Friday, December 5, 2008

MININT Retirees

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madam

I learn that the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) is distributing a survey to their retirees. For obvious reasons, I didn’t have the chance to scan it, nor to grab a photo, but nevertheless I remember some of the categories and got the general idea.

After name, surname, address, military post etc., they got down to the subject at hand.

How much is your pension?
Do you own a home?
What is the state of it? Good – Bad – Regular
Do you have a car? What make?
A question about household appliances that I don’t remember.
Economic needs?
Other needs?

The last two questions had me laughing out loud; it seems that finally the Ministry of the Interior has decided to conduct a census of misery among its retirees to know exactly how many are literally going hungry with their pensions of 300 pesos, or 400 or 500; it’s all the same because it’s not enough to live on.
The most surprising thing was hearing the comments from the retirees: I’m not going to fill out any form, this is so they’ll know what we’re doing and can get in our houses and sniff around; I’m not going to fill out any form either, after a decade without them remembering me, I don’t think they’re going to come and fix my house for me; I’m not filling out anything, they’re not going to be seeing that my daughter sends me money and decide that I don’t need my pension… etc. etc.
It seems that the young are not the only ones who’ve lost faith.
Despite how long it has taken them and how offensive it could turn out to be, it doesn’t seem bad to me that they worry about those who today are looking at 70, with something less than the income of the 40 years they spent breaking their backs for MININT. Despite having seen themselves during a number of years with no right to touch a dollar, while it was already at 150 on the street and people were starting their businesses. Both my mother and my father were military. Maybe that’s why I was the last kid in my elementary school to see a dollar while I wondered why, if my parents worked until seven at night, all the other kids could buy ice cream in the foreign currency store on the corner while I was still eating boiled cabbage.

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