by their government to travel to the US, although not everybody is granted permission. Perhaps some day soon, the last of the restrictions which make up the partial embargo will be gone.

    Alas, I am sorry to say, bad TV shows will always be with us.

    • John Goodrich

      The EXPLICIT purpose of the U.S. Embargo on Cuba is to create immense suffering across the entire Cuban population and ultimately the downfall of Cuba’s SOCIALIST -style economy.
      The embargo has cost the Cuban society over one trillion dollars which sum would make an enormous difference in the daily life of all Cubans.
      Smarter people than you in Washington seem to think the embargo is doing what it intended SHORT of the actual overthrow of the revolution and its socialist aspects.
      But of course, you know so much more than any mere career propagandist or Cold Warrior who does this stuff for a living. .
      The USG has the same visceral hatred for Cuba’s socialist aspects as you do but they have quite a bit more knowledge than do you as to what effects the embargo is having and they are keeping it on.

      • Moses Patterson

        You continue to parrot Castro propaganda. You have no idea how the dictatorship came up with the $1 trillion figure, yet you repeat it as fact. Your pathetic attempt at sarcasm is no replacement for real facts. The fact is that the internal embargo caused by Castro socialism is the real culprit behind Cuban suffering.

      • Griffin

        It is debatable how much the US embargo cost the Cuban economy. The loss of the US market for Cuba exports would have been considerable, however, the Soviet Union soon stepped in and agreed to purchase Cuban sugar, tobacco & nickel, all at above market prices. The Russians also sold oil to Cuba at subsidized prices. All told, the financial support which Cuba received from the Soviet Union far exceeded the value of trade Cuba used to have with the US.

        The one aspect of the embargo that did impact the Cuban economy was the inability to obtain replacement parts to maintain US made machinery and vehicles in Cuba. Again, the USSR stepped in to help out, often refitting entire factories with Russian or Czech made machinery. Unfortunately, this equipment was usually of very poor quality. You can’t blame the US for the fact that Soviet industrial technology was crap.

        The real reason for the decline of Cuba’s economy was the insane series of policies enforced by an ideological and irrational government. In the early 1960’s, the Cuba government shut down the accounting and finance departments at Cuban universities. The Revolutionaries didn’t think they would need accountants anymore, not in a socialist state.

        When all large to medium sized businesses in Cuba were nationalized, the old managers were fired. Most fled the country. The new managers of the nationalized state enterprises were appointed based upon their political fervour, not for any actual ability to do their job. The government directed firms to cease the practice of invoicing and paying bills, and instead to simply ask for raw materials they need and to send their products wherever the were told to do so. Corruption flourished. The new cadre of managers understood nothing of cost, cash flow, or how to balance books. For a while, the Cuban government even seriously considered doing away with all money.

        Add to all that a series of irrational schemes like the 10 Million Ton Zafra and the Super Cow. The Castro dictatorship destroyed the Cuban economy with their ideology and schemes. But so long as the money flowed from the Soviet Union, nobody knew how bad it was. OK, a few economists knew how bad it was, but they knew better than to speak our about it, as that was a sure path to prison.

        When the USSR collapsed, and the cash flow to Cuba was cut off, the weakness of the Cuban economy was laid bare. The result was a 355 drop in GDP. It would have been worse, but at that point several European and Canadian firms saw an opportunity to profit from Cuban misery and stepped in with investments in hotels and mines. Soon Chavez appeared and starting giving Cuba billions in cheap oil. Once again, the Castro’s were saved from their own stupidity and reckless mismanagement of the Cuban economy.

        Today, the embargo is meaningless. Cuba can sell all their products abroad, and can buy what they need from the rest of the world. US tourists are flying to Cuba and remittances from expat gusanos are pouring into the country. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the regime.

        • Griffin

          The second to last paragraph should say, “…a 35% drop in GDP.”

          My typo.

      • Norwich

        What embargo?

        Cuba can buy what it wants from anywhere and it does. Unfortunately it has to be paid for.

  • Dan

    From the ephemerality of life to the lack of fast cheap internet connections ? What a banal, vacuous post. Fits in nicely with the “life in Cuba is hell” theme though, so HT will publish it.

    • Griffin

      If you disagree with the author, which of the items on his list would you wish to keep?