Certain stubborn statistics are never announced in the media; much better to keep them hidden in spite of their significance. In addition to the number of suicides, abortions and divorces, the real number of unemployed are also concealed. The news media and billboards would have us believe we live in a society where everyone has the chance to find a job and distance themselves from any inclination to vagrancy. So many hands producing nothing, however, is the essence of a system that has transformed work into a mirage, and wages into a bad joke.
Some days ago on TV there was a short program about youth unemployment, but it didn’t mention the current number not working. Havana, at ten in the morning on a weekday, is the best evidence of how many people don’t have a job to earn their living. The parks, sidewalks and every corner, filled with people during working hours, is more reliable than the low numbers of unemployed reported in the annual statistics. According to a cautious specialist who spoke in front of the cameras, many young people have a false estimation of their talents and so won’t accept certain jobs. She was followed by an interview in Granma Province, at the Department of Socio-Cultural Studies, where recent graduates complained about their job assignments as “floor-cleaners” or mosquito inspectors.
So much verbal juggling to ignore that while salaries remain so low, young people don’t have any motivation to work. They don’t see the appeal of self-denial or calls to save the Fatherland with their daily efforts, unless they get paid enough money to allow them to lead a decent life. The planned “New Man” is not so different from the rest of humanity: he wants to use his time and energy on something that returns prosperity and well-being That shouldn’t be so difficult for the experts to understand, nor so systematically ignored by the statistics.