Self-Employment in the Arena / Fernando Damaso
Posted on October 16, 2013
The phony honeymoon between the self-employed and the State could not
last long: their interests are totally different. While the former try
to develop themselves, the latter does everything it can to prevent it.
The trite theme of their having reached their legal limits, with the
current attempt by the authorities to eliminate individual stores that
offer mainly imported products, as well as other successful businesses,
such as 3D movie rooms, has raised the social tension, leading to major
confrontations, absent for years in our unchanging environment.
Without understanding that feudal methods, with the mighty lord of the
castle and his henchmen on one side and the submissive serfs on the
other, are outmoded and are obsolete, the authorities intend, through
regulations, limitations and repression, to maintain the state’s
commercial domination over obedient citizens and complacent unions that
they have enjoyed for more than 54 years, doing and undoing at their
whim, without any social restraint.
After taking over a developed and efficient light industry — made up
primarily of companies financed with Cuban capital, which were important
sources of employment, and which produced virtually everything that was
necessary to meet the needs of the population — and making it disappear
with absurd economic measures, today the government has to import
everything, using the few credits it receives, besides having failed
miserably in the production of material goods.
They have tried to alleviate this situation with the establishment
several years ago of various state chain stores, where low-quality
imported goods are sold at high prices in order to extract from the few
citizens the few economic resources they have, mainly the product of
remittances sent from abroad, under the pretext of responding to the
patriotic necessity of recouping hard currency.
With the appearance of privately-owned stores, some better outfitted
than others, with higher quality items, more variety, and at more
attractive prices, buyers gravitated to them, abandoning the state
stores, which in this competition have everything to lose. Hence the
reaction of the authorities and the entire bureaucracy of ossified
officials, worried that their privileges would disappear. The conclusion
is: the State with all its resources, is unable to compete in a fair
fight with individuals. Examples abound in the world and in Cuba.
Despite the difficult conditions in which they have to survive, besieged
by exorbitant taxes and absurd regulations and limitations, they pull it
off: privately owned rooming houses, eateries, shops, 3-D theater rooms,
equipment repairs, and other kinds of successful businesses.
In this confrontation, you need to say a prayer for the self-employed,
and what they represent as new economic players, and firmly defend them,
not allowing them to again be swept from the national scene, as happened
on other occasions in the face of citizen apathy and passivity. The
current conditions are very different; before acting hastily, Cubans as
well as the state should assess the high social and political price they
would have to pay for a new mistake.
Translated by Tomás A.
15 October 2013
Source: “Self-Employment in the Arena / Fernando Damaso | Translating