Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cuba's Young Rebels (Juventud Rebelde) Redefine Cuban Press

Most good intentioned Americans probably think there is no possibility that a brutily critical and honest article about the failings of the Cuban system could appear in the Cuban mass press. They have not been paying attention this past year to the erstwhile #2 newspaper Juventud Rebelde. Just check the title of the latest missive (part 1) surveying the peculiarities of Cuban commercial life:

Maintaining Momentum: The Challenge of Follow-through in Cuban Society (I)
"It’s easier to unravel the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle than to discover how to maintain quality and enthusiasm around initiatives that we undertake," said Havana resident Raymundo González. She took part in an opinion poll carried out by Juventud Rebelde with some 200 Havana residents.

This lack of perseverance is an evil that still doesn't seem still to have a cure, and that frequently filters down into the core of Cuban society.

Coming up with a diagnosis of this "illness" turned out to be a challenge worthy of Dr. House; in fact, one of the interviewees preferred to talk about what Cubans are able to do consistently, because otherwise he’d be talking for hours about programs that peter out and fail.

The French-built cross country train ceased being the best example of rail transport
The French train was one of the examples mentioned. The special service debuted in 2001; assuring riders their money back should the train arrive late at its destination —crossing the country between Havana and Santiago de Cuba— in addition to offering comfort.

"With this new option, for a few years we felt relief from the troublesome delays of the other trains, the rank odors of their bathrooms and the sorry condition of the cars... but like saying goes, 'happiness in a poor person´s house doesn’t last long,' said Raúl Álvarez, of the municipality of San Miguel del Padron.

The lateness of the trains began to become more frequent. After five years of service, they have stopped being the model of railroad travel that they used to be – and the money-back guarantee has been eliminated.

Raysa Vega, from Havana Province, noted that another of the offenses were local taco stands throughout Havana, where the celebrated Mexican tortillas were offered. They once appeared on several main streets in the capital city, but now there isn’t a single stand.

Yuselys Silveira, from Havana’s Playa neighborhood, recalled a phrase that always comes to her mind: "Let’s see how long that lasts." She has been disappointed time and again with repairs made to buildings to which the country has made significant investments in their rehabilitation, only to find problems resurfacing within a short time....

The whole thing continues like that. If there is any such withering criticism in any US mass newspaper please show me. Here is another JR classic from October 2006 explaining why Cubans sometimes are compelled to swindle their work place. I'm sure most Americans are unfamiliar with the notion....

Oh, and yes, Cubans love the show House apparently....

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