Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goodbye to shampoo

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

I have, as they say, “thankful” hair. I do not use conditioner, I use any kind of dye, and my costs for shampoo don’t exceed 2 CUCs. So far, every brand has worked perfectly: Sedal, Four Seasons, Natural, or Cosas de Botica are the national brands, and the cheapest, though they are always sold in CUCs. For a long time now, we have had to pay in hard currency—which never shows up in our wages—to wash our heads.

Last month it started to get complicated. For some mysterious reason the quality of the shampoo is in the toilet, I wash my head and it feels like wire. My friends said the same thing, it’s as if we were suddenly forced to buy “hard”, and quite expensive.

The comments stun me, an apocalyptic atmosphere catches me off-guard. While products constantly become more expensive and of lower quality, people speculate about the growing scarcity—if that’s even possible—the Daily Paranoia: there will be more power outages, all the imported products will disappear from the stores, rationing will end, the CUC will fall or rise (this bola*, or rumor, is the most unstable of all), they are creating new rapid-response brigades**, etc.

The worst thing is how little I care, I’m tired of the premise, “it can always get worse.” At times I question how much worse we can imagine our reality, how much worse our horrible social conditions can get. We don’t earn a decent wage, we applaud with adoring faces and scream like a primitive horde, we bear up under political propaganda, don’t dissent, live with double standards, don’t think, don’t talk, are suspicious, snitch, don’t write, don’t take to the streets, eat badly, can’t fix our houses, don’t travel and don’t wash our hair; and that’s not enough bad news? Things are going to get dark?

*Bola (ball): Rumor. Speculation circulating by word of mouth and trying to "guess" economic, political or social measures in the immediate future, most often in contradiction with the information given in the mass media.

Translator’s note
Rapid Response Brigades: Organized bands of people dressed as ordinary citizens who respond rapidly, and attack, anyone showing any sign of dissent in public.


Humberto Capiro said...

NEW JUNKIE POST ARTICLE: Cuban War Games: An Absurd Ruse

"But we should not accept, at face-value, Castro’s reasons for these military drills. A more probable reason for these drills is to instill paranoia in the Cuban population, in order to maintain obedience to the state through fear and intimidation. Recently, the Cuban government has faced growing levels of dissent in its own citizenry. This fact is underscored most notably by the political beating of Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, whose blog is now internationally renowned for its open dissent against the Cuban government."

Humberto Capiro said...

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Anonymous said...

"One revolution is still necessary: the one that will not end with the rule of its leader. It will be the revolution against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceable individuals, who will become soldiers for once so that neither they nor anyone else will ever have to be a soldier again."

- José Martì

Humberto Capiro said...

ASIA NEWS: Cuba arrests son of late revolutionary leader

"Juan Almeida was previously arrested in May when he attempted to join his wife in Miami, Florida. Two months ago he published a book in Spain on his experience with Cuban leadership.

He was arrested on Friday as he was walking to a public square in Havana to protest his trampled civil rights, the CCHDRN said, adding it did not known if any charges have been filed against him."