We have asked many Cubans why they are not happy? After all they have job security, there are excellent schools and universities, health care is free and among the best in the world, working conditions are better than in most countries (where do you get a free lunch every day?), public transportation is accessible to all, so what is missing? Why are they not happy? Why does everything look drab?
Most people answer that their wage is too low. To even buy basic necessities, such as soap or toilet paper, they have to take all kinds of side jobs and do all kinds of things that are considered illegal in Cuba such as street vending, begging, renting out rooms to tourists without a permit, taking home food from the canteen etc., etc..
Our own assessment
We will return to this theme throughout this series of articles, either explicitly or implicitly because the question is simple, but the answer complex. Our assessment, therefore, is provisional.
As far as we can see four things are basically missing:
1) Wages are indeed too low; the Cuban economy simply does not produce enough to be able to raise them;
2) there is not enough freedom; there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of association, no freedom of migration, no free enterprise;
3) restrictions on the right of property is too severe;
4) lack of spiritual pursuit; the quest for unity with God was stifled in the past and has hardly been rekindled yet.
One awkward question remains. Why are people in countries where the above four points are not lacking also unhappy?