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Crumbling Cuban Economy Held Together by Crazy Glue... Literally

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The Socialist paradise isn’t working out as planned.

The Cuban government’s recent surprise announcement that it’s going to lay off 500,000 state employees – or 10% of the state sector – demonstrated just how desperate the state of that economy now is.

The government of President Raul Castro made the announcement, but his older brother Fidel appeared to agree, telling a reporter that the “Cuban economy doesn’t work.” (El Jefe later said he’d been misquoted).

The move, some say, is a politically risky one since there’s no guarantee that these state workers will be able to hack it in the private sector. Then again, as The Globe And Mail editorialized, some Cubans might just adapt more quickly than expected:

“For years, Cubans have been forced to supplement their meager state earnings and insufficient food rations by reselling stolen products on the black market – everything from cigars and cement to second-hand clothing. They already make exceptionally good capitalists.”

But here is the problem with depending so much on second-hand stuff: it breaks a lot and then what do you do, especially when there isn’t any new stuff to buy? The solution: Crazy Glue!

The tubes of magic glue, Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez notes, have become a hot commodity on her island:

“Surrounded by my list of broken things, I start to wander if there will be statistics on how much crazy glue is used each year on this Island. It is not a basic product, but I sense that there is a relationship between the need to repair our belongings and the seriousness of the country’s economic crisis. If not, why is the whole world running after an adhesive that is advertised as able to reassemble everything."

Sanchez adds:

"In many stores, when this contact cement comes in you’d think they were having a big sale. People buy dozens of tubes, as if its great adherent power could glue together a reality cracked by frustration. We are not an excessively austere people, who can’t stand to throw out useless things, but we find it difficult to pay attention to the expiration dates provided by the manufacturers. When we break something, we rarely have a substitute. So I will leave this post here, and go and buy my share of crazy glue, my necessary dose of that instantaneous mender. Perhaps a few drops will help me to gather the pieces of that future we’ve dropped on the floor, smashing it to smithereens all over the place.” (Hat tip: Carpe Diem
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