What is rarer and more precious than a toaster in Cuba?
Toasters are the hope of futurity. By 2010, it is said that Cubans will be allowed to purchase toasters for the first time in 50 years.
No one has even speculated when the prohibition against irons will be lifted.
It is likely that most Cubans will have lived and died without ever being afforded the right to buy an iron.
Why is this?
Does Raúl fear that Cubans will use them to bash the heads of those who have prevented them from owning toasters and irons for 50 years (a very practical use for them given the scarcity of bread and clothing apparel on the island).
No, not quite.
Raúl's "Consumer Freedoms" encompass everything that Cubans could not possibly afford to buy without the dollars sent to them by their relatives in Miami. Since milking them is the regime's principal source of revenue, the prices carry mark-ups that would make the robber barons blush.
The idea, of course, is to put higher-end consumer items (such as computers) outside the reach of the great majority of Cubans while maximizing the profits on those actually sold. Hence the number of these items purchased by Cubans will remain low while the profits made on their sale by Castro & Co. remain high.
These consumer items are being made available in a reverse scale of affordability. Few seem to recall that the first "consumer freedom" granted to Cubans by Raúl was the right to own airplanes.
Why would anyone take a raft to sea when he has the right to buy an airplane? Mind you, buy an airplane, not fly it out of the country.
Cuba is a country where people with an average income of $15.00 per month can buy airplanes (if they save for 10 trillion years) but cannot buy an airplane ticket unless authorized by the government [sic].
Oh land of wonders!
But let us return again to the Almighty Toaster. In any other country, it would be the "humble toaster" but Cuba is not like any other country.
Why is the toaster a dream deferred for Cubans? Or the iron an impossible dream?
Why are toaster and iron more subversive than computer or cellphone?
Because computers and cellphones are a pipe dream for 90 percent of Cubans.
Toasters and irons, while not affordable (nothing is "affordable" in Communist Cuba where usury is a state monopoly) are still infinitely more affordable — or will be, presumably, if they are ever sold in Cuba — than airplanes or even DVD players.
More Cubans would be able to buy them hypothetically. They might even manage to do so without assistance from their Miami relatives if they save and do without for 2 or 3 years. Perhaps 5.
But wouldn't that be a good thing for the government [sic]?
If the people can be pacified with toasters and irons (which is all that 95% could even remotely afford), why dangle computers and cellphones before their eyes?
First, because it's not done for their benefit.
It's strictly for exterior consumption, so to speak.
Domestic consumption is another matter.
The reason that the regime doesn't want Cubans to own toasters or irons is its fear that they might be able to manage those purchases even on their miserable salaries.
And why are toasters and irons so "subversive?"
If every Cuban family owned a toaster or an iron, the regime would face the greatest crisis in its history and might even be toppled overnight.
The electrical grid can't handle it.
It's that simple.
All those millions of toasters and irons would plunge the country into darkness.
If they could get electricity restored, it would happen again immediately.
And then again.
It would be better than a general strike. All government [sic] offices, all state industries, all arms of the regime would be paralyzed and the regime itself would be at the mercy of the people.
For 50 years it's been the the regime that regularly shuts off the lights at certain unannounced times to conserve electricity (that is, so the antediluvian electrical grid won't suddenly collapse).
Imagine if that power were in the hands of the people!
If they could immovilize the regime with their toasters and irons!
The Revolution of the Toaster.
The Iron Revolution that would end Cuba's revival of the "unenlightened" 18th century.
That is why the Castro regime will never legalize toasters or irons.
It is quite content to open "museums of technology" all over the island where the Cuban people can gawk at consumers items which they could theoretically buy but won't be able to afford so long as the Castro brothers are in power.