For the last six months, morning orientations have been reinstated, like an obligation, in all workplaces. This is not a new direction, simply a return to an old one that in recent years had been put out to pasture along with the other things “almost no one believes in.” So, alongside the militia uniform, the helmet of the microbrigadista* and the diploma highlighting “socialist emulation,” this ancient specimen of ideological indoctrination has also returned.
Normally it is carried out on Friday before the start of the workday, with the same dullness and lack of interest that has, for some time, affected the morning schools. Most of the participants do as they’re told, applaud with feigned enthusiasm at the end of some phrase said with an intonation of officiousness, and sigh with relief when everything ends. For the administrator who fails at the task of organizing it, they have already written up the sanctions that will result.
Some day when we prepare a place of honor for the absurd things of this period, we will need to save a space for the morning orientation. There we will gather up the stifled yawn, the subdued tone for singing a hymn – almost a whisper – the patriotic poems full of rubble and common places, the yellow files with the speeches that seemed to never end, and the knocked-about, tattered ephemera. Meanwhile, we have to assist in its forced rebirth.
* Translator’s note
Microbrigadista = “In 1971 a novel form of sweat equity, the microbrigades, accompanied government investments. Under this system groups of employees from given workplaces would form brigades to build housing while other employees agreed to maintain production at current levels. Housing units were then allocated among the employees from that workplace…. Microbrigades experienced a revival in 1986 due to several social forces.”
Source: Kapur and Smith, Housing Policy in Castro’s Cuba, 2002