Four are the resources which a person in Cuba (and probably elsewhere) counts on to confront the difficulties that arise when we must have something to do with the bureaucratic apparatus of the State.
The first resource is the discipline, the infinite acquiescence that leads us to return every time they tell us, going all over the place, to all the offices, filling in the forms, meeting the requirements, and waiting. Waiting, while having the necessary understanding of the difficulties the country is going through, and having also the tolerance that is needed to understand that there are priority cases, that some who came after must go before. But the most important, the very definition of this resource, is to be permanently prepared for the point where nothing is resolved and to accept it, like the most normal thing, as if it were right.
The second resource is to have a good recommendation. When the boss says, “Take care of this compañero for me whose case is such and such,” suddenly all the doors open and the forms that didn’t exist appear, the turns that were taken are free, all the way to the supplies that the criminal imperialist blockade prevents us from having on hand. It is of the utmost importance never to act as if they are doing us a favor, but rather like one who is receiving exactly what he deserves. It is recommended not to look into the eyes of the people who have been waiting in line since the early hours and, if possible, at some point leave to see a sign of the power with which we are supposedly invested.
The third resource is “to facilitate” the effort of those colleagues who are dealing with the case. If, to solve the problem there are difficulties with transport, nothing is more advisable than providing gasoline, or lending the vehicle itself or, why not, giving money to transport people by taxi. It facilitates the process when we relieve the depression of whomever is dealing with it. A bottle of rum, some personal hygiene products this person can’t afford on his salary and the lack of which annoys him, an invitation to a restaurant or a nightclub where he could decompress and so return with new energy to his work. All this should be offered without the impression that we are bribing anyone, we are only facilitating things. When everything is resolved we must encourage those who were efficient with us, as one never knows when we might have to return to the same place with another problem.
The fourth resource is the protest. For that one must be well informed about the laws and regulations, have a firm and clear voice, and a constant readiness to hear the arguments of those with whom we are debating. In order to resolve things the protest must be based on the unyielding principles of the Revolution, never on the supposition that you have something resembling rights. One important clarification: Never protest in restaurants, they might spit on the food.
Life, with its infinite variations, sometimes puts us in the the situation of blending these resources…