Franklin Marquez – Miami, Florida – July 7, 2011
[Franklin Marquez – Age –50’s; Birthplace – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Residence – Miami, Florida, U.S.; Lives with Wife and Children; Occupation – Attorney, Writer, Moderator of the Blog]
If you read the blog I wrote in early 2011 about my return trip to Cuba, you already know a lot about me. If you haven’t read it, it’s repeated in the tab, Franklin Marquez’s Blog, on this site.
I have arranged with various people who live in Cuba, visit Cuba, or are refugees from Cuba, to write to me and tell me about their lives. I post their writings here. Some will e-mail, or otherwise transmit electronically. Some will use snail mail, or have their paper writings delivered. We are not promoting a particular view. We are stating what is said. A description of each contributor is contained in the “Contributors” tab.
We are only using first names of contributors, and we are not saying whether these are true first names. You probably realize that Cubans writing from Cuba are likely to be very careful with their words, because in Cuba anything you say orally or verbally, may have you put in or cause you problems. Thus, they are unlikely to criticize the government in any way. They may talk about life in Cuba being hard. They may say things that lead you to understand that they are not enamored with the situation.
Our goal is not to say that Cuba is bad, or that it’s government is bad. We are trying to show what it's like to live in Cuba. Cuba is a beautiful country, with kind people. There is little crime. The government doesn't match our American beliefs of democracy. But that's not the issue. The effects of socialism, or communism or whatever one believes the Cuban government is will be evident from the writings. We do have pro-government contributors, who honestly and truly believe their leader has done great things with their country.
We will frequently see explanations of the monetary system, and how the Cuban people buy goods. Although people criticize the rationing system, actually it is related to a government created and supported procedure to supply products to the citizens at a subsidized cost. If a Cuban needs to buy sugar, he or she will have to pay for it with what Cubans earn – approximately 30 dollars per month in pesos cubanos. The government allows Cubans to buy necessities, like sugar, for pennies, but the government then limits how much each family unit can buy during the month. Rationing causes people to restrict their use of these products, and it causes people not to trade it or sell the products to others. They only have so much. In the past eight months or so, the government has removed certain items that would be called necessities from the subsidized product list, which also means they are removed from the rationing system. So, now if a Cuban needs to buy one of those products, he or she go to a store that typically takes pesos convertibles, and the products will cost much more than they would have under the subsidized system.
I will step in and comment where necessary.