Raúl Castro’s speech at the inauguration of his new post as President of the Council of State has not cleared up my already-chronic doubts. The repeated mention of changes to come, but without detailing them, and of the prohibitions that are going to be eliminated – although for the moment without specifying them – have left me the same doubts. The extension due “within weeks” or “in the course of this year” for putting into practice some of these adjustments, reminds me of the coveted glass of milk, promised by him last July 26, and still absent from my frugal breakfast.
Yesterday I felt like the French Egyptologist Champollion, trying to decipher every word, every new person promoted within the government. While I was unable to interpret the totality of what happened, I can identify some possible signs and directions. The fact, for example, that Machado Ventura is now the vice president, is an indication that there will not be flexibility, nor the feel of the new generation, to mark the next steps. Orthodoxy, verticality and extreme loyalty seem to arise from one who, almost a decade ago, signed a measure to prohibit Christmas trees in public places. His presence as “number two,” despite the fact that he got only 601 of the 609 votes, disheartens most of the “enthusiasts” of the Raulista government.
From the intentions to adjust the words of the daily discourse of my existence, I am left with “the cessation of free benefits… unsustainable.” The phrase has moved me to launch a modest proposal: change the three pounds of dark and white sugar, the three monthly kilos of rice, and the packet of coffee I am given at the ration store, for one extended dose of freedom of expression. I know my shopkeeper will be frightened if I show him the bag while asking for a few ounces of “freedom of association,” a couple of tablespoons of “free opinion” and even a small portion of “freedom to decide.” I am sure I’m wrong, but something like this is how I would have liked to interpret what I heard yesterday.
The Egyptian hieroglyphics are, most of the time, much easier to unravel than the boring statism of Cuban politics.