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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Embezzlement Today

Embezzlement Today / Regina Coyula

Regina Coyula, 17 February 2017 — The long laissez faire of the
government with the "if you behave well, I look the other way" has given
birth to a generation (just one?) of the cheerfully shameless, known
generically as "fighters." The nice denomination that began by being
applied a few, no longer has color, sex or occupation. The common
denominator is a very short wage for very long prices. Yes, those same
people who cried in front of a photo with flowers* not yet three months ago.

Poles as distant as commerce and culture converge on this news that can
only be half-confirmed because the official press never covers it
without prior permission, and the friends, family, or co-workers of the
enthroned acquired long ago the Pavlovian reflex of "not getting
involved in things."

The first of the cases, is in the Puentes Grandes Shopping Center, not
yet three years from its opening and it already seems like a place in
decline. There is an internet navigation room equipped on its opening
with five computers and air conditioning. Something happened there that
we have already become accustomed to. The PCs didn't always work, the
air conditioning didn't either. In the room itself there was a counter
with electronic devices such as USB memories, keyboards, headphones and
the like, which was a point of sale for ETECSA, the Cuban
Telecommunications Company that runs the place and maintains the
monopoly of communications and as such keeps its users in a state
between dissatisfaction and disgust.

And I speak about this in the past because no one can tell me if it will
ever operate again; just very hastily in the parking lot an employee
with a corporate image in a uniform one size smaller than necessary,
acrylic nails, keratin-strengthened hair, and black-lace leggings,
without raising her eyebrows or her voice, told me there had been a
"tremendous explosion." An informal taxi-driver on the hunt for a home
refrigerator, was the one who told me that she was very pleased to be
selling articles privately, much more cheaply than in the store.

It's not just the stores. I remember, many remember, some fifteen or
twenty years ago, the scandal in the International Relations Department
of the Ministry of Culture, where artistic delegations were assembled
without artists for the modest price of 500 CUC. Now it was the turn of
the Council of Scenic Arts, and the information came from Colombia,
Mexico or Central America with all the migratory connections, where some
of the vigorous claimants of rights overseas, both university professors
and lowlifes, learned to act although they never made it on stage. They
demanded a red passport, that is an official one, authorized by the
aforementioned Council that is supposed to authorize the travel of
actors and theater groups.

Before, the same or similar matters had been in Heritage and Cultural
Welfare and because of something missing in the works of art and some
surplus in the construction works, appears to have been the reason for
the exit through the back door of the previous Minister of Culture.

Even an octogenarian revolutionary fighter had amassed a modest fortune
for the future, the future that was supposed to belong entirely to
socialism. Barely two months after an anodyne article in the '90s by
Fidel Castro in the already anodyne newspaper Granma.

Nothing astonished Cubans, and from time to time we notice that
corruption accompanies us wherever we go. The employee with the
corporate image and the cultural officials as I already said, share the
salary as a symbol. In the other case, I don't know about you, but to me
to the affair of the octogenarian fighter (for the uninformed his name
is Héctor Rodríguez Llompart), tells me something about how things go
among "the historicals" — as the original leaders and fighters of the
Revolution call themselves.

*Translator's note: A reference to Fidel Castro's death

Translated by Jim

Source: Embezzlement Today / Regina Coyula – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/embezzlement-today-regina-coyula/
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