We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This week, the regime said it will dismiss 500,000 people from government jobs, which account for 84 percent of the work force. Reflecting ruefully on the perils of sheltered bureaucracy, Raul Castro declared recently, "We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working."
As a blanket indictment, that statement is grossly unfair. Many Cuban government employees put in long hoursóworking in the black market.
Even with guns and secret police and informers on every block and state terror in general, it's tough to keep a population oppressed. The only way to do it is to kill them, in which case those who imagine that they can control people and their economic activities become kings of giant cemeteries.
Reflecting ruefully on the perils of sheltered bureaucracy, Raul Castro declared recently, "We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working."
That is going to take a while to do, because for more than a half century, that is precisely the notion that made for survival in Cuba. Keep your mouth shut. No point in taking initiative, because it will not be rewarded, and in many cases will be punished. "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us" - the Iron Curtain anthem.
When Cuba had previously encouraged private enterprise, in nearly every instance, Castro pulled in the reins when he saw that it was producing people who were independent of his control.
The Castros have been talking for over a half century. Deeds, not words are what count at this stage.
The black market thrives because it is not necessarily a threat to state control, and the only people who get punished for black marketeering are the ones who forget to bribe the right official, or who are really wanted for some other reason.
When a given marketeer begins to deal in things that endanger state control (arms and communication devices), then the state starts to get involved.