Saturday, July 15, 2017

Parliamentary Karaoke

Parliamentary Karaoke

14ymedio, Generation y, Yoani Sanchez, 14 July 2017 — Wednesday
night. The neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado is sliding into the
darkness. Catchy music resonates in the Hotel Tulipán where
parliamentarians are staying during the current regular session. They
dance, drink under the sparkling lights of the disco ball and sing
karaoke. They add their voices to a programmed score, the exercise they
know how to do best.

With only two sessions a year, the Cuban legislative body gathers to
stuff the population full of dates, figures, promises to keep, and
critiques of the mismanagement of bureaucrats and administrators. A
monotonous clamor, where every speaker tries to show themselves more
"revolutionary" than the last, launching proposals with an exhausting
generality or a frightening lack of vision.

Those assembled for this eighth legislature, like their colleagues
before them, have as little ability to make decisions as does any
ordinary Cuban waiting at the bus stop. They can raise their voice and
"talk until they're blue in the face," and enumerate the inefficiencies
that limit development in their respective districts, but from there to
concrete solutions is a long stretch.

On this occasion, the National Assembly has turned its back on pressures
that, from different sectors, demand new legislation regarding the
electoral system, audiovisual productions, management of the press, same
sex marriage and religious freedoms, among others. With so many urgent
issues, the deputies have only managed to draft the "Terrestrial Waters

Does this mean that they need to meet more often to fix the country's
enormous problems? The question is not only one of the frequency or
intensity in the exercise of their functions, but also one of freedom
and power. A parliament is not a park bench where you go to find
catharsis, nor a showcase to demonstrate ideological fidelity. It should
represent the diversity of a society, propose solutions and turn them
into laws. Without this, it is just a boring social chinwag.

The parliamentarians will arrive on Friday, the final day of their
regular session, in front of the microphones in the Palace of
Conventions with the same meekness that they approached the karaoke
party to repeat previously scripted choruses. They are going to sing to
music chosen by others, move their lips to that voice of real power that
emerges from their throats.

Source: Parliamentary Karaoke – Translating Cuba -

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