Marking bills is a crime

The indignation of my colleague Freddy Pérez Pérez made me return to "an old issue with a new twist." And I emphasize the term in quotation marks because, as he rightly points out in his manuscript, the anti-patriotism and lack of scruples of some people today seek other methods to attack the Revolution.

He was referring to those who mark the national currency bills with phrases that are offensive to the historical and cultural symbolism they represent and the patriots printed on them, whose effigies identify the different denominations in circulation.

He told me that when he received a change for the payment of his monthly fee for water and sewage services, he was given 5.00 pesos in the paper, on the front of which, just above the face of Antonio Maceo, the words pig and sausage were written in pencil. He then asked to exchange it. He could neither share nor be an accomplice of such degrading mercenarism, especially in times when the slogan "Homeland or Death" was being sullied.

For many years we accepted the circulation of money written with figures and different words, without losing its monetary function or being seen as a lack of moral values of those who incur in such social indiscipline. This bad habit, to call it somehow, floated on top of that tightrope in which negative attitudes become habitual and condition certain behavioral phenomena, a certain tendency of complicity, often silent, that pretends to validate the wrong as right.

Thus, from hand to hand, go the different denominations marked with what a mind needed to illustrate. It only counts that with my money I buy, accumulate, or have it in my wallet-purse for whatever I need, because it is mine. It does not matter if an administrator decided to put the figure of his last account, or in the market, the wad of 500.00 was from the sale of cassava and so as not to forget it was written on the top bill.

The currency is an economic value and its deterioration affects banking services, as well as the country's economy because in the face of visible damage there is the obligation to remove it from circulation and that generates losses for new impressions.

A few years ago, Juan Eduardo García de la Iglesia, marketing specialist of the Credit and Commerce Bank in Guantánamo, dealt with this issue in the local newspaper and said that one of the tasks of the banking institution is to call the attention of administrators, clerks, and cashiers so that they do not mark the bills when counting them, a very generalized practice in the balances, shift changes, the closing of daily sales and other controls.

I also gave reason to my colleague's just rebellion. We must not forget that these funds are the wealth of the nation. They represent, to a great extent, the image, its cultural symbols, historical figures, and autochthonous values. Out of national pride and conscience, we must protect them so that they last longer. However, between the lines, I felt that the cracked glass comes from where it should not. It is clear.

A complex issue, no doubt; but one that deserves to be solved. Perhaps we need to be aware that we are talking about a resource that is neither yours nor mine and even less of who has the social and legal responsibility to make it circulate. Paper money is part of Cuba's cultural and economic heritage. No one, absolutely, can arrogate to himself the right to tarnish it. It is a crime.