I believe I am one of the few Cubans under forty who reads the national press every day. My friends, seeing this eccentric hobby, have warned me that this may be the shortest route to a stomach ulcer. However, I like to search the press for the rising profile of one or another political figure, the news that passes from the front page to oblivion and, most of all, those constantly repeated omissions in our newspapers.
I have not overlooked, for example, that the newspapers insist that difficulties in the economy and in services are the fruit of social indiscipline, vandalism and lack of control. This frees the country’s hierarchy and its political and economic model from any responsibility. The problems exist, they explain to us, because we have not known how to implement the script, not because the “play” is incapable of being staged.
The police have been launched in the search for the “undisciplined” and the vandals, and one of the onslaughts has involved “divers” who collect raw material, food and objects in the trash. Without those who collect plastic bottles, cartons and scrap metal from garbage dumps, these recyclable materials would be lost to wastefulness which is inconsistent with our limited resources. These hands, sunk in the stinking waste, have independently accomplished that which the institutions, with their centralized organization, have not been able to do.
But the “divers,” according to this new offensive, give the city a bad image. They could be caught by the shutter of a tourist’s camera and destroy the imaginary argument that, “in Cuba, nobody digs in the trash.” Their presence speaks of displaced person, poverty-stricken conditions, of illegals who prefer “to search the trash of a great city, rather than work for a symbolic salary in the countryside.”
The newspaper Granma reports on a punishment, thus: “…those who gather solid waste,” are threatened with expulsion from the capital for being in the double category of “diver” and “illegal.”
Text from article in Granma:
“Of the 355 people taken to a Provincial Classification Center, 290 were fined, 20 submitted to the community where they reside, 45 referred to their respective home provinces for living illegally in the capital, 11 re-offenders sanctioned to corrective labor without internment, while the other 59 multiple re-offenders will be criminally prosecuted.”
To read the complete text in Spanish: batida_a_los_buzos.gif