Translator: Adrian Rodriguez

Photo : A. Betancourt Monzo

Paternalism. Social doctrine in which the relationship of the employer and his employees is similar to the ones existing between family members. That’s the entry for this word on the Larousse dictionary.

Lately the national TV news, the same one I try to avoid if at all possible because I can not relax when I see it for more than two minutes, is covering the Party assemblies that are happening all over the island. I turned on the TV trying to find something interesting to watch and because I couldn’t find anything, I briefly watched the coverage of one of these assemblies. This one in particular was happening in the Santa Clara province. One of the participants said very seriously, that if the cows gave milk every day it was because they ate every day. Because I had turned the TV on when the assembly was already in session for a while I couldn’t appreciate if it was a joke or not. At this point one of the members at the table, fat neck and a guayabera shirt, said, putting a lot of emphasis on his statement, that we have to put an end to the paternalism.

And I asked to myself: Who imposed the paternalism as a system in our country? Whom did they ask for permission for to apply it?

This is the grocery store where you are enrolled to be a customer.

This is the ration card that you have to use to purchase.

This is the quota of food you are allowed to buy.

This is the medical center that you have to go when you need attention.

This is the doctor assigned to you.

This is the doctor’s office where you have to go as a patient.

This is the daycare your son has to go to.

This is the school assigned to him.

This is the teacher that will teach him.

These are the college careers that you can choose from.

This is the career that your son must study.

And on, and on, the list could be interminable. Without counting the many years that toys and clothing were assigned to you depending which group’s turn it was to buy and depending also at which store your coupons were assigned.

Translated by Adrian Rodriguez

June 20 2011


The very first time I sat at front of a PC, around six years ago, I thought that it was the end for me. It doesn’t matter how many times Alfredo, my son, told me, “It won’t break so easily,” I was so afraid every time I touched any key thinking that all of a sudden everything will be dark and a catastrophe will happen.

I am not a brave person, neither am I a coward, but a very cautious person indeed. The problem is that on my planet, when something breaks, it is for ever and ever, there’s no way to fix it, it is broken for life, moreover when involves equipment of such scarce technology.

Finally, with practice and perseverance I’ve been learning a little bit, enough to communicate with the outside world (where my family and friends are) and, even making a blog!

I am telling you all this, because recently someone gave me a cell phone as a gift and immediately I got a crash course on how to use it. This is the reason why I beg you to forgive me, due to the fact as you’ve probably already noticed, I just met this helpful little blue bird, which on countless occasions helped to save the physical integrity of my fellow colleagues who share with me my planet.

I hope you forgive my rookie skills twittering. I promise to work hard not to make any more mistakes, and avoid one more time being bitten by underdevelopment.

Translated by: Adrian Rodriguez

June 13 2011