Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

Nov. 26, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

"THOUGHTS ABOUT DICTATORSHIP" By Jose Orlando Gonzalez Bridon, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - Throughout the years, Cuba's government has always sought to present itself in the eyes of international opinion as a champion of workers' rights. Its Cuban Workers Central (CDC) is supposedly a union organization. It is revealing, in this light, that as the Cuban people suffer great penury, it should be the workers who receive rewards for their labors since their efforts help build our progress although such rewards are diluted by the high cost of living we all face.

At this time, among the most dynamic sectors of our economy are the mixed-enterprise firms. Foreign investments and the Cuban work force produce for export goods and services that are not for national consumption, not for the workers or for the people (except perhaps a few high priority items which can be sold at the dollar stores).

In Cuba such mixed-enterprise firms are not allowed to hire nationals directly. Those firms must go through a government agency which decides who gets hired - but not according to their "needs." So there's another form of discrimination.

Cuban workers, along with the public at large, suffer all sorts of privations, economic and political. Yet the state devotes a great deal of money to pursue these and other enterprises where the only thing paid for locally, in Cuban pesos, are salaries. Yet production results always are in terms of dollars! This makes it possible to import all sorts of goods and supplies but these are never distributed back to the workers, even if the dollars resulted directly from their work.

In fact, the decisions as to how these imported goods are used are completely divorced from workers' needs or from the amount of their work which helped bring in the products.

Other propaganda themes of the Cuban government are in the areas of health and education. The regime's public relations themes presented to the world's opinion say health and education are of high quality and free for all workers. This might have seemed true at one time, irrespective of the high cost, i.e., the loss of liberties. Quality ceased, beginning in 1989, when the socialist world disappeared along with the $8,000,000,000 Cuba received in annual subsidies from the USSR.

If one looks carefully at the current situation, one sees the health system is no longer a high quality item; indeed it is rapidly deteriorating. In addition, it was never truly egalitarian since it was not really available to those diverging from "official lines" or those unable to pay in dollars.

In some cases, just being a Cuban automatically excludes you from the medical services, which are earmarked for the exclusive use of foreigners. The cost of the health and education system for all Cuban workers is excessively high. It is paid for by taxes paid directly to the state. These taxes are the highest in any civilized nation.

The area of tourism is another one showing rampant discrimination. There are "tourist" centers for the workers, where they can engage in "camping," mosquitoes and all. There are other similar poor quality facilities with limited and deficient services. The better hotels, the better beaches are reserved for the foreigners along with the better service and comfort. Woe to the Cuban who dares enter those premises. At best he/she would be labeled a prostitute or an anti-social element even if it was their own effort and work which had helped create those attractions!

The Cuban government is well aware of the needs and difficulties faced by the workers and the population at large. But the 'governors' hide the exploitation, the discrimination and the indefensible way in which they treat their own people, having absolute control of the people's lives, each day adding to the people's dependence on the state for their very survival.

The Cuban workers should consider if, after all, this is really "their" dictatorship.

Jose Orlando Gonzalez Bridon, Cuba Free Press.

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