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    Guilty! / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez

    14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 20 July 2106 – At the beginning of the
    year evil was incarnated in the intermediaries, who were blamed for the
    high food prices in the produce markets. At the end of 2013, the
    boogeymen were those who worked for themselves selling imported clothes
    and other merchandise. In February of this year the war against the
    pushcart vendors reached its height, and today the enemy drives a shared
    taxi, a person who in common parlance is called a “boatman.”

    If there is anything that has characterized the Cuban system of the last
    57 years it is its ability to find a scapegoat. When the agricultural
    plans are not met it is the fault of the drought, the indiscipline of
    the workers or the poor organization dictated by some low-ranking
    bureaucrat. If in times of heavy precipitation the water supply remains
    unstable in towns and cities it is because, “the rain is not falling
    where it should,” as was explained to us in recent statements by an
    official of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INRH).

    Urban transport does not work well due to “vandalism” and because “the
    population doesn’t treat this equipment as it deserves,” they tell us.
    Meanwhile most road accidents are because of the “recklessness of the
    drivers,” and not because of the poor state of the roads and highways,
    the terrible signage or the inventive measures taken by drivers to keep
    their obsolete vehicles running.

    The powers-that-be point their index fingers in all directions to accuse
    others, but never turn it back on themselves. From time to time, to
    display a certain tone of self-criticism, they come down on Communist
    Party members themselves, and accuse them of not voicing their opinions
    “in the right place and at the right time,” or they make some minister
    take the fall for the failed policies in the areas of public health,
    education or some other sector.

    We citizens are the main culprits, according to what state television
    tells us, for the presence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that, for
    years, has failed to yield to spraying or campaigns against it. Our
    homes are the “main foci” of the mosquito, they spit at us from the
    press, as if state and government entities were untainted redoubts of
    cleanliness and order.

    Emigration is also among our sins, because we go in search of “siren
    songs” and let ourselves fall “into the hands of the coyotes,” declares
    the Castro regime’s discourse. In this script it is third parties who
    are always to blame; the migrants who protested in front of the Cuban
    embassy in Ecuador were ‘scoring points’ with the United States and some
    of them, once they are settled in our neighboring country to the north,
    will end up sending “illicit funds” to their relatives on the island to
    support a private business.

    The easiest to find are the external enemies, like imperialism, “the
    criminal United States blockade,” the conspirators “from the Latin
    American right,” and even the “historic betrayal” of the old comrades of
    Eastern Europe. This scarecrow to install fear is accompanied by the
    demonized “counterrevolutionaries” in our own backyard, who are targeted
    by all the insults the rude government machinery has created over almost
    six decades.

    If products are missing on market shelves, television reports accuse the
    “profiteers.” If a papaya has come to cost an entire day’s wages for a
    professional, it is “the fault of the unscrupulous” who want to “profit
    at the expense of the people,” or so they lecture us from the little
    screen. In this apportioning of blame we have all been placed in the
    center of the allegations.

    Right now the government propaganda apparatus is taking on the drivers
    of shared taxis, but tomorrow it could be the proprietors of private
    restaurants, the teachers who offer private tutoring, or the water
    carriers who sell their precious commodity in neighborhoods where the
    pipes have run dry for weeks now.

    There will always be an “evildoer,” an “irresponsible” or an “enemy”
    that keeps the system from working in all its great manual-guided
    humanity, its never demonstrated efficiency, or it supposed but still
    un-proven capacity to make Cubans happy.

    But the strategy of blaming others, in waves and programmed
    installments, has a weak point. There comes a time when the culprits
    outnumber the accusers. There is a second in which, from this side, from
    the stigmatized, we agree with the rafters, the dissidents, the pushcart
    vendors, the self-employed, the taxi drivers, the ousted ministers and
    the vilified trinket sellers. At this point, where we have been for a
    long time now, we have every right to point our index fingers at the
    system that has condemned us to the perennial dock of the accused.

    Source: Guilty! / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez – Translating Cuba –

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