08/29/13 - Havana Times - Measuring Cuba's Moral Degeneration
HAVANA TIMES - We speak so much about the moral degradation of Cuban
society that sometimes it feels we are deep in a quagmire that can't get
any worse. This isn't exactly true, and we should not deceive ourselves
that it is.
Today, I had one of those days in which you go out with all of the positive
energy in the world, hoping to get some things done, and you come home
frustrated and empty-handed. This does not exactly illustrate my point, I
I don't have any statistics at hand that would support my claim either. I
only have the facts. I sometimes wish there was an instrument designed to
measure what I'm talking about. It would be called a "degradation meter,"
or something like that.
It would suffice to go out to the street and point it towards people's rude
behavior, the misconduct of consumers and public officials, bosses and
employees, adults and the young. The device would then give us a reading.
Since such an extraordinary piece of technology does not exist, I will try
and measure the vibe of Cuba's streets on the basis of my own experiences.
The incidents I will describe are not exactly revealing, in and of
themselves. I think the fact they took place within the course of a single
day, however, gives us a sense of how inhospitable Cuban society has
become. My best reason for saying this is the simple and overwhelming fact
that incidents like these no longer shock anyone.
To improve public transportation, the number of buses operating in Havana
was recently increased. On this day, however, we are witnessing bus stops
with the kind of large crowds we hadn't seen for a good while.
Public transportation difficulties giving rise to stress among passengers
has been described at length in posts like this one. It is understandable
that people should be irritated. The hot August sun also has a say in this.
But the fact that people - particularly the young - speak in a loud tone of
voice all the time has nothing to do with the public transport system or
the heat. That people should curse and say rude things to one another while
joking, that can't be chalked up to the weather or bus shortages either.
This morning, a woman almost knocked me down while scrambling to get a seat
in the bus. Things like this, folks, bring us a step closer to savagery,
Another fellow who got on the bus was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt. His
armpits were hairy and sweaty. By then I was sitting on the seat the rude
woman had emptied. He settled next to me, placing his hairy armpit very
close to my face. He didn't seem to notice what he was doing.
My arm still hurts from having had to wrestle my way onto the bus, and I
was third in line. It actually hurts, the people standing behind me almost
tore it off, supposedly trying to keep others from taking their place in
On my way back, I ran into a friend. Just before I got off the bus, she
told me she had seen a man looking at her and masturbating, right behind
me. In effect, he had been fondling his genitals a few centimeters behind
my back. She had said nothing "to avoid problems."
Something isn't right here. Many things aren't right, for people are
shedding all civility with less and less shame and no one does anything.
This trend continues to grow and the "decent" appear to have become immune
Original Source / Fuente Original: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=98408
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