Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Limits of Cynicism

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

One of the characteristics of the rational being is to recognize his own limits, as well as others which -- for logical reasons -- must be adhered to so that coexistence works as harmoniously as possible. Some sectors of my society, however, break the boundaries of human cynicism on a daily basis, and at the forefront of this movement we find, without a doubt, official journalism and its famous National Television News (NTV).

One of the latest changes made by our appointed president was the modification of the retirement law: overnight -- without shouts, without rejoicing, without protest and without labor unions furiously demanding explanations -- Cubans were warned that our right to retire would be extended from age 60 to age 65 for men, and from age 55 to age 60 for women. So, without further ado, the “working masses” of the socialist paradise were forced to swallow this bitter pill from the abusive state and extend their working lives by five years.

But for some, no humiliation is too much; yesterday on NTV they aired a small report about the “tens of thousands of demonstrators” in France, who took to the street to protest the government’s intention to impose a law that is similar, though it adds only months of extra work.

The soft voice of reporter entertained us over screen shots of a Parisian street filled with strikers. “French workers,” she said, “are protesting the government’s intention to increase the retirement age by two years."

How far do the distant horizons of official cynicism reach? Is it an act of State vs. People sadism, or simply the laziness of the powers-that-be who forget to sweeten the pills of their subjects. Does the Party Central Committee want to demonstrate their impunity relative to the workers? Could it be considered an irony planned by the boys of the Department of Revolutionary Orientation, who don’t want to retire five years later, and so they slip the information in between the lines to raise everyone’s temper?

I don’t know what the correct hypothesis is, but whatever it is, it’s nothing more than a cruel sarcasm aimed at us: for fifty years we have not protested to our working rights.

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