Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

Dec. 20 1999

WHO BELIEVES THAT SOCIALISM MEANS QUALITY? By Onelio Pérez Rodríguez, organizer of the independent union, the CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- In one of the endless meetings of the Communist Party of Cuba, one leader was heard to say, "Socialism is quality." Some of his listeners asked their trusted friends whether he was talking about another country

Since we don't know whether that little phrase is to become a new slogan or just reflected a lack of information or worse yet a lack of conscience, much was left in doubt. Even as his listeners might afford him the benefit of the doubt, most would agree (but not publicly!) that Cuba is a place where such a message is not seriously believed. Virtually everyone knows that in this country quality is sorely missed. Instead all that his listeners find is shoddiness, poor service, lack of hygiene and mistreatment of the consumer - in other words a total lack of quality.

In support of this statement, the writer can cite examples - but not all of them since that would become an endless liturgy. Examples include the flagrant case of the food industry where the consumer suffers bad service, lack of hygiene and an absence of the universal norms of production. Instead there are shortages of materials and untrue labels of weights.

The transportation sector also is well known for inefficiency whether by bus, taxi cabs, trains or a wagon powered with livestock.

The few consumer products available are mostly lacking in quality, appearance and decent packaging. So as to list just a few cases the writer will limit the total to those available through the ration card. Some food items are full of dirt and even on occasion insects (such as maggots). Rice and sugar are sold raw; viands and fruits are sold bruised, dirty and with rotten sections. Ground beef is commonly sold that has a bad odor of spoilage.

These examples are relatively few considering the shortage of supplies and we haven't even dealt with the clothing and the footwear sector. One observer said, "We could ask ourselves, how bad would the shoddiness problem be if there were a greater supply of goods to consider? Surely it would amount to a monument to the absence of quality or 'anti-quality' and so who can truly agree with the leader that socialism is equated with quality?"

Onelio Pérez Rodríguez, organizer for the independent union, the CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.

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