The Equal Sharing of Misery
The AP reports that El Jefe Convaleciente, Fidel Castro, is denouncing the growing gap between poor and poorer in his island fiefdom. No, he isn't turning back on five year plans and revolutionary sugar harvests, simply threatening those who accept money from relatives living abroad. As always, it's the Miami mafia that's buggering up the economy:
Fidel Castro said Wednesday the island's communist system has become plagued by "irritating inequalities and privileges" that have left the poor bitter and angry.
Turning a more critical eye on Cuban life than he has since falling ill and giving up power almost a year ago, the 80-year-old Castro said in an essay published in state-run newspapers "we are not a consumer society."
But he bemoaned that some Cubans use foreign currency sent from relatives abroad or brought to the island by tourists to set up illegal sources of profit. This while they continue to enjoy ration cards, free housing and health care and other social services.
My Spanish is too rusty to confirm that that last line is cribbed from Granma, but it's good to see that ordinary Cubans continue "to enjoy" rationing (20 oz. of beans per month, incidentally), health care and free housing (Photo: Luxurious rent-controlled apartment in Havana)
As is often the case, Castro has plenty of other things on his mind:
Castro singled out "the juicy profits" some Cubans earn running unlicensed taxi services, which include fleets of classic American vehicles.
Cuban officials concede the island's decrepit and overcrowded transportation system is on the point of collapse. Few Cubans are allowed to buy new or used cars, but can own hulking U.S. jalopies built before Castro's 1959 revolution.
Using scarce gasoline for profit "can compromise the independence and life of Cuba. We cannot fool around with that!" Castro wrote.
Full AP article.
reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin on the New York Times' Castrophilia here.