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    Loss of Ethical Values

    Loss of Ethical Values / Rebeca Monzo
    Posted on July 11, 2013

    “We have painfully perceived, for more than 20 years of the Special
    Period, the increasing deterioration of moral and civic values like
    honesty, decency, shame, decorum, honor and sensitivity to the problems
    of others.”

    So reads one of the paragraphs of Raul Castro’s discourse before the
    Cuban parliament, published today, Tuesday, July 9 in the daily Rebel Youth.

    I ask myself, why did he have to wait more than 20 years to put the
    brakes on a situation that was already noticeable and perceived to be

    At this point the social indiscipline and human deterioration is almost
    uncontrollable. There are many factors that have influenced it and they
    were known by all. The fragmentation of the Cuban family, product of the
    political confrontations and political estrangement among their members,
    many times imposed by the regime itself, is perhaps the crux of all the
    subsequent social misfortune. The family was always considered and in
    fact is the fundamental social nucleus of a nation.

    The misconduct of the marginalized, like screaming loudly in the middle
    of the street, the use of obscene words and the vulgarity of speech,
    have been present in our daily lives. Television, one of the most
    influential of the mass media, also has contributed to exposing all
    kinds of vulgarities and mediocrities, in terms of image and vocabulary.

    Throwing trash in public roadways, as well as indulging physiological
    needs in streets and parks, is something now of daily routine and are
    acts that are carried out before the indolence and apathy of observers,
    maybe for fear of being verbally or physically assaulted by the actor
    himself if attention is called. Walk in the morning through the old
    Asturian Center, now a museum, and you will be horrified to have to move
    away from the doorways by the strong odor of urine that these emanate.

    With respect to the increased consumption of alcoholic beverages by the
    populace, their indiscriminate sale in almost all the state
    establishments from early hours is noteworthy, being that the only one
    responsible is the State itself. It is a shame to see in any state
    business, very neglected and rundown, a little table dragged to the
    middle of the sidewalk for the sale of rum, so that the pedestrian does
    not have to bother entering the place in question to drink.

    As far as the abuse of the school uniform, generally the teachers
    themselves have given the bad example, dressing inadequately to stand in
    front of a student body and make themselves respected teaching a class.
    All of this of course has been a product of the bad training of many
    teachers, the prolonged shortage of clothes for sale, the low salaries
    and the transportation difficulties, which has brought about having to
    use a kind of clothing that does not impede climbing into a truck or
    hanging from the platform of a bus.

    Nevertheless, barely hours after publishing the discourse in question, a
    friend of ours was an eyewitness to an event in the farmer’s market at
    17th and K streets, in Vedado, when a young man came running and tripped
    and almost fell on an elderly woman, who sells plastic bags at the exit
    of said establishment.

    She, feeling battered, uttered one of the most gross curses, “now so in
    fashion,” which begins with “P.” Then out of nowhere came another man,
    also young, dressed in plainclothes, who immediately asked for the
    woman’s identity card, in order to impose a fine of 200 pesos, not for
    selling bags (which is considered a crime), but for the “curse.”

    The woman began to cry living tears, explaining that she was retired and
    hypertensive, that she had no money, etc. When the young man in
    plainclothes saw that those present began to encircle them, he told the
    vendor that “this time he was going to pardon the fine,” but instead he
    was going to “draw up” a warning. This made the woman burst into tears
    again, before the astonished gaze of all those present, who daily often
    utter these curse words and others even stronger, before the
    indifference of everyone.

    Translated by mlk

    9 July 2013

    Source: “Loss of Ethical Values / Rebeca Monzo | Translating Cuba” –