This reflection begins with a true story: in a certain pharmacy in the capital, a patient asks for the medicine that will take him out of the crisis in which his digestive system has fallen and out of an almost unbearable pain that has caused him to go out into the street despite the fact that the doctor has ordered absolute rest.
The needy person, who has to update his or her home address papers, carries a certificate with him or her where the word “transit”, written by the doctor, can be read, but the pharmacy technique explains that the term is only applicable to transfers between provinces.
The dialogue between the needy and those who can help becomes a dead end. At some point the technique says vaguely: “Let’s see if we understand each other, let’s see if we can “solve…”. The patient gets confused and just asks, “Will they give me the medicine or not? Suddenly someone remembers that there is only one box left with the pills that they are urging and that are destined for a very critical case in the community. The patient feels almost guilty, and without having solved his problem he leaves with a bitter and surprising memory of the phrase in which he had hinted at the possibility of a solution.
Among Cubans there are terms that allude to our incessant effort to make our way through multiple difficulties: the “battle” or “struggle”, for example, serves to remind us of the enterprising eagerness, often positive, of the children of this island. But there are words that speak to us of less clean attitudes – such as the “search” – or of invitations to “solve”, to mediate in circumstances that, so humanly delicate, do not allow the inclusion of intentions of sale and purchase.
This last word is often disconcerting to the listener, who does not know the language of “help me, I will help you”: No one who has in his soul an ethical protocol in which cheating and pillaging add to the list of anti-values will be able to comfortably assume that complicity in which “aid” has a price and in the end the feeling remains that, to the right, solutions either arrive late or never arrive, unless there is a commercial option.
To tell the truth, the desire to “seek” (i.e. to find monetary or material advantages where there are resources), or this desire to “solve” – whether from the person who charges or from the one who pays – could find multiple explanations in reality: In three decades of increased economic and social difficulties, we have seen a lot of weeds grow in the shadow of emergencies and needs; life, like water seeking to run its course, has become for many a long-distance race in which almost everything is done against the clock, desperately, in a context marked by a lack of resources, bureaucracy and inefficiency in providing services, in a country that for much more than three decades has suffered the handshake of the empire through a commercial and financial blockade.
To these known and accumulated problems we must add the new challenges arising from the reconfiguration of the country in the economic and social spheres – a stage that, as a friend told me, is reminiscent of the movement of the bowels of the Earth, that rearrangement in which many customs and moral compasses seem to be dislocated while the scenarios, like the flakes of the planet, are being rearranged.
The fact that “resolving” lives among us as a style places us as a society, since it reminds us of the importance of the right-wing paths – that is, the entities that are responsible for the well-being of all – working together and doing so with agility. The other thing is that everything we design in terms of the necessary control must implicitly bring about the natural flexibility of life: rigidity and excessive restrictions are overwhelming and lead many to wonder what to do to “resolve” problems, and how to do it.
There is another inescapable aspect to this: even the ugliest attitudes can find an explanation, which does not mean that they deserve to be justified. Therefore, even if the most diverse distortions fuel the search for shortcuts, it would not be good for the dream country to wait for everything to go well in the target world to start looking inside. To rebel against brazenness and unscrupulousness at this moment seems to me to be an act of responsibility insofar as it limits the denial of virtue; it even seems to me to be an act of faith in the best possibilities for our fellow beings.
Although clients in our country can claim and assert their rights against any violation, it is worth asking what mechanisms and norms exist today to protect them.
Author: Yaditza del Sol González | firstname.lastname@example.org
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Of course, these evils are compounded by others that affect trade in our country. These include irregularity in supplies, price-quality balance, insufficient information provided to buyers on the terms of product guarantees, few strategies and promotional initiatives, or the symptoms of apathy and mistreatment sometimes shown by staff working in stores and other establishments.
One thing is clear: to leave it to spontaneity or good faith to solve this problem would be to be naïve. The country is aware that, more than a glance, the most important thing is to take precise action, without delay, to eliminate the culture of abuse. It is not a favor to attend to the people and provide them with the service they request.
SOME OF THE COMPLAINT MECHANISMS AND CHANNELS THAT EXIST IN THE COUNTRY:
The Assemblies of Accountability of the delegate of the People’s Power of the district or private attention by this delegate.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Legal Consultations, which deal with complaints and issue consultations to citizens.
In the Councils of the Municipal and Provincial Administration, and in the companies located in the different territories where the Departments of Attention to the Population operate.
The Offices of Attention to the Population of the Communist Party of Cuba, in all its instances.
The mass media is another way for the population to lodge complaints.
SOME CONSUMER RIGHTS ESTABLISHED IN RETAIL ENTITIES.
To the satisfaction of their basic needs, through access to essential basic goods and services through the different modalities established in the country and according to their income.
The protection of the life, health, and safety of the consumer against risks caused in the supply of products and services considered dangerous, harmful and against poor quality and false or misleading advertising.
To the protection of their economic income, through fair, just and respectful treatment in the purchase and sale and contractual transactions and against coercive commercial methods or methods involving misinformation about products and services.
To the information, that is, to receive all the truthful and timely information on the different goods and services, with correct specification of quantity, characteristics, composition, quality, and price, as well as on the risks they represent.
To education and dissemination on the appropriate consumption of goods or services that ensure freedom of choice, fairness in the conduct of exchange and the preparation of the consumer to engage in responsible consumption.
To choose, which gives the possibility to satisfy the needs of consumers according to their expectations, tastes, preferences, all within a national framework and in accordance with the specific possibilities and conditions of the national economy.
To ensure that the conservation and preservation of the environment is not undermined.
To full, timely and adequate compensation for damages resulting from the purchase of the goods or services offered on the market and to effective compensation, whenever feasible, as regulated in the event of the supplier’s default.
To have access to the corresponding bodies for the protection of their rights with a view to presenting their opinions and complaints in the different instances, creating the conditions for their analysis, through agile and efficient procedures.