The Swamp Of Wealth
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 6 June 2017 — Almost a
quarter of a century ago, the government launched a battle against
illicit income that ended with the detention of dozens of criminals but
also of prosperous entrepreneurs. During the dreaded Operation
Flowerpot, you could be denounced just for having a freshly painted
house, wearing new clothes or sporting a gold chain.
Popular humor has coined a joke that describes the arrest of a “New
Rich” in 2030, where the infraction is possessing three cans of
condensed milk and two brooms. Jokes like this point out the weakest
part of the raids against the well-to-do. What’s the starting point for
someone to be considered wealthy or a hoarder?
The relativism surrounding such definitions has come to the fore again
during the last extraordinary session of Cuba’s Parliament, which
supported a prohibition against accumulating property and wealth. Such
limitations remain to be expressed in a law that establishes a clear
limit on the possession of material goods.
The deputies of the National Assembly could see fit to define the amount
of money that the savers will be allowed to keep in their bank accounts,
how many clothes they can hang in their closets, the number of pairs of
shoes they can wear and even the amount of shampoo they’re permitted to
use when they wash their heads…
Such an enumeration seems absurd, but limiting wealth consists
of specifying the quantity allowed and where the prohibitions
begin. Without these exactitudes – generally ridiculous and elusive –
everything remains in the realm of subjectivity, at the mercy of the
whims of those who apply the punishments.
To add moisture to that legal swamp, the champions of such bans are, in
most cases, people who do not even have to put their hands in their
pockets to buy food. They live on privileges, free supplies and perks
that insulate them from the daily life and the hardships of most Cubans.
They, who have accumulated all the wealth, fear that someone who has not
assaulted a barracks, wielded a gun or shouted slogans, could move in a
few feet from their mansions, run a hotel more competitive than those
run by the Armed Forces and manage – and this is their worst nightmare –
to have the economic autonomy to launch a political career.
Source: The Swamp Of Wealth – Translating Cuba –