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Si no eres rico….

“Si no eres rico, por favor, no envidies al rico. Si deseas ser rico, trata de serlo mediante tu esfuerzo personal.  Y si no lo deseas, trata de vivir en paz, contigo mismo, y con tu projimo.”

La creencia de que la buena fortuna de otros es tambien la de uno, no es algo que el ser humano entiende muchas veces. Sin embargo, es una nocion muy importante. Es la anti envidia. Es la clave para la prosperidad de una sociedad.

La única manera, para una persona o país pobre, de salir de la pobreza,  es el trabajo arduo, la creatividad, la innovación, el riesgo, la fe en el futuro.  En el ámbito individual, para obtener una movilidad ascendente, el individuo debe trabajar mas arduamente que la clase por encima de su status.  En el ámbito de países, un país tiene que trabajar mas, educar mas a sus ciudadanos, promover el desarrollo de una economía privada, y garantizar un estado de derecho y libertad.

No solo la riqueza no trae la pobreza general de un pais, sino que una causa importante de que un pais no prospere economicamente es que exista entre el pueblo de ese pais el concepto de que la riqueza trae la pobreza. A este concepto erroneo se le añade el odio al rico, el deseo de expropiar, de nacionalizar, el concepto de que la propiedad es producto del robo.

El concepto de que la riqueza crea pobreza es ampliamente aceptado por muchos pueblos. El odio o envidia al rico. Las expropiaciones, o la  oposición a las privatizaciones, el pensamiento de que toda propiedad adquirida fue robada. Sin  embargo, donde quiera que estos conceptos e ideas predominan, la  pobreza se extiende y se prolonga. No, la riqueza no trae pobreza. Lo que causa la pobreza es el concepto de que la riqueza es la que la causa.

Tenemos que entender que nada es gratis. Todo gobierno, cuando provee servicios como educacion y salubridad, obtiene los fondos para los mismos de impuestos monetarios recaudados del pueblo, o de la venta de productos y servicios producidos por el pueblo. Se debe aprender tambien que el gobierno no produce riquezas. El gobierno debe limitar sus funciones a estimular el crecimiento de la industria privada, que es  la creadora de las riquezas de un pais.

La riqueza de un país, a su vez, consiste en los bienes que prometan un flujo futuro de ingreso. Los ingresos producidos por una industria-petroleo, recursos naturales, turismo, manufactura, mineria,  serviciosetc.- no representa riqueza si no se convierte en capital remunerativo de industrias, escuelas, carreteras,  puertos, acueductos, viviendas, en fin, una infraestructura completa que provea un desarrollo económico estable.

Igualdad de oportunidades? Si, es otra ley dorada de una democracia y de una libre empresa. Igualdad de resultados? No. Cada persona, dada la condición de igualdad de oportunidades, logra lo que su esfuerzo, dedicación, intelecto, interés, estudio, lo haga posible.

Si, la riqueza crea mas riqueza. Tanto en el ámbito individual como nacional, asi como en el  material y en el espiritual.

Dr. Manuel Cereijo is an electrical and computer engineering professor who holds patents in manufacturing, telecommunications and control systems. He lectures at the University of Miami.

Witness to Eight Executions in Cuba

Editor: I write this short introduction for I know both Ernesto Fernández Travieso, the Jesuit priest who presents what his brother Tomás Fernández Travieso witnessed as a political prisoner in Cuba when he was 18 years old. I knew their mother who protected me while worrying about her two sons. This is a tale of how Cuba arrested, tried and executed those who opposed the regime. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. We honor them by remembering.

– Guillermo I. Martínez

My brother Tommy recounts his trial in Havana on the day of the invasion of Bay of Pigs April 17, 1961 when the communist government, as retaliation, began to condemn political prisoners to the firing squad. This first group of eight was caught working in the resistance movement weeks or months before. Tapia Ruano (23), Campaneria (21), and Tomas (18) were students. My brother was the only witness in what happened that night.  

Ernesto Fernández Travieso, S.J

“50″ YEARS AGO

By Tomás Fernández-Travieso.

The sun was setting when we emerged from the trial. Luis Fernández-Caubí was the only lawyer that dared to defend our case. The trial took only 20 minutes; it was interrupted several times by the noise of the army tanks leaving La Cabaña fortress (site of the trials) racing towards Playa Girón (the Bay of Pigs): it was April 17, 1961.

Only those sentenced to die before the firing squads were kept in the chapel. The only one that we knew was already there was Carlos Rodríguez Cabo. The prosecutors were demanding a 30 year sentence for his partner in the struggle against Castro, Efrén Rodríguez López. Efrén would stay behind in the ward where we were jailed as they took us to be tried and when he came to say goodbye to us, very upset, he said: “Look, I hate to ask you this but I am sure you won’t be coming back here (meaning he was sure we were all destined for the firing squad). Say hello to Carlitos for me when you see him”. He could not utter another word as he embraced us crying.

Libertad Política vs. Libertad Económica

¿Es la democracia lo que necesitan los países subdesarrollados para salir de la pobreza? Gary Becker,  Premio Nobel de Economía (1992), realizó un análisis reciente en el que explica cómo en países subdesarrollados la democracia debería servir para promover la libertad económica. Lamentablemente, pocos son los países pobres que gozan de esta libertad, aunque vivan en democracia.

Becker empieza aclarando que al referirse al término democracia, no lo hace como el sistema de gobierno ideal sino como una comparación frente a formas de gobierno que no gozan de libertades y carecen de instituciones.[1]

Según Becker, por ejemplo, existe una baja correlación entre las tasas de crecimiento del PIB  y las democracias. Es decir, no necesariamente los países democráticos son países que crecen económicamente. En el caso de India, con una democracia desde su independencia, no fue hasta que salió del socialismo (cuarenta años más tarde) para abrir camino a un gobierno promotor de políticas de libre mercado, que empezó su rápido crecimiento. Por otro lado, algunos absolutistas han logrado crecimientos extraordinarios, pero no son la regla sino la excepción, dado que por cada Pinochet que produzca un rápido crecimiento económico hay siempre un Stalin con funestas políticas planificadoras que llevan el país a la quiebra.[2]

Con respecto a la creación de la riqueza Becker menciona países como Taiwán y Corea del Sur en los cuales hubo un rápido crecimiento bajo las dictaduras y que al convertirse en democracias se volvieron países aún más ricos. Para exponer la correlación entre riqueza y democracia cita al sociólogo Seymour M. Lipset quien explica que no es que los países democráticos sean más propensos a crear riqueza sino al revés. Según Lipset, los países ricos son aquéllos que buscan democracias pues quienes viven en países desarrollados, una vez que gozan de libertad económica, van a demandar como es lógico, libertad política también.[3] Es decir, para Lipset, la riqueza crea las condiciones para la democracia.

Why I Became Catholic

I am often asked when I chose to become Catholic. However, it is more truthful to say that over the course of several years I gradually became Catholic and then decided one day to accept the faith I had already come to embrace.

My wife, Callista, is a lifelong Catholic and has been a member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. Although I was Southern Baptist, I had attended Mass with Callista every Sunday at the basilica to watch her sing with the choir.

I accompanied Callista to Rome in 2005, when the choir was invited to sing at St. Peter’s Basilica. While there, I had the opportunity to talk at length with Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica in D.C., about faith, history and many of the cultural challenges, including secularism, facing our country. Our conversations were enlightening and intriguing. During that trip, I experienced my first visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, and I recall marveling at being in the presence of the historic truth of the Church that day. At the same time, I was being influenced by several books I was reading, including George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral, about the crisis of secularism in Europe, and his book The Final Revolution, about the role of Christianity in freeing Eastern Europe from an atheistic dictatorship. I was also moved by Pope Benedict’s reflection in his book Jesus of Nazareth that, “God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn’t he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves?”

Throughout our travels, whether Callista and I were in Costa Rica or Africa, she was adamant about finding a local Mass on Sunday. Listening to “Amazing Grace” being sung in Chinese at Mass in Beijing was a beautiful experience, and worshipping with believers across the world opened my eyes to the diversity and richness of the Catholic Church.

Cuba: Dictadura vs Internet

Una de las más rampantes carencias que afecta a la Cuba de hoy es la de una verdadera prensa. Sujeta durante decenios a respaldar sin cuestionamientos el poder del régimen, entrenada en la tergiversación de los acontecimientos y subordinada incondicionalmente a la ideología  “Castro”, el periodismo oficial en la Isla ha devenido una de las profesiones más desprestigiadas del país. Como resultado de tanto servilismo insustancial, sumado a la absoluta propiedad gubernamental sobre todos los medios de difusión masiva, que elimina el debate de opiniones y la contrastación de informaciones­, a la vez que suprime o limita al mínimo el acceso a fuentes alternativas de información, el periodismo de la Isla perdió el brillo y la salud que llegó a ostentar en los años de la República, cuando decenas de publicaciones periódicas daban fe del amplio espectro de tendencias, opiniones y pensamiento activo de toda la sociedad.

No caben dudas de que los regímenes totalitarios dependen justamente de esos controles. Nada tan lesivo a los gobiernos dictatoriales como el libre flujo de la información y de los análisis críticos de opinión de diversos sectores sociales. La libertad de prensa es, con mucho, el principal enemigo de los censores del pensamiento.

Los tiempos actuales, sin embargo, se la están poniendo difícil a las dictaduras; las nuevas tecnologías de la informática y las comunicaciones constituyen un reto superior para las obsolescencias políticas, por lo que el régimen cubano se apresta a presentar batalla en el monopolio de la información. Ya la experiencia ha demostrado que encarcelar periodistas independientes resulta no solo inocuo para sus fines de censura, sino que –además– trae consigo un costo político elevadísimo, sobre todo para un gobierno cuyo capital moral hace años se encuentra en números rojos.  Así pues, al poder omnímodo le resulta imprescindible afinar las estrategias de control en el uso de esas tecnologías (la brecha por la que se filtran cada vez mayores espacios de opinión y debates), y crear una base jurídica que coarte más aún el uso de la Internet y cree nuevas figuras delictivas contra aquellos que “trasgredan” las normas oficiales.

La inocencia perdida

Posiblemente entre lo más relevante de la reciente visita del ex Presidente estadounidense, James Carter, a La Habana, están dos elementos contenidos en sus declaraciones, ambas realizadas durante la conferencia de prensa ofrecida en el Palacio de Convenciones el 30 de marzo de 2011 y más tarde –en el mismo día– repetidas en el transcurso de la entrevista que le realizara una periodista de la Televisión Cubana. Tales elementos fueron la referencia a Alan Gross, contratista norteamericano recientemente condenado por el gobierno de la Isla a 15 años de prisión, “un hombre que pienso es inocente de ser una amenaza seria para el pueblo y el gobierno cubanos” y otra fue la alusión a un posible indulto de los cinco espías cubanos:  “una de las razones, ya sean culpables o no, es que ya han pasado un largo tiempo en prisión, más de 12 años; o sea, que ya han sido castigados adecuadamente, aun cuando hayan sido culpables”. (Cursivas de esta autora)

Para comprender a cabalidad el alcance de tales declaraciones es preciso tener en cuenta que el régimen cubano, durante años, ha sostenido a través de todos los medios de difusión la indiscutible inocencia de los cinco miembros de la Seguridad del Estado infiltrados en Estados Unidos, exigiendo su liberación inmediata, y ha mantenido una colosal y costosa campaña internacional por la libertad de los “jóvenes luchadores antiterroristas”. Por otra parte, en medio del proceso de excarcelación de los prisioneros de la Primavera Negra, víctimas de la represión de la dictadura cubana desde 2003, se hacía pública la larga condena del señor Alan Gross, después de un año de prisión si juicio, quien fue presentado por los medios oficiales como un agente del gobierno estadounidense infiltrado para tratar de subvertir el orden interno y atentar contra el propio régimen. He aquí que, de repente, se presenta ni más ni menos que un alto representante del poderoso “enemigo” y se cuestiona pública e irreverentemente los sacrosantos planteamientos del gobierno cubano, contradiciéndolos, mientras la propia prensa del régimen, sin el menor sonrojo, se encargó de divulgarlo.

En solo dos días un ex Presidente de la demonizada potencia imperialista pudo hacer lo que ningún diplomático de otro país se atrevería siquiera a considerar: se reunió con representantes de la disidencia y de la sociedad civil independiente a despecho de la campaña mediática que se está desarrollando en Cuba contra ellos, declaró sin ambages  su deseo de que en el futuro “todos los cubanos sean completamente libres” –dejando implícito que no lo somos– y echó por tierra el siempre beligerante discurso gubernamental. Resultó que, de pronto, ya los “malos” no eran tan culpables ni los “buenos” tan inocentes. Poco más de 48 horas de diálogo bastaron para evidenciar la inconsistencia política de un sistema caduco, reforzando la pérdida de fe en un proceso que durante medio siglo, bajo el flamante rubro de Revolución Cubana, se encargó de sepultar la confiada inocencia de todo un pueblo.

Miriam Celaya González runs the blog Sin EVAsión, a personal space that aims to contribute as much as possible to the formation of civic consciousness and the promotion of the culture of debate among Cubans. Her blog topics include Cuba’s current state, culture, politics, history and society; everything from a pluralistic perspective and free of censorship.