Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cuba and mystical numbers

Cuba is a mystical place where you are traveling back in time and back in numbers as you can say. Every time you try to decipher Cuba’s Economy, or Cuba’s picture you are drowned in numbers, quotes and statistics that never give you the real face of what it is behind those numbers.Minolta DSC

Recently, Raul Castro threw a few blocks of statistics in from of the deputies in our National Assembly. He said our economy in 2009 suffered a plunge. According to him the exportations dropped a 23%, the importations a 37% and the annual investments a 16%. Those numbers mean nothing to the citizen who is trying to find his daily sustenance.

For a long time we had been exposed to such a heavy shelling of numbers through our leaders speeches, especially to the grace of Fidel Castro, who always was a fanatic shooter of those numbers in public to show our amazing achieves, that we already lost our faith on them.

My memories about those long speeches are lost in my childhood. The first image of our leader is in front of the TV or in a public space tossing his hands and throwing a 4 hours speech with numbers. Mystical numbers never confirmed in any real improvement in our streets.

There was the times of the children nurseries followed by the times of the Doctors’ offices followed by whatever. Today, many of them are empties or in need of maintenance, or their physicians are in Venezuela. The children nurseries are lost in the past: nobody talks about them and also in need of maintenance.

Recently, in the Miami Herald, Carlos Alberto Montaner wrote an article talking about Cuba’s Economy which I recommend. In it, Montaner said, with his proverbial capacity to bring numbers to the real context, how our first industry, Sugar Cane, in 2009 produced the same amount of sugar that Cuba produced in 1902, when our fellows didn’t have electricity, trucks and tractors.

I’m not sure if those numbers are correct, by for sure, in 2003, 71 sugar cane factories were converted into metal scrap by the recycle industry, ordered by Fidel Castro. Meanwhile, Cuba has plans to build 9 of those factories in Venezuela.

That is our mystical Cuba: scraping our national economy to create wealth abroad. And then our mystical leaders are painting a gloomy landscape to 2010 in our Parliament, close to Christmas, as a sort of miraculous message to our nation.

Sometimes I had just imagined Fidel Castro with a bouquet of daisies walking silently, his Greek silhouette crawling over the quiet tombs of Colon Cemetery in Havana, and praying in front of the shrine erected to Amelia Goyri in that cemetery, knows as “La Milagrosa” (The Miracoulous”).

I know it sounds silly, and out of question it is improbable, but even though you know it is not going to happen and it never happened, you have to realize that or he was dreaming a dream every time he predicted any of those dramatic “predictions” about Cuba, or the most probably he forgot he was in front of millions of people and not begging to our “Milagrosa”.

That image came to me that afternoon when he predicted our nation will be the most cultured in the whole world. I mean, come on, how many times did we hear those assertions on TV?

Just the whole idea about Castro walking through the tombs with a bouquet of flowers is hilarious, but the spirit is so accurate in essence, isn’t it? I just take the poetic licence to add a bit more. For me, he is holding in one hand his daisies and in the other he is carrying a broken hourglass clock. Then, when he reaches our dear “Milagrosa”, he put down both and asks her what to do.

I know what you are going to say: he is not the appropriate person to beg her in favour of our people, mostly because he never did. I guess our “Milagrosa” listens ordinary people begging her about some deaths, failed hopes and resignations, but she never bring hope to a person who, during his entire life, has been publicly announcing the same assortments without any conviction.

I would add, “La Milagrosa” never listens tyrants, basically because they never bring faith.