Theft is so rampant at state enterprises in Cuba that "1 million police" couldn't stop it, according to a secret documentary produced by Cuban security forces for the island nation's leaders.
Copies of the crime documentary and another on the alienation of Cuba's young people were smuggled out of the island by a defector.A screening of the two documentaries, produced by the National Revolutionary Police in 1986, was held Tuesday evening under the sponsorship of Freedom House, a New York-based human rights group.
The second documentary concludes that many of Cuba's young people are alienated, lack revolutionary fervor and complain that recreational facilities are often run down, non-existent, off-limits or inaccessible.
Freedom House said the tapes were smuggled out of Cuba by Juan Antonio Rodriguez Manier, a major in Cuban intelligence who defected to the West in January 1987.
The extent of crime at state enterprises was such that the documentary on that issue concluded with an observation by Defense Minister Raul Castro that "1 million police" couldn't resolve the problem without additional accounting controls.
President Fidel Castro has publicly acknowledged that crime is a major problem. The documentary shows Castro saying in a speech that a "fierce struggle" is needed to wipe out crime.
"Socialism can't permit this cancer to corrode it " or let "this cancer devour it," he said.
The documentaries were intended for viewing by high party and government officials as a means of dramatizing the magnitude of criminal activity and how efforts to inculcate Cuban youth with revolutionary values have fallen short.
The documentary on crime showed repeated instances of how employees at state enterprises were able to take advantage of lax accounting to steal cash or goods.
Most of the testimony was provided by convicted criminals but there was no indication of how they were caught. One convict spoke of how he was able to make off with 224 cases of coffee worth 67,200 pesos. Under Cuba's exchange rate, the peso is worth slightly more than a dollar.
Another witness said he was able to pocket about 100 pesos a day in daily receipts from the enterprise where he worked. He kept up the activity for three years.
Yet another said he was able to steal fabric for women's clothes and leather for shoes in a gambit that appeared to require little planning or imagination. A security guard was posted at the warehouse where the goods were kept but he was deaf, the convict said.
Several Cubans responsible for taking daily cash proceeds from their respective enterprises to banks for deposit said they routinely undertook the trips alone, either on foot or by bus, without protection.
In the second documentary, Cuban youths complained to interviewers that the best beaches often are reserved for tourists and that transportation to the seashore is difficult because of a shortage of buses. Cuba's television fare was described as "garbage" and there were scenes of a Havana amusement park in a state of almost total disrepair.