Above: Raul Castro
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Cuban leader Raul Castro called on Cubans this weekend to overcome what he saw as an “atmosphere of indiscipline” on the island.
Castro, who was addressing a session of Cuba’s National Assembly on Sunday, said society had come to see things like robbery, squatting and taking bribes as normal.
“We have noticed with pain over the 20 years of the special period the increased deterioration of moral and civic values such as honesty, decency, shame, decency and sensitivity to the problems of others,” he said.
Other activities that had become commonplace, he said, included shouting loudly in the street and the “indiscriminate use of profanity.”
“All of this is happening under our noses, without drawing public condemnation and confrontation,” he said.
The speech also examined the economy, which Castro said had grown by 2.3 percent, although he said the “behaviour of this indicator” was “not noticeable in the economy of the average Cuban family.”
Castro has embarked on a series of reforms aimed at beginning to open up the country’s economy, although progress has remained slow.
Castro said there would be a “long and complicated way to update our economic and social model.”
He said that a major obstacle to progress was the “phenomenon of the dual currency,” which sees both the official peso and the convertible peso.