Por Antonio López Sánchez

Calle Enramadas-Santiago de Cuba-Fototeca Oficina del Conservador (1)

“Cubans are so loving
they call ‘monsters’
beautiful women
and ‘barbarians’ to the scholars.”
The Prophet

It may be contradictory, without as individual authorities, as a people, to be an obvious or common feature of Cubans. Our history as a nation, barely hurding a little, will show some moments where there were serious contradictions and acts that sometimes even gave up with certain collective pretensions. However, the wise Perogrullo would say, by obvious and human logic, such avatars surely also lash other geographies and idiosyncrasies.
In any case, in intramural grounds, there are events not always as festive as baptizing the sages as “barbarians” or praising female beauties as “monsters”. When contradictions are generated from social heights whose reach involves a large part of the population, then their genesis, developments and, above all, their consequences, cease to be sympathetic jokes to become complicated obstacles.
A friend recently had a relative in hospital. His grandfather, a man who friezes in his nineties and so many, suffered a respiratory complication and required an entry. At the capital teaching hospital where Grandpa was cared for, his grandson experienced a couple of situations, mostly pleasant. Luxuries do not abound in the hospital, there are the same shortages as outside for some specific medicines, food or other topics, but most staff, from doctors and nurses to pantrists and cleaning managers, oozed kindness and humanism, except for very rare exceptions. Concern in patient care and treatment was palpable.
My friend told me that, at first, he believed that such behavior stemted from his friendly relationship with one of the deputy directors of the facility (although the leader never showed up there in person, the narrator assured me). But in the room, where he spent about ten days and there was an abundant presence of sick and companions, he found the same treatment and attention for all. By obvious logic, not everyone was close to some manager.
When you get such news, you can only rejoice. Because while it is true that health is a right for all and that it is received for free, it has also suffered, and much, materially and even humanly, because of the situations and their known derivatives, which our country has gone through in these years. Knowing then that there is a place, where they fulfill daily and without s aspires with duties and functions, is undoubtedly a cause for rejoicing.
But, and here the contradictions appear, not everything goes on wheels everywhere on the health grounds. While these lines are being written, in a vast area of the municipality Habana del Este, the stomatology consultations have been substantially reduced in the face of the prolonged lack1 of the indispensable gloves that specialists need.
A consulted doctor explained that, as long as an orthodontist and a prosthetic specialist (based on explicit hygiene measures and the nature of their work and specificities of their cases) could care for their patients without wearing gloves, in other cases the same is not true. A dentist who faces various pathologies, makes seals ( fillings), extractions or other treatments, requires in an indispensable way the use of gloves. The measure derives from the elemental safety of both the doctor and the patient when handling injuries and the possible mutual transfer of microbes or germs.

Between mid-to-late May, a good part of the western and central regions suffered almost two weeks and so much from constant rain. The capital was no exception, although it suffered less damage than other provinces. In the face of the closeness of summer, such inclement weather multiplies the presence of flies, mosquitoes and other undesirable bichejos. For this reason, it is logical to strengthen campaigns and actions to prevent these vectors from proliferating.
What was the great solution generated by combining the events of lack of gloves and watermen? Since stomatologists don’t have gloves and can’t work, then we’re going to incorporate them into the mosquito campaign. Thus a group of high-level professionals, is seen for days and days performing a task, which is not that it is dishonorable, nor useless, but that can be performed by a staff of much lower qualification, and need, from a previous preparation. Has anyone started thinking about how much it costs, in time and resources, to form a stomatologist, so that it is then destined for other functions, such as chasing mosquitoes and spotlights? Doesn’t a TELEVISION spot say our medicine is free, but it costs? Isn’t this a contradictory way to waste the valid educational training that this country has built on health grounds?
These same contradictions become palpable when the national mass media, with their usual excess, explain time and time again the risks of certain consumptions and behaviors, especially in the summer months, in the face of the highest incidence of possible digestive conditions. Food, and especially water, must be carefully handled, cooked, purified and preserved. It is worth saying, very repeated and everything, but almost always those advertisements are right in the statements they disclose.
So how can we explain the repeated deficiencies, in our pharmacies, of hypochlorite formulas, essential for purifying drinking water? And remember here the high price in foreign currency of the water filters that our stores (and their spare parts, when there are), for a good part of the population. How can we rate the usual delays in garbage collection, which causes such bad consequences by generating harmful animates, bad smell and the lousy image of abandonment and widespread layness of overflowing collecting tanks surrounded by detritus from all over the day? Is there any explanation for the many sites, state and private, where it is dispatched, and charged, without any protection from the hands of the rigorous employee? Suffice it to see how the primal napkins in many of the hot dog-dispensing establishments, have today reduced their size to small ribbons, of any paper.
Well, you could say, if there’s no gloves for the stomatologists, what’s left for gastronomy. But it shouldn’t be like that, in either case. We are already so too accustomed to that evil and always incomplete or mutilated is so, to the detriment of what it should be, that in the end we conform… or we resign ourselves, which is almost worse.
Another face of contradictions recently returned in the futures of daily transport. After some television shows, the offensive began. Again, the immaculate performance of the automotive park’s technical fitness checkers (the so-called “so-called “so-called so-called”so-head”) was praised and even their replacement by incorruptible computers in some areas. In the meantime, all the state drivers and individuals, consulted on this subject, assured us that nothing has changed and the fees to pass the somaton, in litres of fuel or in contante and sound, remain in force, although perhaps with some more stealth. In those days, street inspections redoubled their efforts to fine, withdraw licences or confiscate cars (especially in the case of state drivers) from drivers who did not, on norman dates, have the approval of the optimal technical condition of their vehicles.
That said, it would seem that there is little to object to. Road safety must be, rather than a repressive process, a duty, a well-established doing in everyone’s conscience, whether drivers, authorities or pedestrians. The serious car accidents that were reported this year, attest that violating any of the established parameters brings very expensive consequences, on lives, injuries and resources. Also think that behind each accident, especially in the case of the injured, but also in the deceased, there is a family hurt or diverted from their daily occupations to care for a sick person, there is an empty job for weeks or months, there are hours, means and resource expenses of the medical service involved, in short… There is a large circle of affected people that always exceeds the one involved.

However, by force of being fair, perhaps sixty percent (up to eighty have been told by some drivers and mechanics consulted), the national automotive park does not de facto have all the mechanical conditions to circulate according to modern demands. Even a good part of them are not the almonds, the first target of the offensives when they are unleashed. We know of not a few state agencies whose cars in service, and which almost never reach the regular number required by the entity, survive at the expense of cannibalism of parts towards their most affected congeners. Another method is based on the adaptations and ingenuity of its drivers and mechanics, who often solve parts and resources from their own pockets, so as not to stop their cars. The State, in the end the owner of such means, does not provide a way to improve this existing park and, less so, to renovate it.
By the way, a parenthesis for critical exegetes, yes, it’s clear that a state driver wants to have his car running. Thanks to him he can solve something for his best subsistence (“a car pays for himself,” he says. It is not always in a bad way, it is not always done “fighting” with state fuel or boating, although of course there are those that do, which is, of course, reprehensible. Even small of naivety, the reason is that man does not want to walk, because he has a phobia of the guagua and the crowds. But if that driver were to receive a salary that would allow him to meet his needs, would he steal? Are we already “fighters”, offenders and thieves per se?
The price of a modern car in our country, sold by the concessionaires settled on the island, is almost a macabre joke for the average salary (and even for the high and the very high) national; More, when we recall that it was once assured that the money raised by the sales of those cars would be used to improve collective transport. On the other hand, the physical conditions of the vials, lighting, signs and visibility in our streets and sidewalks is not even optimal. So isn’t it contradictory to tighten the fence alone against drivers and their old, battered cars?
We do not ask for debauchery and car anarchy, but just take a look at what rolls on our streets and you will see that the most elementary and obvious regulations are not met, those same as with chest blows are defended by the authorities in television programs. If they were met as they should be, maybe we’d all walk on horses and mules, because almost no car would be able to pass the rules for driving. Well, on horses and mules, until the horseshoes and the monthly allocation of grass began to run out.
The optimal solution? It’s utopian. It is to replace the state park of the island with new, safe, technically apt cars. It is possible for individuals to pay for a modern car without the current cosmic (almost comical) prices. It’s fixing potholes, the many pedestrian and car traffic lights that don’t work or work halfway; is to improve the signs and lights of the streets. And we already know that, at least in the mediate future, there are no resources for that. In the meantime, logic to all parties involved, not funnel laws, let alone good media appearances, should alleviate the problem with some common sense.
An old adage says that development is generated from contradictions. If such a sentence were to be served in our environment, predictions can lead to euphoria. Given our abundant contradictions in dissimilar terrain, surely their solutions would bring us an impressive qualitative and quantitative leap. Let the First World be prepared! Here we go. Ω

1 We do not have the exact amount of time, but, with intermittency, the fault can be counted, in total, at least in four or five months, over several periods.

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