Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

17 de Marzo del 2000

THEY GIVE NOTHING AND WANT EVERYTHING! By Onelio Pérez and José Orlando González Bridon of the Cuban Democratic Workers Confederation, for Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- The deterioration and ill use of their municipality is contradictory for the residents of Havana Center when they hear the Cuban government boast of having given 40 years of attention to the social problems of the people of Cuba.

According to Onelio Pérez Rodríguez, a resident of this municipality at No. 206 Health St., a densely populated part of Havana Center, like the majority of the Cuban people, is outside of the much-trumpeted government attention to the social problems.

The area's apartment buildings are in a very advanced state of deterioration, many to the point of collapse. The state has given only a few posts so that its inhabitants may prop up the roof and brace the walls which threaten to crush them - as has happened already on countless occasions.

To live or walk through Havana Center is to risk one's life. Its housing and businesses date back to the beginning of the past century without the Cuban government having taken any interest in devoting one dollar to their maintenance or repair in the last 40 years. The Cuban government seems only to be waiting for the buildings to collapse, no matter how many may die. It's one less problem to worry about.

No one pays the relatives for the deaths or relieves their pain. But of course as soon as a house falls down, the government mobilizes the construction contingent, clears the area and, depending on how centrally-located the place is, either leave it vacant or rapidly build with modern resources a dollars-only café, a dollars-only store or something that deposits dollars. In such cases, yes, then there is concern by the state.

The survivors of a collapse are moved to special gathering places for these cases known as "rooming houses" and wait endlessly for the government to rent them a new home.

And what can one do about the streets of the municipality? Havana Center is full of potholes and patches and presents residential water leaks that, in addition to causing an infernal stench, are the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. The corners are full of garbage piles where large amounts of insects and rats proliferate, giving an even more depressing image of the beloved municipality.

The tourists see this. They take pictures and videos, wanting to take away a souvenir of the wonderland.

The Cuban government has complained on repeated occasions that it does not have the resources to solve these serious social problems of the municipality. But residents say the truth of the matter is that the ruling class is not interested in the working class at all. Some say, "Maybe they even hate us. Because just the opposite occurs when it is in the interest of the state. And it has been proven that when it is in the interest of the state to build or repair something, it will do so, even though it doesn't represent a social benefit.

When something brings earnings then it will be used to maintain the government through purchase of rifles, cannons and anything that serves to intimidate the up-until-now peaceful people of Cuba by means of communist terror.

This municipality is inhabited on the whole by workers and persons of scarce economic resources. Yet the regime demands more of them every day (countless efforts and unconditional support) to carry out unwise policies and maintain the gloomy slogan of "Fatherland Or Death." Such people, man! They give nothing and want everything!

Onelio Pérez and José Orlando González Bridon of the Cuban Democratic Workers Confederation, for Cuba Free Press.

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