Friday, August 30, 2013

Measuring Cuba’s Moral Degeneration

Measuring Cuba's Moral Degeneration
August 29, 2013
Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — We speak so much about the moral degradation of Cuban
society that sometimes it feels we are deep in a quagmire that can't get
any worse. This isn't exactly true, and we should not deceive ourselves
that it is.

Today, I had one of those days in which you go out with all of the
positive energy in the world, hoping to get some things done, and you
come home frustrated and empty-handed. This does not exactly illustrate
my point, I know.

I don't have any statistics at hand that would support my claim either.
I only have the facts. I sometimes wish there was an instrument designed
to measure what I'm talking about. It would be called a "degradation
meter," or something like that.

It would suffice to go out to the street and point it towards people's
rude behavior, the misconduct of consumers and public officials, bosses
and employees, adults and the young. The device would then give us a

Since such an extraordinary piece of technology does not exist, I will
try and measure the vibe of Cuba's streets on the basis of my own

The incidents I will describe are not exactly revealing, in and of
themselves. I think the fact they took place within the course of a
single day, however, gives us a sense of how inhospitable Cuban society
has become. My best reason for saying this is the simple and
overwhelming fact that incidents like these no longer shock anyone.

To improve public transportation, the number of buses operating in
Havana was recently increased. On this day, however, we are witnessing
bus stops with the kind of large crowds we hadn't seen for a good while.

Public transportation difficulties giving rise to stress among
passengers has been described at length in posts like this one. It is
understandable that people should be irritated. The hot August sun also
has a say in this.

But the fact that people – particularly the young – speak in a loud tone
of voice all the time has nothing to do with the public transport system
or the heat. That people should curse and say rude things to one another
while joking, that can't be chalked up to the weather or bus shortages

This morning, a woman almost knocked me down while scrambling to get a
seat in the bus. Things like this, folks, bring us a step closer to
savagery, even barbarism.

Another fellow who got on the bus was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt. His
armpits were hairy and sweaty. By then I was sitting on the seat the
rude woman had emptied. He settled next to me, placing his hairy armpit
very close to my face. He didn't seem to notice what he was doing.

My arm still hurts from having had to wrestle my way onto the bus, and I
was third in line. It actually hurts, the people standing behind me
almost tore it off, supposedly trying to keep others from taking their
place in the line.

On my way back, I ran into a friend. Just before I got off the bus, she
told me she had seen a man looking at her and masturbating, right behind
me. In effect, he had been fondling his genitals a few centimeters
behind my back. She had said nothing "to avoid problems."

Something isn't right here. Many things aren't right, for people are
shedding all civility with less and less shame and no one does anything.
This trend continues to grow and the "decent" appear to have become
immune to it.

Source: "Trying to Measure Cuba's Moral Degeneration" -

No comments: