The task of governing a country requires specialized circumstances, what in very general terms could be called the attributes of power. Said attributes can be divided into two groups: those reserved to the management of the government itself, for example, a car and driver, secretaries, a private office, bodyguards, media, etc.; and those designed to make life more bearable for the person who holds the post.
This latter aspect is solved in some countries with the awarding of a high salary, which allows the official in question to pay for goods and services that allow him not to worry about anything other than his public duties.
In Cuba, the only country I know well, the salaries of the president and the ministers are probably the lowest in the world. For these “self-sacrificing comrades” to be able to devote themselves body and soul to their duties, the state assigns some facilities, among them comfortable housing, people to provide domestic services, a parallel food supply, clothing, appliances, special medical care, and others which vary according to hierarchical level.
If these people had to pay out of pocket for the perks they enjoy, their salaries could no longer be the lowest on an international scale. The difference between one and another form of compensation for government officials, high salaries versus privileges, is that the former is measurable and open to public scrutiny. The latter, however, is handled with the typical discretion of state secrets.
In some drawer, sealed by State security, they now keep the obscene specifications of these sinecures. I dream of a day in which they publicly come to light and then we will be able to know who had the bag with oil, chicken and detergent, and who the one with Serrano ham and imported whiskey, which level or military grade corresponded to a supply of vitamins and which to a quota of Viagra.
What I don’t know I am entitled to imagine. Just look at the ferocity with which they defend their positions, the blind obedience they show to their bosses, the infinite contempt they feel for those who live by work alone and the inconsolable envy they display when they seem someone else enjoying the same things they themselves enjoy on the basis of his talent alone.