In Cuba we live to Work


Image: Thomas Hart Benton; “Field Workers”, 1945.

I never chose to write about the field of economics. My philosophy is that in order to approach the themes of economics one must at least have an idea of the subject. Of course, we Cubans living on the island have become magicians of sorts in order to survive the prolonged crisis which has showed no signs of hope when it comes to positively taking steps forward towards the financial progress which goes accordingly with the times in which we live.

After listening to a news report on national TV that was dedicated to the new governmental measure of handing out 15 pesos daily to the workers of four of the largest companies, I began to analyze such data. The mentioned measures also consisted of eliminating the lunch that was routinely given to the majority of the workers affiliated with the Cuban Workers Central. I then started to calculate countless mathematical equations. In honor of the truth, I did not accept what was being said.

In truth, the proletariat of this country needs a convincing explanation, not as much for the reason of the absurd obligation of having to do without daily lunch, but instead, this measure increases the earnings of wages by the daily labor that is carried out. But at the root of this situation, there arises a question: is the salary in Cuba similar to that of a slave or is it that the exploitation of the day laborers goes beyond the concept of appreciation which was pointed out by Karl Marx in his theory about capatalism? We can’t rule out the fact that both notions serve like rings to the fingers of the workers of this nation.

In the cited news report, the official journalist mentions the organizations of financing and pricing, along with two others. According to her, 190,000 pesos have been saved to the date. This, up to here, is fine. Savings are never a bad thing. But from this to charging a majority of the workers a sum that is superior to their daily 8 hours of work is just incredible. It is ridiculous.

Only rare and isolated exceptions have the privilege of saving their earnings in a bank- those who carry the weight of the national economy. It’s no secret that in Cuba there is an exception, and we Cubans live to work and do not work to live. Something is wrong, at least that is what I think. But what can you do in a country where nearly everything is upside down and when our economy could possibly crash at any moment, causing irreparablbe damages for the nation?

Pablo Pacheco Avila, political prisoner of conscience

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