Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

04 de Enero del 2000

PEOPLE ANONYMOUSLY ASK HOW MUCH CAN BE SPENT ON PROPAGANDA By Odilia Collazo of the Pro-Human Rights Party for Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- Anyone listening to private conversations here knows many Cuban people wonder what will happen next in the propaganda war 'consuming' the Cuban government over the Elian Gonzalez affair. How much is spent on those T-shirts with the boy's face on them? What about the posters and the wooden frames for them? How much has been spent and will continue to be spent on the transportation of people to and fro and coming from afar? Who will pay the price for such waste? Who will pay for the work hours lost? Those days away from work are paid leave but how will they be made up without production?

Children have left their classrooms; teachers don't teach. For all of them those outings are 'holidays' when no school work gets done. The T-shirts come in all sizes from children to adults. The people ask each other how will all this be paid for? The sad comments in private show the people already know the answers: There will be more electrical "black-outs," further cuts in the rations, more problems with public transportation…

On any street corner can be seen anguished people trying to get to their doctor or some other place for an appointment or to meet other needs. Nobody goes out without the greatest necessity. Many look tired, even haggard. Many missed their medical appointments, losing their turn and so on. Those useless marches are paid for, some comment: The people pay!

"All because the ruler hates to lose," one said. "If the courts get involved and decide the boy goes back to Cuba, the 'generalisimo' will say it was the result of all the marches and the noise made, even if the courts are looking at other issues. If the boy is not returned, they will carry on just the same. It is a way to distract everybody from what has been happening: They should just speak about Elian, not stage massive rallies!"

Another said, "The truth is that at the recent Ibero-American Summit things went badly for him. Many people got to talk to the dissidents and other sectors of the opposition. The ideas they spoke of were not the ideas the government wanted them to discuss. They had lived the Cuban reality! So now the rulers have to raise all this ruckus to distract everybody's attention. That will bring HIM again into focus as The Center of all things. Let the whole world see how HE is loved, how they listen to HIM! That is part of the motive behind the Elian affair."

Said another, "During November there were anti-government manifestations in different places. He said they were the result of 'grupusculos,' tiny groups of a 100 or fewer participants. He wants to show the world he has a hundred thousand, even millions of people backing him, even when everybody knows how they got there and why."

So once again, comments one, the people are expected to pay the consequence of those excesses, which have nothing to do with production or improvements in our common lot. Is there any other country in the world which would go for weeks and months without production, with just government spending? "Only in Cuba."

Odilia Collazo of the Pro-Human Rights Party for Cuba Free Press.

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