“There is no worse blind man…”
The President’s visit to Cuba will have no material consequences for Mexicans. Trade with the island is limited because its economy is bankrupt. Its limited production of basic products is not even adjusted to supply its 11 million inhabitants. Still, López Obrador says he never thought the “revolution would fail.”
That phrase, said 60 years ago, would make some sense. Fidel Castro governed under the communist model and the protection of the Soviet Union. Since then nothing has happened in Cuba. It’s not a joke, time stopped in ideas and works, in the form of government and its national production.
A TV Azteca report gives an account of the Cuban tragedy: “Neither homeland nor life.” The reporter Carolina Rocha, who went as a tourist and did it with her phone, finds hundreds of people queuing to buy some food with her ration card. Five eggs, half a kilo of chicken and some ground beef a month. As long as you get to the queue early. The rest will have to be bought with 70% inflation. “Money is made of water and salt,” says a retiree.
Everyone is suffering from the inflation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries more than others. For two years, developed nations took out the checkbook to provide their inhabitants with sustenance while production was reduced, and the lockdown halted production and supply chains. With less production and more money in circulation, prices rose amidst the shortage. Then came the war that cut grain exports from the Ukraine and fertilizers from Russia.
If it affects all countries, it was a tragedy for Cuba because its foreign exchange comes from tourism and the remittances that Cuban-Americans in Florida send to their families. The material deterioration in Havana – we suppose that in other cities it is worse – breaks the soul. Streets flooded with garbage and dirt, houses about to collapse in the center, all peeling and abandoned. The reporter interviews novelist Leonardo Padura, writer of hits like “The Man Who Loved Dogs.” He doesn’t say much but he says everything: the young people want to leave. There’s no hope. That is not a triumph but the greatest defeat.
If the project of the Cuban dictatorship is not a failure, we do not know what is. For more than half a century the government promotes victimhood. “It’s all the fault of the US embargo.” False, much of the food that arrives in Cuba comes from the United States. Also medications. If the embargo were lifted tomorrow, what could Cuba sell to the world, cigars and rum? A society without individual incentives and with a totalitarian government is doomed to stagnation and poverty. The solution is a people with aspirations, productive and meritocratic. People flee from failed countries to prosperous ones full of opportunities, as happens to our countrymen who venture north without documents. The victimizing governments castrate the will and the individual initiative. If everything is the product of an external factor such as imperialism, neoliberalism or thieving foreign investment, there is no remedy.
If the President is convinced that the Cuban revolution has triumphed, it sounds strange that his son and grandchildren live in Houston and not in the supreme equality of Havana. (To be continue)