Hanoi, Vietnam.- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will arrive in Vietnam on Thursday for an official and friendly visit, his first since he took office in April of this year.
But it will be the second of all times, because he was here before in June 2013, when he was still first vice president of the island.
Since then five years have passed and anyone would say that there is little time to notice very remarkable changes in the economic and social face of this Indochinese nation.
And although really five years is hardly a tris in terms of the life of a country, the truth is that Vietnam has been enough to make unrecognizable to who did not pass by here during a lapse like that.
The figures sometimes hide realities, but this is not the case: in the last five years the Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual average of more than six percent and the symptoms are visible everywhere one walks.
To go no further, take Hanoi as a mirror of the dynamism of national life: where before there was a road or a bridge in poor condition, now there is a new road; the skyscrapers of the residential neighborhoods sow what were previously vacant lots; and the production of consumer goods in general increased appreciably.
Those are things that President Diaz-Canel knows, but to another not warned of the situation it is worth telling him that on the streets of Vietnam he will not see children selling newspapers, beggars asking for bread, or ragged people, because even garbage collectors wear uniforms .
No better time than early in the morning to realize how Vietnam lives. From long before the sun rises the merchants open their establishments and the ones that less, put up their flower stalls, fruit or whatever, or go out to sell coffee and other infusions.
Here, the early morning Buddha helps him … Or the one who does not sleep at dawn, because the usual habit is for builders and public works workers to work during those hours.
So the unwary visitor most also resign to find people without work: the country keeps unemployment below two percent and not a few have more than one occupation because some salaries are given to eat, but not to cover the slightest superfluous expense.
Salaries do not reach many, it is true, but the good news is that they rise. Thus, if in 2016 the average monthly salary was 6 million VND (about 263 US dollars), last year it climbed to 6.6 million VND (about 290 USD).
The truth is that the results of the government’s battle against poverty are tangible. From 2000 to 2017, the rate of poor households fell from 27 to nine percent and things remain on track in that course.
All of the above has to do with the security with which one walks through the Vietnamese streets. I’m not saying that there are no robberies or theft by carelessness, but then the assault with violence … More we have to take care of the overflowing traffic of cars and motorcycles, whose growing sales, by the way, are also a reflection of something.
The intense social and cultural life of the country; the tranquility of parents to see their children run around parks and squares with no more concern than a skinned knee; the thirst for reading among young people and their desire to be someone in life; the freedom to choose and cultivate the religion one wishes …
There are so many things that speak of a country of growing strength and continuous renewal!
Is Vietnam a paradise? No, the country must still work very hard and for much longer to get where it wants and deserves.
What one does learn quickly from the Vietnamese is that in order to distribute wealth, it must first be created. And that can only be achieved with hard work of days and days that amount much more than five years.