Tuesday, April 1, 2008



After two decades of tourist’s apartheid, Cubans are once again "allowed" (as arrogant as this may sound) by the government to purchase their stay in hotel resorts. This was no generous change, it was the result of popular pressures and discontent with this and many other discriminatory measures. Even the most orthodox young militants of the Communist Youth (UJC) publicly expressed their oppossition to these measures in a meeting with Ricardo Alarcón.

Yet, the rest of the changes proposed by young militants, namely an end to the double economy in which cubans receive a salary in pesos and purchase products in convertible pesos (the equivalente to US dollars) have not been addressed.

The average price for a hotel room in Cuba is $98 dollars per day and Cubans make no more than $20 dollars per month. This salary is not the choice of the people, nor should be seen as only a matter of poverty like in other third world countries. It arises from a government measure that prohibits Cubans to sell their labor to whomever they desire. There is no reason other than ideological for these low misery-salaries, particularly when we talk of a country with 98% literacy rate and millions of university and college graduates - who in any free market economy would constitute the middle classes.

With ornamental measures that do not address the fundamental issue of changes to the root of all problems which is found in the socio political system itself, it matters very little whether the regime allows the sale of DVD’s or computers. With a salary of $20 dollars a month, ordinary Cubans are still forced by the totalitarian state to remain dependant, vulnerable and powerless.