By Jorge Rodríguez Hernández
April 28, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
“Now more than ever, we must rescue respect for the law and fight a corrupt socialism that masks the dangerous underground economy.
Graziella Pogolotti (La gangrena, Juventud Rebelde, 1 May 2016, p.3)
Thirty or more years ago, as part of my research – still in progress – on the underground economy and its different features, I wrote that speculation constitutes the visible face of the black market, due to the role played by those who plunder the goods of the public treasury, in collusion with drivers, through crime on wheels, and through a sort of symbiosis with citizens who work in state agencies, without ruling out links with marginal subjects. As you will infer, it is a complex skein.
We are in the presence of an issue similar to a hydra, with different tentacles, whose neutralization requires the use of an integral and multidisciplinary approach. The recent dismantling of a clandestine network of 13 members, who were engaged in stealing different equipment and goods from the warehouses of the National Medical Supplies Company (ENSUME), located in Berroa, east of Havana, demonstrates the need and urgency to cut off these illicit activities, in order to prevent the advance of this corrupting pandemic, in the midst of Cuba’s confrontation with another pandemic that is also lethal: COVID-19.
For the Cuban psychiatrist and criminalist, Dr. Fernando Barral, a student of economic crime on the island, the shortage is a “contributing circumstance”, but this expert believes that “one cannot wait for everything to be in place to resolve this phenomenon to some extent”, and whose existence compromises the survival of the Revolution, as has been said repeatedly.
During the crisis of the 1990s, when the country lived through the Special Period in peacetime, the mismatch between supply and demand reinforced the tentacles and space of the black market, and during that time the amount of transactions on the black market grew more than 20 times, according to economists’ calculations.
When I mention speculation and hoarding, criminal figures in the current Penal Code, I am not talking about small-scale operations, nor about a certain number of people who have found a way of life in this illicit act -which should not be underestimated and much less justified-, but I am also referring to the thinking heads of large smuggling operations, who transfer goods and products from state agencies to the black market.
Cuba must take very much into account the circumstances of the failure of the French Revolution, which was not because of the extremist actions of terrorism, but because it did not find ways to consolidate the masses and direct them against both the big and the small parasites.
In the script applied to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) by the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), between 1953 and 1961, Allen W. Dulles, was “actively and constantly encouraging (…) the despotism of officials, bribery, corruption, lack of principle”, and his “main bet” was on “the youth”, which “we will corrupt, demoralize, pervert”.
The causes of the failure of socialism in the former USSR always deserve a critical and instructive look from Cuba, both here and now, and towards the future. To corroborate this last point, there is “the precedent of the mythical “Uncle Basia” (the figure of the clandestine speculator on a large scale who emerged in the Brezhnev era), who with the penguins of profits accumulated in 20 years is today devastating the auctions of state property with constant and resounding money,” as the magazine Bohemia reported in July 1992.
por Jorge Rodríguez Hernández
Abril 28, 2020
“Ahora más que nunca, hay que rescatar el respeto a la ley y combatir un socialismo corruptor que enmascara la peligrosa economía sumergida”.
Graziella Pogolotti (La gangrena, Juventud Rebelde, 1 de mayo de 2016, p.3)
Hace 30 o más años, como parte de mi investigación- vigente aún- sobre economía sumergida y sus disímiles rasgos, escribí que la especulación constituye la cara visible del mercado negro, por el papel que desempeñan quienes depredan los bienes de la hacienda pública, en contubernio con choferes, mediante el delito sobre ruedas, y a través de una suerte de simbiosis con ciudadanos que laboran en las dependencias estatales, sin descartar vínculos con sujetos marginales. Como inferirán, se trata de una compleja madeja.
Estamos en presencia de un asunto semejante a una hidra, con disímiles tentáculos, cuya neutralización pasa por el empleo de un enfoque integral y multidisciplinario. La reciente desarticulación de una red clandestina de 13 integrantes, quienes se dedicaban a sustraer disímiles equipos y bienes en almacenes de la Empresa Nacional de Suministros Médicos (ENSUME), ubicados en Berroa, al este de La Habana, demuestra la necesidad y urgencia de cortar estos ilícitos, para impedir el avance de esta pandemia corruptora, en medio del enfrentamiento de Cuba contra otra pandemia también letal: la COVID-19.
Para el psiquiatra y criminalista cubano, doctor Fernando Barral, estudioso de la delincuencia económica en la Isla, la escasez resulta una “circunstancia contribuyente”, pero dicho experto considera que “no puede esperarse a que haya de todo para resolver este fenómeno en cierta medida”, y cuya existencia compromete la supervivencia de la Revolución, como se ha dicho, de forma reiterada.
Durante la crisis de los años 90 del pasado siglo XX, cuando el país vivió el Período Especial en tiempo de paz, el desencuentro entre oferta y demanda, reforzó los tentáculos y espacio del mercado negro, y en el transcurso de esa época el monto de las transacciones en el mismo crecieron más de 20 veces, según cálculos de economistas.
Cuando menciono la especulación y el acaparamiento, figuras delictivas en el Código Penal vigente, no hablo de operaciones de poca monta, ni de una determinada cifra de personas que han encontrado un modo de vida en este ilícito -lo cual no debe se subestimado y mucho menos justificado-, sino me refiero también a las cabezas pensantes de grandes operaciones de contrabando, quienes trasvasan mercancías y productos de las dependencias estatales hacia el mercado negro.
Cuba debe tener muy en cuenta las circunstancias del fracaso de la Revolución Francesa, lo cual no fue a causa de las acciones extremistas del terrorismo, sino por no haber encontrado vías para consolidar a las masas y dirigirlas tanto en contra de los parásitos grandes como de los pequeños.
En el guion aplicado a la ex Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas (URSS) por parte del jefe de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia de Estados Unidos (CIA), entre 1953 y 1961, Allen W. Dulles, se propició de una forma “activa y constante (…) el despotismo de los funcionarios, el soborno, la corrupción, la falta de principios”, y su “principal apuesta” fue “la juventud”, la cual “corromperemos, desmoralizaremos, pervertiremos”.
Las causas del fracaso del socialismo en la ex URSS, merece siempre una mirada crítica y aleccionadora por parte de Cuba, tanto aquí y ahora, como hacia el futuro. Para corroborar esto último, ahí está “el precedente del mítico “tío Basia” (la figura del especulador clandestino a gran escala surgido en la era Brezhnev), quien con los pingües beneficios acumulados en 20 años arrasa hoy con dinero constante y sonante en las subastas de la propiedad estatal”, como reseñó la revista Bohemia en julio de 1992.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
According to the German sociologist, philosopher, economist, jurist, historian and political scientist Max Weber, considered one of the founders of the modern study of sociology and public administration, Protestantism is one of the foundational elements of the origin of capitalism.
Based on this same logic of development, it is evident that the reactionary and traditional neo-Pentecostal church – born in and exported by the United States – is a fundamental part of the current neoliberal phase of capitalism. It promotes the non-intervention of the State in society, is in favor of the cruelest individualism, alien to all social solidarity and which even privileges religious control even over the health of the population.
This is approximately how Jorge Elbaum, doctor of economics, sociologist, researcher, teacher, journalist and poet, sees it in his article “Shepherds of the Virus”.
The model of the charismatic mass pastors was exported by the United States to Latin America in the 1970s to weaken Liberation Theology, a current of the Catholic Church committed to the destiny of the poorest.
Pastor Gerard Glenn, a leader of the New Deliverance Evangelistic congregation in Richmond, challenged recommendations of social isolation by stating that “God is greater than this dreaded virus” and warned that he would not consent to the temporary closure of his church. “I’m essential as a preacher because I talk to God,” he said. Glenn died last March 22 from a coronavirus, but his wife is still fighting the disease.
The same fate befell Landon Spradlin, leader of Virginia’s evangelical community, who became a staunch defender of Donald Trump’s tenets. On March 25, he died at age 65, shortly after claiming that the quarantine was basically aimed at “manipulating the lives of American citizens” and that its communication through the media was producing “unnecessary terror.
In mid-April, Life Way Christian Resources of Tennessee published the results of a survey on pastors’ perceptions of the pandemic: 81 percent of those surveyed said that “the love of many believers is dissipating as a result of social distancing,” which is why their congregations should be kept open.
In South Korea, the Church of Jesus – known as the congregation of Shincheon, which promotes mass assemblies – became the epicentre of the COVID contagion in that country. Its leader, Pastor Lee Man-Hee, urged his followers to oppose the government’s harsh isolation measures. Sixty percent of the total number of infected people in the country belong to this group.
In crisis situations like the present one, religious fundamentalisms (of all denominations) counterpose human regulations to the law of God, demanding obedience to divine mandates that they supposedly interpret and manage. Their open-minded claims are motivated by expectations of losses in the collection of contributions and tithes from parishioners.
Leaders of denominational orthodoxy believe that lack of income can lead to the failure of their business enterprises. The logical fear generated by the pandemic allows fundamentalist leaders to appeal to apocalyptic discourse and to advise sinners of a return to revealed truth.
In Latin America, the neo-Pentecostal tradition was consolidated by spreading the so-called prosperity gospel, which holds that wealth is a divine gift. Billionaires, for that tradition, are subjects who have been rewarded by the deity and lack responsibility for the inequity they create.
According to their references, they cannot be accused of pettiness because by accumulating wealth they subject the rest of humanity to misery. This ideological position defends sexism and patriarchy, and attacks LGBT identities, feminist movements and/or those who promote the voluntary termination of pregnancy.
May 18, 2020.
This article can be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
An eventual re-election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States would once again frustrate the expectations of many. These are people who, throughout the world, have believed it possible for the American people, on their own, to be able to condemn the policy contrary to international law and the rules of coexistence practiced by the governments of both parties representing the oligarchic interests that alternate in the presidency of that North American country.
The 2020 presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, and will be the fifty-ninth (59th) presidential election in the United States. On November 3, 2020, voters will elect the electors who will in turn choose the new president and vice president through the Electoral College.
Only about half of Americans – because most who are eligible to vote are not interested in or don’t trust the political system that calls itself the most democratic in the world. They will go to the polls to complete the ritual of voting for the man who will govern the most powerful country in the history of our planet for the next four years.
The usual thing is that there is not much difference between the options presented to the voters. They are always two billionaires who identify very little with the interests of the average citizen and much less with the needs of the lower income population, which has never been taken into account in that very rich country.
But what is unusual about these 2020 elections is that the comparison regarding the candidates’ finances has been replaced by ideological approaches, since one of them has broken with the rules that have governed candidates’ speeches.
As Obama’s vice president, Biden was characterized by support for Obama’s policies on international relations and social issues, especially in designing the strategy for troop withdrawals from Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.
His negotiating experience was useful during negotiations with the Republican Party in Congress on tax policy, the economy and budgets, and was vital in the passage of the 2011 Budget Control Act and the 2012 Tax Relief Act.
In addition, there was his role in the Obama administration’s efforts to limit gun sales, fight sexual abuse on college campuses, and seek remedies for the lack of health insurance in the low-income population.
But let no one be fooled. There’s an opulent economic oligarchy that no one has ever elected and that has never been put to the test. It’s a plutocratic oligarchy of big corporations, which is the real core of real power. It will continue to rule the destiny of the great American nation and will remain the determining factor in American national and global political life.
It is well-known that at the head of the empire there would still be that US economic hierarchy that would only formally cede its power to a political leadership that -using the government- would make the oligarchic morality and laws prevail, while taking care of internal order and neutralizing the internal conflicts.
Although this supreme power of the enormous transnational corporations also determines domestic policy, it is in the sphere of foreign policy that its control is most clearly expressed.
It was American businessmen and bankers who determined the transformation of the world into a marketplace. They also wanted the replacement of diplomacy by the system of pressure, threats, blockades, aggressions and occupations of entire countries that currently characterizes US foreign policy.
It was they who introduced the practice of relations between countries under their imperial domination through proconsular ambassadors and puppet presidents.
Unlike politicians – who must face up to electoral contests and exercise administrative tasks in which they show their faces – the economic hierarchs exercise their power without individual commitment, without pre-determined limits and without being subject to ethical or moral standards.
Paradoxically, large corporations tend to be appreciated and respected because they theoretically generate jobs that bring well-being, while politicians, who collect taxes and repress with their police, courts and prisons, wear themselves out, degrade and take the blame.
April 29, 2020.