samedi 10 décembre 2016
LIMINALITY OF CHARACTER OF CUBANS IN GENERAL : HAVANA AND MIAMI
When they talk about OPPRESSION or MARGINALIZATION the outsiders especially those with conservative point of view in Miami and elsewhere are thinking of the Politics in CUBA. Most people who are acquainted with CUBA would agree that the population of CUBA has more holistic sense of FREEDOM than many countries in the AMERICAS possibly including USA
What the government is not willing to do is that to sacrifice the FREEDOM of the society for the INDIVIDUAL freedom. Most Europeans and Americans think of FREEDOM on an individual scale but not how that affects the society as a whole. So no single individual in CUBA has the FREEDOM to exploit another person. This is true now than what was seen and experienced by the Turkish poet Nizat Hakim in 1963.
In fact the individual freedom in this country has really turned out to be in tune with the ideals of the society, like the one Che Guevara envisioned. The freedom the individual has been diverted into the welfare of the society as a whole, whether owning a flower shop or a Paladar or a cellphone repair place. It is when it becomes exploitation, then the government would step in. Cuba will never have people like Donald Trump in their wealth and character nor the ilk of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio even though both of them are of Cuban Origin. The latter two bring shame to the Cubans in the island.
The OPPRESSION exists in the economic sphere where the State dominates such as shops in prime locations or in hotels. Once individuals are allowed to operate those stores, the current oppression of the individual the tool of which is the availability of the tourist dollar or what is called CUC.
I was wandering around the “shopping arcade” of one of the finest hotels in the city, the Habana Libre. Apart from Rum and Cigars the quality of merchandise offered was mediocre at best. The clothes and accoutrements seemed designed by retired set designers from the Old Soviet Union. And the prices were ridiculously high and inappropriate. Apart from Rum and Cigars all the merchandise were made abroad and it seems that the buyers or sellers were especially motivated by the exploitation of those with tourist dollars, such as the tourists or those with relatives abroad and the worst of them all, the hustlers such as taxi drivers and self-appointed tour guides.
The pharmacy was selling medicines at such a high price that I am not sure who would be buying them. The Cuban doctors are guilty in that they would recommend some medications of dubious value (non pharmacological ones such as the ones to increase ones “immunity”), so that the Cubans with access to the tourist dollars (not in the categories above) would waste such good money which could be used to improve the quality of their life by improving their homes or supporting other local entrepreneurs who offer their expertise on a barter basis. Shampoo made in Canada was being offered under some pretext for three times the price of the local shampoo. What is the logic behind selling Issey Miyake perfume at inflated prices than other countries or airports? Who buys them and if someone does, what sort of exploitation is that?
There is the concept of Liminality in Anthropologist, proposed and propagated by the anthropologist Turner after living with the Ndembu in Zambia. Cubans under the evolving system can find themselves liminal because they are uncomfortable in spheres outside the ones they know how to manipulate. An Ambassador said to me: when I meet them in their sphere, they are so sweet and amiable but outside that sphere, such as in the diplomatic houses or embassies they are far less nice and far more devious. They try to get away with what they can. That reminds me of the recently arrived Cubans in Miami, who are also attracted to the loopholes in the American capitalist system and look for a quick way to accumulate some cash.
Perhaps that explains why Miami has become a centre of fraud: cheating government schemes to extract as much money as possible or illegally. The law of wet foot, dry foot (now for 17500, human traffickers from Miami would organize your way to the border with Mexico) gives the “political refugees” much financial and material help (there are hardly any political refugees crossing the border, almost 100 per cent of them economic refugees much like those from Haiti or Guatemala or Mexico, only Cubans are welcomed or forced to welcome by an archaic law from the cold war era.
Without doubt Cubans are ingenious and if they put their genius towards the betterment of every one (like in Cuba) rather than for themselves and their cronies (such as the Cubans in Miami), both sides of the Straits of Florida would be better.
People who have heard propaganda from Miami all their lives are surprised when they come to visit, it is not the horrid picture they had been painted but a country with a bright future, incredibly good social present and peopled by the friendliest people in the Americas!
Come and Visit CUBATwo of my closest friends, both psychologists, we have been friends for a very long time.
I have become very busy welcoming guests each and every month from YUMA (as north America is referred to in Cuba) and without fail all of them fall in love with Cuba and become vocal supporters and become skeptical of the propaganda dished out of Miami.