Sunday, December 17, 2006

How "satisfied" are Cubans?

After a generation or two of indoctrination (made easy when the state controls the schools), as more die who remembered how things used to be, as others are forcibly silenced for demanding the dignity of human freedom, a people will become more conditioned to eating shit and liking it. So I myself was a bit surprised at the results of a Gallup poll of Cubans in Havana and Santiago:
Poll: 1 in 4 Cubans OK With Freedoms

WASHINGTON (AP) - About one-quarter of Cubans interviewed in the island's two biggest cities are satisfied with their freedom to choose what they do with their lives, according to a poll released Thursday.

When asked about the job performance of Cuba's leaders, about 40 percent of those surveyed said they disapproved, the Gallup Poll found. Not quite half gave their approval. The poll surveyed 600 people in Havana and 400 in Santiago.
It's a stupid title, really. It should have said, "Poll: 3 of 4 Cubans Not Satisfied With Freedoms" -- that is a finding worth proclaiming as the ultimate illustration of Cubans' happiness. And more importantly, two out of five were brave enough to "disapprove" of the current leadership. So much for the Cuban paradise of "free" education that teaches you obeisance to Papa Fidel, and "free" healthcare at hospitals that look more like unwashed latrines. You think everything is "free" until you realize the cost is the God-given dignity of being able to choose your own destiny.

How accurate are the poll results? Were people afraid? Well,
Ten people from other Latin American countries conducted the interviews along with 10 Cubans, mostly college students Gallup had previously dealt with. The workers tried to stay away from the homes of people responsible for reporting on neighborhood activities to the government. Such homes, Gallup said, are on nearly every block.

The interviews were not monitored by the Cuban government, the polling group said, and no incentives to answer questions were given to respondents. Gallup said it did not request governmental permission to conduct the survey.

The poll workers entered their results daily in computers at the Internet cafes that have sprung up to cater to tourists. They burned their data each night to avoid having the results recovered by the government.
It's also reasonable to reckon that some others, of a quantity we'll never know, would have voiced some disapproval of Castro but were still afraid. For all they knew, these pollsters might turn over names and results, or the results would be seized no matter how much the pollsters resisted, or certain "neighbors" might overhear. No matter how anonymous you may seem, it can be dangerous to express to anyone that you don't like Castro. It's hope-inspiring to see that, despite all the Castro apologism that's been rampant for the last four decades, the people who know best don't want him.


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