HAVANA — Raul Castro spent much of a prominent speech Sunday scolding his countrymen for all kinds of bad behavior, everything from corruption and theft to public urination and the odoriferous practice of raising pigs in cities.
Speaking before legislators at one of parliament’s twice-annual sessions, the Cuban president railed against decaying morals, a deteriorating sense of civic responsibility and vanishing values like honor, decency and decorum.
Castro aired a laundry list of complaints about illegal activities that he said do the country harm: unauthorized home construction, illicit logging and slaughter of livestock, and the acceptance of bribes, to name a few.
He also fulminated against baser examples of “social indiscipline”: shouting and swearing in the streets, public drinking and drunken driving, dumping trash on the roadside and even people who relieve themselves in parks.
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At times, the 82-year-old’s speech sounded like a generational broadside against disrespectful youth who do as they please, a diatribe that could have crossed the lips of many a grandfather.
“When I meditate on these regrettable displays, it makes me think that despite the undeniable educational achievements made by the Revolution … we have taken a step back in citizens’ culture and public spirit,” Castro said.
Other examples of bad behavior cited by Castro:
• People showing up late to work.
•Graffiti and vandalizing of parks, monuments, trees and gardens.
• Loud music that disturbs neighbors’ sleep.
• Scavenging metal from phone and electrical lines, sewers, signs and traffic lights.
• Fare evasion on public transportation.
• Failure to comply with school dress codes, and teachers who accept bribes for higher grades.
• Lack of deference to the elderly, pregnant women, mothers with small children and disabled people.
• Children throwing rocks at cars and trains.
The Cuban leader also spoke of the corrosive effects of official corruption, quoting his elder brother Fidel as saying such activity poses a greater risk to the Cuban Revolution’s success than any outside forces.
Castro told legislators that the nation’s economy is advancing “positively” even if those gains have yet to be felt by the average Cuban family.