Corruption and the Morality of Survival / Dimas Castellano
Corruption and the Morality of Survival / Dimas Castellano
Dimas Castellanos, Translator: Unstated
Corruption — the action of corrupting — is the result of many causes,
that range from personal conduct to the political-economic system of
each country. It is an ancient social phenomenon to that occurs to a
greater or lesser extent in all societies and has been present
throughout the history of Cuba.
In the colony, the gift of the Governor Don Luis de las Casas to the
Creole classes was the diversion of funds for the construction of La
Cabaña, the gambling den and cockpit that the leader Francisco Dionisio
Vives had in the Army Castke for their entertainment. In the first half
of the twentieth century the conduct of the political-economic-military
elite, emerging from the wars of independence, who made use of public
positions for individual purposes, a picture Carlos Loveira reflected in
his novel General and Doctors; later between 1940 and 1958 politicians
and officials turned corruption into one of the worst evils, to the
point where Eduardo Chibas attacked this scourge during the election
campaign for the presidential elections to be held in 1952. In the
second half of the twentieth century, corruption, which had been
confined to the political and administrative sphere, became a widespread
Thus, corruption is not new, nor did it arise with the Revolution of
1959, what it new is its presence at all levels and spheres of society
and the emergence of a dominant negative morality and threatens to
become the culture.
The reason for this transformation is in the slide towards
totalitarianism that is weakening civic responsibility; the
implementation of an economic system unable to establish an appropriate
relationship between wages and cost of living, generated frustration and
despair. What was the dilemma of the Cuban family in such conditions,
with regards to survival?
If, in addition, this behavior was socially accepted and each family of
one form or another was forced to use it, then it had to predominate.
Faced with the phenomenon, the government's response was limited to
repression, vigilance, and inspection, that is, actions on the effects
without attacking the causes, as reflected in the official press during
the first decade of this century.
The newspaper Juventud Rebelde, May 22, 2001, in Corruption Fighter. A
people's inspector in charge of trade violations explained that when he
detects a crime, the violators would say, "We have to live, we have to
struggle," and tell him, when he tried to stand up for the rights of
citizens, "they defend their own victimization"; and on the 1st and 15th
of October, in The Great Old Deception, he reported that of 222,656
inspections conducted between January and August 2005, by comprehensive
inspectors, they found price violations and alterations in products in
52% of the commercial centers examined, and in 68% of the agricultural
The newspaper Granma, November 28, 2003, in Pricing Violations and the
Never-Ending Battle, says that in the first eight months of this year,
36% of establishments inspected were found to have irregularities in
markets, fairs, squares and in agricultural markets the index was above
47%, and in food service establishments it was 50%.
In the February 20, 2004, Granma, in Dealing Effectively with
Irregularities and Economic Crimes, the Minister of Audit and Control,
Lina Pedraza, said, "The causes and conditions that cause crimes and
other violations are well know," among which she mentioned a set ranging
from "insufficient confirmation of the origin and final destination of
the products," to "insufficient supervision of the auditing system."
In the edition of December 24, 2005, it was reported that the regular
meeting of the Popular Power National Assembly, Pedro Ross, then
Secretary General of the CTC [Cuban Workers Union], "Commented and said
that there are employees who are responding, but others do not and
continue to justify the thefts and other misconduct."
On February 16, 2007, in Cannibals in the Towers, it addressed the theft
of the pylons that support the transmission of high voltage electricity
and acknowledged that "technical, administrative and legal methods
implemented to date have not slowed the banditry," while on October 26,
2010, in the Price of Indolence, it was reported that in the
municipality of Corralillo, in Villa Clara, over 300 homes were built
with stolen materials and resources, for which they dismantled 25
kilometers of railway lines and used 59 of the aforementioned pylons
from the high tension towers.
From official information, alternative media and rumors that circulate,
a list can be compiled of companies and state agencies and senior
officials involved in corruption cases between 2010 and 1011. Among
them, the Sugar Industry, Basic Industry, Food Industry, Tourism,
Aeronautics and Air transport, Internal Trade, Tobacco Industry,
Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Sports, and Information Technology
and Telecommunications. Many of these cases involved officials and
members of the Communist Party.
In an interview of the political scientist Esteben Morales conducted by
journalist Patricia Grogg, he characterized "corruption as an
extraordinary danger" for its "corrosive power", which makes it a matter
of "national security." That is, despite as army of inspectors and
inspectors of the inspectors, of the hundreds of workers and officials
convicted of bribery, diversion, theft and robbery, and the laws and
resolutions, corruption continued on its march.
In an interview published in Juventud Rebelde on the 19th and 26th of
February, 2012, Gladys Bejerano, Comptroller of the Republic, stated:
I"n our experience, the causes of corruption range from the fact that
there was no control of contracts, because those who should have done it
did not, and those who had to review it did not review it, and if they
did review it they did not do so in any depth.
It is known that the contracts and their reviews are an important
mechanism for efficiency, but that aspect does not exhaust the causes of
corruption. If this evil in the time before 1959 remained essentially in
the political-administrative,realm, one must ask what factors caused its
generalization. From my point of view, what is new is in the
disappearance of thousands of homeowners who watched over their property
and the replacement of this ownership by the Boss [Fidel Castro] with
the concept of ownership by all the people, which combined with
inadequate wages, led to theft, bribery and other negative manifestations.
Elsewhere in the interview the Comptroller said: If, for the Revolution,
it is a matter of life or death to fight corruption, to protect state
resources and also to work for greater efficiency, if that is so, and
who made the Revolution? The people, because it is the people who have
to struggle for it and the people who have to defend it.
The fact is that if the people made the Revolution it was not to be
deprived of their property or to be paid a wage that is unable to meet
basic needs, which explains that the same people had to adopt the
morality of the survivor to survive, or escape to other places on the
If to change everything all that is needed is to try, then there is no
other way than to take the path of rights and freedoms for Cubans, like
any other people, and to earn a salary that corresponds to the cost of
living, to be able to participate in the economy of their country, not
just as workers but also as owners and investors, so that in reality
many Cubans, along with the State, will watch over their own property
and not "the property of the whole people." Without this, corruption
will continue along an unstoppable path.
Published April 2, 2012 in Diario de Cuba.
April 13 2012