September 13, 2010
Goldberg Meets the PressMiss The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on the Diane Rehm show this morning? Click here to hear about his meetings with Fidel. Here's his "tussle" on Meet the Press.
500,000 state workers will be laid offMore than half-a-million state workers will be laid off from now until the first quarter of 2011, says a statement by the Cuban Workers Central published Monday in the daily Granma.
"For the labor movement [...] paying the greatest attention to the reduction of payrolls, the process of job availability and employment, and the proper utilization of human resources is an unavoidable task," the statement says. "It is known that the surfeit of jobs exceeds one million persons in the budgeted and entrepreneurial sectors."
"Our state cannot and must not continue to maintain budgeted enterprises, productive and service entities that have bloated payrolls and show losses that handicap the economy, are counterproductive, generate bad habits and deform the conduct of the workers," the document says.
"It is necessary to increase the production and quality of services, reduce the bulky social expenses and eliminate undue gratuities, excessive subsidies, study as a source of employment, and early retirement."
Laid-off workers can look to "new forms of non-state work as job alternatives; among them leasing, usufruct, cooperatives and self-employment, [areas] to which hundreds of thousands of workers will move in the next several years."
The state sector will only fill the openings "that are essential [...] such as agriculture, construction, teachers, policemen, industrial workers and others."
"This whole process will be carried out on new bases and standards," the statement goes, "because it will no longer be possible to apply the formula of indefinitely protecting or subsidizing the workers with [unemployment compensation.]
"Each worker's efforts and personal willingness will weigh heavily in the identification, transfer and placement in other jobs."
In terms of salary, "we need to revitalize the socialist principle of distribution, of paying each worker according to the quantity and quality of the job performed. The system of payment-for-results [...] will continue to be the path to increase the productivity and [...] income of the workers."
[UPDATE: Financial Times says that, according to a Communist Party document, "465,000 non-state jobs would be created in 2011, of which some 250,000 would fall under the category of new licenses for self-employment."]
To read the entire document, in Spanish, click here. An account in The New York Times appears here.
Fidel's use of 'holocaust' raises hacklesOp-ed article Saturday in Le Nouvel Observateur, by Patrick Lozès, founder of the Representative Council of Black Associations of France (CRAN). Its title: "A racial holocaust for the Roms? Fidel Castro makes a mistake." Translated by Cuban Colada. One can be indignant at the ethnicitization of the insecurity at the highest levels of State, one may condemn the stigmatization of the Roms [gypsies], the wandering people, and the "French of foreign origin," and one may wish to denounce the shameful expulsion of these men, women and children, attributable to the government in the wake of Nicolas Sarkozy's speech of July 30 in Grenoble.
This does not mean that it is permissible to engage in offensive amalgams.
On Friday, Sept. 10, Fidel Castro committed a gross mistake. During an appearance at the University of Havana, the "líder máximo" commented in his own way on the expulsion of the Roms to Romania and Bulgaria.
Fidel Castro said "The last thing we could expect was the news about the expulsion of the French gypsies, victims of the cruelty of the French extreme right that raises to 7,000 of them the [number of] victims of a new sort of racial holocaust."
A racial holocaust? The holocaust is a sacrifice, it can also be a genocide, and the word has long been used to describe the extermination of Jews by the Nazis before being replaced by "shoah" to prevent confusion with the sacrificial meaning of the word "holocaust."
To speak of a holocaust for the expulsion of the Roms comes from an aberrant comparison and an odious parallel.
Fortunately, all that is excessive is insignificant, even if it's named Fidel Castro.
Posted by Renato Perez at 10:38 AM in Dissidents, human rights, Fidel Castro, The World
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