Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Market tanks.... in Havana.

Farmers' markets in Havana have tanked completely.
Black market operators -for good and services- have been chased and pursued all over the city, buyers, hagglers, sellers, all.
So, in the aftermath of the two major hurricanes that hit the island in the past days, the situation for the Cuban people goes from bad to worse, to the worst point.

Let's do some chronological analysis, spiced with some geographical pointers.... The first hurricane Gustav affected mainly areas located in the isle of Pines, the southern shore of Havana and most of Pinar del Rio. Ike affected the easternmost areas of Cuba, among them the birthplaces of fidel castro and his nephews the Diaz Balarts. Havana and its environs were affected only by wind and rain, without catastrophic consequences if one does not count the interruption of phone and electricity, and the collapse of buildings which have not met a maintenance crew since January 1, 1959. So, those problems were "revolution-made, not hurricane-caused".

Therefore, between hurricanes, and after Ike, there were amounts of produce still available in the farmers' markets of Havana.
The only thing is that offer and demand were setting the prices a bit high, but they were tending to an equilibrium, as in all natural systems, market included. Not to the liking of raul or fidel -who by the way, is inching back towards power. He discovered that not holding more power than Primer Secretario del Partido allows him to invent a new kind of dictatorship, which is more efficient in the only thing that his dictatorship has been efficient: the arts and sciences of repression. People were counting bank notes, C.U.Cs, dollars, and euros, and they were not happy. Whatever happened to their socialized misery to subjugate the population in a time of crisis? Didn't they need more fear and more hunger to exert control over the masses? Something needed to be done!

Then the infamous phrase came from heavens -or was it from hell?- to provide them with inspiration for their own rescue: en Cuba no hace falta dinero porque no hay nada que comprar! -there's no need of money in Cuba because there's nothing to buy! That was the solution: clean the markets. Jail the vendors and the sellers. Take their money. All under the auspices of one of the many "edicts" published on Granma, as suggested by "El Primer Secretario del Partido". The castros hurried up and applied their neo-Weylerian policy against the people of Cuba, at a lower cost than what was spent at the sunset of the nineteenth century. With the country in ruins, not as a result of an insurrection, but as the result of crushing possible insurrections, to force a famine is a very easy task. Additionally, it's even easier when there's a bulk of prefabricated propaganda which is ready to be used by the tyranny as part of their psychological warfare against the civilian population to prevent protests and uprisings. Terror and hunger go together, as the evil twins they are.

Now there's nothing to buy in Cuba, but the money is still needed for people to survive and to buy their staples from an underground net of sellers, both to feed their families and to subvert the "order" imposed by the "authorities". The inhabitants of towns, cities, and villages that were self sufficient after the hurricanes were rendered not into a set pressure cookers, but drove into grinding machines that are ripping away the flesh of their inhabitants and crushing their bones to a bloody paste.