Plundering the state’s spoils, the strategy of many regime officials

Plundering the state’s spoils, the strategy of many regime officials
Plundering the state’s spoils, the strategy of many regime officials

The ‘factors’, according to the macaronic terminology of the regime’s institutions, are parastatal organisations such as the CDR, FMC or the Combatant Association, called ‘civil society’ by the olive-green dictatorship.

All the Party headquarters in the municipalities (169 in the country) are located in comfortable houses or mansions confiscated from the former Cuban bourgeoisie. “On certain dates, such as August 13, Fidel’s birthday, a month of events is planned to highlight his figure. The same happens with revolutionary anniversaries, such as January 1, July 26 and November 25, the day the commander died,” he reveals.

“Dance activities and sports and cultural programs are also organized during the holidays. The Communist Party, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, production cooperatives, municipal food processing centers and MSMEs in the area coordinate agricultural and service fairs,” Amaury points out.

Bureaucracy in Cuba is colossal. Nothing is left to chance. Any event, no matter how insignificant it may seem, whether it is a children’s show with clowns or the formation of a baseball team for the National Series, is supervised by Communist Party officials.

According to Amaury, “in the municipal districts there are protocols to be followed in case of cyclones or other meteorological phenomena. There is also a tracking of the counterrevolutionaries residing in the locality. The prosecutor’s office and counterintelligence keep their files updated. Another of the tasks of the Party, whether municipal or provincial, is to respond to citizens’ complaints. But due to economic problems and shortage of materials, these complaints are not given solutions. Many times, they do not even give answers to citizens.”

Despite the fierce economic crisis, there is no shortage of fuel in the institutions of the Communist Party, the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior and the staff are guaranteed good food, but the treatments are different.

“Cleaning, maintenance and kitchen workers are given a low-quality snack and lunch. Lower-ranking officials eat better, receive a snack with a soft drink or juice and are given 100 hours a month on their mobile phone account and four gigabytes of data. And they are asked to open social media accounts to defend the revolution. The ‘bosses’ (municipal or provincial party secretaries) have lunch in a pantry with people from their hovel. Sometimes the food comes from a nearby restaurant, private or state-owned. MSMEs usually provide provisions, free for the bosses, the rest pay a lower price than on the street.”

Amaury says that “the leaders are a kind of caste. They can be removed from a company for deficiencies or poor work, but if it is not for a political problem, they remain floating in that environment, because a high or mid-level leader receives ideological training in the national school of the Ñico López party. And that is why it is difficult to replace them because there are not many reserves. When they explode due to corruption, it is almost always due to orders from above, tips from other officials or internal quarrels.”

“Corruption is tremendous in all institutional levels of the country. If those who are enrolled in the Party, the Armed Forces or the MININT do not obtain privileges, they ask to be discharged. A decade ago they had more perks. They could access recreational villas and beach houses for free or at reasonable prices. That has been changing. Now only the high hierarchy has these privileges. The higher the position, the greater the benefits: they receive food baskets, access to foreign currency and trips abroad.”

“MININT and FAR officials have even more facilities. They can buy in hard currency stores paying in pesos. In the last two years, Party and government officials have allied themselves with certain MSMEs or have opened businesses on the outside. Mafia clans have been consolidated with a lot of power in tourism, gastronomy, agriculture, housing and domestic trade, among other State institutions. Everyone gets their hands dirty with this embezzled money. An envelope full of pesos is received by a municipal director, a vice-minister or a minister.”

“When a citizen reports a case of corruption to a Party official at a certain level, that accusation is usually not successful. It is blocked. If it is a relevant fact, the official is moved to another job. The decomposition in Cuba is transversal. It goes from the loss of values ​​in the population to the moral rottenness of officials. In any organization, the most important positions embezzle state property. Almost all leaders do this. They see public service as a hunting trophy,” concludes Amaury.

Corruption in Cuba is systemic and its origin is the gigantic bureaucratic apparatus designed by the dictatorship to manage rationing and poverty. Institutions such as Acopio, Turismo or Comercio Interior are the main suppliers of the black market. Gallons of oil, truckloads of chicken boxes or construction materials are stolen through the back doors of their warehouses.

Recently, influencer Yamil Cuéllar published on his YouTube channel a three-part series about the corruption of high-ranking Communist Party officials and alleged private entrepreneurs in the province of Cienfuegos, 200 kilometers south of Havana. The mafia clans entrenched in the power structures have increasingly more assets and impunity. In recent months, the regime has been carrying out an apparent anti-corruption operation, trying to silence citizen discontent.

Since February 2, 2024, when Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil Fernández was “relieved of his responsibilities,” some thirty senior officials (ministers, first secretaries of the Communist Party and provincial governors, among others) have been dismissed or transferred from their positions on the Island. But a majority of the population considers this campaign to be a smokescreen or a settling of scores. Corruption in Cuba is intrinsic to the model promulgated by Fidel Castro.

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