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    A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who believe in prosperity

    A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who believe in
    prosperity
    VERÓNICA VEGA | La Habana | 26 Abr 2016 – 11:17 pm.

    “Obama’s children.” This is what some are surreptitiously branding the
    participants in the Cuba Emprende project, an initiative backed by the
    Archbishopric of Havana at the Centro Cultural Padre Félix Varela, which
    provides business training and guidance to those who have decided to
    start a business on their own.

    Evidently, “contributing to the development of economic acumen, social
    progress and improved quality of life” is an objective diametrically
    opposed to the concept of austerity that we have been beaten over the
    head with for decades, while poverty spread and private property was
    demonized.

    The derisive label reflects a backlash to Obama’s meeting with private
    sector representatives at the Fábrica del Arte (Art Factory), in that
    fleeting air of freedom that lasted only for the few hours that the US
    president remained on the island.

    Fidel’s reflection, published in the newspaper Granma, was the beginning
    of a counteroffensive to relegate the whole experience to a footnote,
    followed by a media onslaught and also, of course, the recently
    concluded VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only one
    authorized to chart the country’s political and economic course.

    With a massive image of Fidel looming over the event, the subject of the
    private sector was inevitable, one of the most scandalous of
    contradictions, as the regime still encourages the repudiation of
    independent journalists and opposition activists, and scorns payments
    from “the enemy” and purported accumulations of wealth.

    How is it possible to reconcile these contradictions and to render
    coherent the monstrosity that they insist, at all costs, on calling
    “socialism?” How is it possible to combine prosperity with an
    indoctrinated penalization of capital, corporate independence with the
    centralization of power, and reconciliation with hatred fanned for more
    than half a century?

    While common sense silently makes inroads on the island, the snake
    charmers are refusing to back down, and spending exorbitant amounts on a
    desperate ideological campaign, warning Cubans against the demon of
    neoliberalism. Once again confusion and discord are being sown by the
    seat of power, where the real needs of the people never were (or are)
    mentioned.

    Faithful to the concept that things are not what they are, but what they
    are called, at the Seventh Congress there was talk about the expansion
    of self-employment, and the hiring of employees by private entities,
    which has resulted in the creation of SMBs on the island – though it was
    always stressed that this “does not mean a return to capitalism.”

    However, ever since the reform under this “updated socialism” plan
    began, since the old justification for the “blockade” was put down to
    the irresponsibility of the people, as it was argued that wages could
    not be increased until production rose; ever since “unnecessary free
    benefits” were eliminated, the country’s leadership has begun to pepper
    its rhetoric with more contemporary adjectives: “prosperous and
    sustainable socialism,” as if this clarification did not entail any
    admission of the economic catastrophe the Marxist dream has meant for us.

    When Cubans who were sick and tired of promises and delays congregated
    at the Embassy of Peru in April 1980, publicly admitting that they
    wanted to abandon the country, Fidel called them “scum, the dregs,
    worms,” and they were lumped with convicts and schizophrenics so that
    the Government could evade its responsibility, and to corrupt the
    American people.

    “Obama’s children” is a less deprecating label, but one which, once
    again, seeks to shirk all responsibility. It suggests that “they’re not
    my children, they belong to another,” to the foreigner who in just two
    days rode a spontaneous wave of popularity, despite an atmosphere of
    furtive containment.

    The marielitos (who fled for the US by boat in 1980), who were seen off
    with insults and the throwing of eggs, were welcomed as winners when
    they returned as visitors of “the Community.” Historical amnesia has
    always been an element facilitating injustice, and even more so in a
    country where the vast majority is struggling just to survive, and need
    has trumped dignity.

    Of course, this is no longer a good time to be fomenting “repudiation”
    so visibly, nor to get rid of anyone who does not accept the official
    rhetoric, whether a worker, a great scientist, or an artist or a famous
    intellectual, the exhibition or publication of his work no longer being
    banned.

    “Obama’s children” suggests that self-employment is a necessary evil,
    when it is actually a right and a vital component for progress in a
    modern society. Once again an attempt is being made to belittle the
    merit and question the legitimacy of economically empowered citizens.
    Once again the government fails to admit that the real (and avoidable)
    evil has been its wrongheaded administration, and that it is the only
    one that is grudgingly accepting a change that is only natural.

    There are some who aspire to live from their work, and not the
    adulteration of products for their own countrymen, or the deviation of
    resources, with the anxiety of being discovered, or by sacrificing
    scruples to scrounge for a few crumbs. There are those who refuse to
    accept lives of dissimulation and perennial duress in exchange for
    material wellbeing. These are not “Obama’s children.” They are Cuba’s. A
    Cuba that is emerging from dormancy, disfunctionality and absurdity. A
    Cuba that yearns to play an active role in the world again.

    Source: A Government-spread rumor attempts to denigrate Cubans who
    believe in prosperity | Diario de Cuba –
    www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1461709035_21962.html

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