Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coffee and beers seal the deal.

Cuba has thrown a furious and despicable attack against Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death. After almost a week building up a pre-fabricated and elaborated script against its victim, today Cuba wake up with the victim buried in manure. Old strategic in Castro’s regime, they don’t let the victim rest in peace: they need to destroy his image in their own eyes.Coffee and beers seal the deal

Official Cuban’s libels don’t stop to blame Zapata as a common offender they even go farther and declare the victim as an “expendable dead”. How could someone who calls to himself a “journalist” be so cynical and so despicable to call any human being “expendable”?

But that’s Cuba regime. For them, there is no limit to despise their citizen when that citizen stands by his determination to fight courageously the cynical tyrant. The old well-known strategic of Castro: blame the victim, blame his name, blame his history, blame...

A long list of hatred and lies are piling up Castro. Ironically, meanwhile his lackeys are shouting desperately to erase the crime, Cuba is kept fenced with a wall of silence about Zapata’s death. It is Castro’s ritual repeated in uncountable times: throwing lies from Cuba’s front door and locking its windows to crush any sign of protest.

Meanwhile, a group of parrots conceal the crime through a couple of beers and coffee well-planned days ago. I guess: a “professional” interchange of leniencies between the head of that Goebelian department and a regular mentor. The eye opener conversation has been registered in twitter:

@XXXXXXX You stay cool, coleague. I will pay your coffee and some beers and we will make a deal...

@XXXXXXX I pay coffee and beers, but the deal is you click in my blog, HaHaHa..... and you publish under your name some exclusives... Deal?

It is totally despicable the way Cuba media discharge Castro’s crimes against victims and relatives, family members and friends, colleagues in their common fight against the tyrant and people around the world who help create awareness about Zapata’s death.

Long time ago, international organism clarify the gloomy strategy of Cuba’s government: criminalize behind a common offense a political opinion and attitude toward the tyrannical government of Cuba by a common citizen. It has happened too many times and in too many ways.

Zapata was one of those citizens send to prison because he protested publicly against Castro, and was prosecuted under the terms of “disrespect to the authority”, which in Cuba is considered a common offense. The question is: disrespect against whom? Against Castro: that’s his capital crime. For that, he was punished to die and now they are burying under a mountain of despise and cynicism.

It is very important to remark what Amnesty International said about Cuba and its “dangerousness” law many times quoted nowadays by Cubans lackeys and repeaters:

Under Cuba's "dangerousness" law, authorities can imprison people who have not committed a crime on the suspicion that they might commit one in the future. "Dangerous" activities include handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing articles critical of the government and trying to start an independent union.

For those reasons there are dissidents in jail today in Cuba. But meanwhile, a group of despicable lackeys are sharing coffees and beers, digging their own grave in the name of Castro. Cuba has hoge too far and too deep in its abysm of shame.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Parrots’ Island.

First was the verb and then Cuba embraced itself for 50 years of monologue about everything but Cuba. The so-called Cuban revolution created the new man prepared to listen, but never to talk: a well repeater-being of slogans, mummified words in the dictionary of the Communist dinosaurs and well-scripted justifications about everything over Earth.The Parrots' Island

Suddenly, we were drowned in long everlasting speeches in plazas and terraces. We will conquer the future with thousands of skilled Cubans leaving Cuba every year. We will be the most educated people in the whole world with a shortage of skilled school teachers. We will have electricity even in the most remote place in Sierra Maestra with blackouts in Havana’s districts.

One year was children nurseries in every hidden place in the capital city. The next one was a legion of teenagers filling our empty schoolrooms as emergent teachers. And the next could be something different at the whim of our high ranked officials, which in Cuba is only one: Fidel Castro.

50 years of a mischievous talkative leader parroting about the rings of Saturn, the middle east crisis and the ups and downs of Wall Street when Cuba was tumbling down to reach the point of no-return where we are now.

Meanwhile, on newspapers, TV news and websites an army of government sponsored “journalists” are the well oiled pulley bearings to the fantasies of our dear Commander in Chief. As result, Cuba is an island of parrots: brain washed repeaters attaching slogans and ideological labels left and right to everyone who is out the line traced by Castro.

A long graveyard of economic experiments ended in disasters, Cuban revolution has an army of slogans’ repeaters to justify, discredit and manipulate facts and fictions, and create the revolutionary fantasy nobody believes any longer.

Today, we are witnessing to the long well-orchestrated script against a humble man who died after 85 days of hunger strike. It is the war of words and blames from the victimizers to the victim: what a pyrrhic victory of an ill-fated regime.

A group of parrots is blaming the victim to whom previously they ignored, falsely declared unknown and cynically poked at him. It is a shame for the system catalogued as revolutionary and ended in a monstrosity.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Double Face and Double Check.

News is flying worldwide: Raul Castro “regrets” Orlando Zapata’s death and the EU is also “regretting” his death. What a coincidence in words and statements. In the first case we all know Castro is being cynical and making smoke’s curtains with words and statements well-prepared behind closed doors.Double Face and Double Check

Not in vain we are hearing many western media quoting each other about the “unprecedented” gesture of Castro making such statement for first time. The key words here overall are the lasts: for first time. What a great and extraordinary gesture of a tyrant. It looks like a leniency of the regime and something noble and kindly when the truth is the contrary: a cynical and grotesque gesture.

But Castro didn’t stop there, he continued blasting the imperialism. Well, I guess that was predictable, wasn’t it? Really, where was the western media before Orlando Zapata died? What were those reporters and journalists send to their headquarters before his death?

I guess, maybe reporting mule’s census and something of the kind like the Washington Post did just two days before the Cuban human right activist died in his hunger strike. Western media was in a complete paralysed status in Havana: saying no words and paying with its silence the tribute to the tyrant.

Meanwhile in La Moncloa Zapatero is shedding a crocodile’s tear today:

“The EU deeply regrets the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata, offering condolences to his family”

The statement was made by EU spokesman John Clancy, adding that human rights “remain a key priority for Europe”. Ok, Mr Clancy, where were the EU days and weeks before Orlando Zapata’s death? Where was the “key priority” in Orlando Zapata’s case in the Europe Union? I guess in Castro’s pockets.

We are missing here something more than declarations, pretty phrases and statements. Reina Maria, mother of Orlando Zapata, is not in need of any more condolences and statements by the EU: she lost his son under Castro’s regime. As Amnesty International said:

"The tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo is a terrible illustration of the despair facing prisoners of conscience who see no hope of being freed from their unfair and prolonged incarceration.”

Many question left behind this case. There is one key component that disturbs me the most. Orlando was a modest, humble and a person of color. He was a typical Cuban: no highly educated but a decent and a brave man. He wasn’t a poet, an intellectual or an artist. He wasn’t white either.

Could have happened with a poet, an intellectual or an artist? Could have happened with a white highly educated man? Questions so disturbing that I just want to throw to the wind and never ask again.

We all are like Orlando. Cuba is like the man who died in hunger strike: modest, humble and persons of color. The majority of our inhabitants are the picture Reina Maria is mourning today. If the answer to those questions is NO: the EU, Presidents, Prime Ministers and western media would be settling an actual “unprecedented” gesture to the world.

An unprecedented gesture of Democracies under the boot of a bloody tyrant: what a disturbing picture!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Orlando Zapata Tamayo

Yesterday Cuba lost one of its sons in a hunger strike claiming for what he was: a political prisoner in his country. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience after his arrest in March 2003 in a crackdown on opposition groups.

His death marks the first time in nearly 40 years a Cuban activist starved himself to death to protest against government abuses and violations

His mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, has been telling for too long that her son is being murdered by Cuba’s authorities, but no western media “heard” her voice.

"They managed to do what they wanted," she said. "They ended the life of a fighter for human rights.''

Orlando set a new precedent in the long history of violations in Cuba: another political prisoner who died on hunger strike in Cuba was Pedro Luis Boitel, a poet and student leader, who died in 1972.

What it could be a stunning revelation is Boitel was buried in an unmarked grave in the Colon Cemetery in Havana, a practice very popular in Castro’s regime to all of those who are executed under firing squad.

Today, we are missing one of Cuba’s guardian angels as human right activists. Today, Cuba is mourning.

Rest in Peace, Brother Orlando, your death won’t be in vain. We will claim Justice

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life in another Planet.

In Cuba we have big posters alongside roads and the only highway the island. They are silenced witnesses of cars, busses and trucks passing by: nobody notices them. They are invisibles to any human kind.Life in another planet

Cubans’ life is so overwhelm with slogans and posters of any kind that they become completely unaware of their existence. For time to time, some workers travel all over those roads and the highway and change the old propaganda for something “new”, more closer at what it is happening in Castro’s government.

But it doesn’t exert any influence over Cubans. The posters have been there for a long time and they are so use to see it that they have incorporated them as the part of the national landscape, like a stone, a slope alongside the road or a wall on the top of any Havana’s building.

Propaganda has only life in Castro’s imagination and his weekly writings reserved by Cubans as a substitutive of the regular toilette paper: a common shortage in Cuba’ stores.

People are too sunken in their daily tragedy to find their daily sustenance those slogans, propaganda and revolutionary posters are out of their life.

In the other hand, no more those pieces of communist fantasies show Cuba’s realities. There is no Socialism. A few old lads are the only ones who talk with praise about Castro and Chavez, and definitively the old ruler is out of their life: no more on TV, no more on national newspapers, no more anywhere. He is out and nobody is talking about him, for good.

The old Battle of Ideas has been cornered into a small fairground of four parrots repeating Castro’s weekly reflections on TV. That was called by Cubans as squared table, because the round table is a non-sense in a Communist country.

It is hilarious and tragic how Cuba’s government takes more effort to lift those big posters alongside Cuba’s roads after any hurricane, even before their first aid response to its inhabitants in construction supplies.

Propaganda, repression and prohibition are the only industry with a future in Cuba. Havana is falling into pieces, the roads are crowded with holes and bumps and the economy is a disaster. Empty food markets, stores with ugly and old supplies and a huge black market swarming around every corner of the country as flies are the daily basis of Cuba’s society: a life in another planet.

A life in another planet where reality is over, propaganda replaced reality and ideology erased any trace of culture long time ago: that is planet Cuba.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hidden Cuba.

Cuba as its government has two faces. The face for touristic website pictures, postcards and official media reports and the face for its citizens, a face many times ignored by tourists, Nobel Prize winners and ideological supporters. Hidden Cuba

Our people are not living in beautiful resorts surrounded by palm trees and sunny beaches. Our people are living in a city in ruins, with buildings shattered and their lives hammered with slogans that for so long are buried in a mountain of lies.

The few little food markets in Cuban pesos are empties, not even salt you can find in them. The monthly ration book that every Cuban is condemned to hold as his identity for his entire life has been stretched to the limit. The whole country is leaving.

Along Cuban roads tourists could watch huge boards praising Socialism, a revolution dead in 1959 and a leader to whom nobody cares anymore. In refrigerated minibuses or comfortable tourist cars, Castro’s favourite citizens are snapping pictures of our vintage Cuba.

An old Chevrolet from the fifties booming across Havana, blasting with its noise and smog the city makes a picturesque picture to their memories. Or maybe the colourful bicitaxi with a handmade ad on its top will be a piece of historic curiosity in Canada, Europe or even in Asia.

Tourists are bringing home everything they will abhor to see in their country. For them, smog is a masterpiece in shattered Cuba, but it is smog in civilized Europe and modern Canada. They are passersby and Cuba is that little country living in the other galaxy surrounded now by Venezuela and others.

More than 2 million tourists go through our little country and almost the majority of them ignore how Cubans are living, how they are surviving behind those broken buildings. Farther, behind the splendour some hotels in Havana and Varadero are hidden, another Cuba is dying and nobody is paying attention to its heartbeats.

Western media is fenced behind a few sterilized reports, western embassies are enclosed in pretty mansions and the official Cuba is bombing our country with its smoke curtain of lies through its media. Four parrots every day of their life are killing each other with lies on TV meanwhile the whole country is watching with astonishment how their lives have been stolen from their hands.

Crossing Havana Bay’s tunnel another country is hidden: more devastated, poorest and ill-fated. That part of Cuba is missed in every single international headline. It doesn’t exist to anybody. It is a hidden Cuba within it.

Meanwhile, a new batch of tourists and visitors will come to Cuba. A few more Nobel Prize winners will praise a brutal regime who has buried its society in a gag. And the caviar leftists will continue making their comfy trip to Havana to please their idol and return with urgency to their safe premises. They always go to Cuba to praise Socialism, but soon they come back to their hated Capitalism. How brave, how courageous!!!

In the next season of Castro’ show they will probably come back to take the same snap of the pretty face of our country and say Long Live... keeping behind the hidden Cuba.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In thousand Pieces.

More than 3 million of Cubans are covering the most unexpected geography for an island of only 11 million and a half. Five generations of Cubans have been leaving our small island to the most unimaginable places in this world: from Australia to America. We are a nation who has been escaping its natural premises. And the causes are well-known elsewhere, but silenced inside our country.In thousand pieces

The most important characteristic in a Democracy is diversity: of opinions, creeds and sexual orientations. The most important characteristic in a tyranny is the abolition of that diversity. Instead, tyrannies install the cult to their leaders: an unlimited cult.

The establishment in Cuba of a totalitarian regime broke all the aspiration and dreams of the generation of Cubans awaken in 1959. Since then, all our democratic institutions that allow the diversity to grow were demolished: opposition parties, independent media, civic organizations, alternative spaces for citizens and civil rights activist organisms.

As result of 50 years of Castro’s tyranny, we have a country with 5 generations of Cubans who have grown unknowing the actual meaning of their rights as citizens and Cuba is leaving Cuba. Everywhere we are going, we are leaving behind memories, sufferings and dreams unfulfilled. But we are leaving behind also our country in Castro’s hands, leaving our fellows defenceless against his legacy of terror.

We are in thousand pieces and in Cuba a small civil society is struggling to face the same ruler and the same laws designed to crush their opinions. Meanwhile, none of us take a lead and help our civil society within Cuba. Instead, we are broken in thousands pieces and forgetting that, even when we are all diverse as a whole, we have a common purpose: rebuilt the Democracy Castro destroyed in 1959.

Cubans have to realize that the main goal has to be to destroy the system that broke our country and sank our economy. Out of that goal are our differences about ways, future government structures and political tendencies. But, most important, we have to take care of our future Cuba since now and actively.

Unfortunately, after 50 years of inexistence, the values naturally attached to a common citizen in a democracy have been vanished from our people. They escape and forget Cuba. It is behind and not realizing that even when they are far away from their natural premises, what is happening in Cuba is affecting them also.

We are all interconnected with our native nation. Its heartbeats are beating inside us and whatever happens there to any of our fellows is happening to one of us.

We are in thousand pieces. We need to bring together all and each of every of those little pieces and create our future to Cuba. Until we don’t understand that, we will be those little pieces scattered throughout the world.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

As Fishes.

Cuba civil society was destroyed and dismantled when Castro took over power in 1959. It was his strategic plan to stay in his throne forever. Political leaders of opposition, civil rights activists and citizens with opinions were vanished from the island in summary trials: some send to prison, some kills under fire squads and some had to flee the country to save their life.As Fishes

Instead of civic institutions, Castro established mechanisms of vigilance and create a total state of suspicions against citizens. His first instrument was the organization of the State Security Department (SSD) commanded by the today well-known Henchman in Chief Ramiro Valdez. Valdez made of that organism the well oiled machinery of killing, but ultimately was Castro ideas well designed and implemented.

Cuba’s government installed a society where every citizen is himself a vigilant and a henchman. Organizations like CDR (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution), the state controlled trade unions, the Communist Party and its parallel institution to the youth UJC, and well-known web of volunteers used as informers are the central pieces of today’s Castro scheme in our country.

For long years, many of those informers knew a phone number belonged to the security forces to inform any sort of suspicious activity, any “illegal” activity under the eyes of Castro and well-known diplomatic cars. That number belonged to one institution named Rio, and is still settle in one blue little house two blocks further across Almendares Rives and well-known in the informers argot as “Rio”.

Castro installed a fish tank in a place of the civil society, and transformed our citizens in mute fishes, simple mute spectators of his mishandlings. Cuba became only and audience with a mute button in Castro’s hands.

Since then, Cubans are leaving their country, escaping their fates rather than restore the civility Castro ripped off. 3 million Cubans are living abroad, and still here in our democratic societies they kept their mouth shut forgetting their fellows in Cuba, never giving a hand to rebuilt Cuba’s civil forces.

If those 3 million Cubans spread out worldwide will take a minute to speak actively to their fellows everywhere, and become citizens of this world rather than mute fishes in a free world, we could count with more than the few human rights activist who are almost crushed in Cuba’s prison.

Today, one of them is dying in a hunger strike under the eyes of the world and still just a few Cubans are claiming for his life. With astonishment we can read headlines dedicated to mules in prestigious newspapers like The Washington Post and not one line about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, dying in Cuba for claiming his actual status as political prisoner.

It is a shame on the face of this XXI Century. It is a shame to Cuba and to every Cuban who is not standing up against that abuse.

But Cuba was transformed in a fish tank and our citizens are used to behave like fishes. What a pity!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shackles to your Silence.

Cubans have to request to Cuba’s government an official licence to travel abroad, no matter it is as a visitor, temporary or permanent residency outside their country. It is a shackle Castro tied to their names to silence their voices in and out of Cuba.Shackles to your silence.

For years that piece of paper, delivered by the Department of Immigration attached to the Ministry of the Interior, has been the key component of Castro’s government to stifle any dissent within Cuba. It is a piece of slavery attached to any Cuban born after 1959.

The state security agents use it to buy dissent’s voices, to avoid any inconvenience person for traveling abroad and even to threaten opposition if they speak out to western media or adopt any form of resistance against the regime. The authorities have backed that hideous policy under the laughable argument of protecting our national security against the enemy, which it means mostly US. Ironically, against all odds, Cubans prefer to land in US soil rather to migrate to another countries.

For 50 years, Castro and his officials have been blaming US for every single economic, social and political disasters. Huge boards, like the ones you could see throughout America advertising western products considered as ideological diversionism in Cuba, are praising Cuba’s Socialism, nationalism and revolution, but Cubans are passing by with their rafts and heading Florida. Miami is stamped in their dreams.

The government policy is to handle out its licence to travel as a leniency for Cubans’ silence, a kind of good behaviour ticket to your freedom. Too many names had been trapped in that web, but none like the name of the prominent neurosurgeon Hilda Molina. For more than 15 years the renowned scientist was retained in Havana. She was one of those cases of government kidnapping practiced by Castro for decades.

You behave, you stay quiet and tranquil and you could get the ticket to cross the Florida Straits: this is the message Castro is sending in daily basis to all Cubans with a faith to travel. Give up your freedom, stolen for long time without your consent. Give up any resistance against the totalitarian regime. No words of opposition and dissent. A total state of oppression against your personal opinions: that is the result of 50 years in Castro’s hands.

In the other hand, more than 3 million of Cubans are living abroad. They are also trapped in the same web of violations and abuses. Castro holds them in his shackles and steals their money every time Cuba’s government is in need of financial support.

They charge you fees for the stamp in the Cuban passport you don’t need, you don’t want it and you don’t care: you are already citizen of this world. Cuba is a prison for its citizens, but it’s a prison for every Cuban who wants to travel to his homeland. In the name of a tyrant, Cubans gave up their will and many of them leave their country and, as a friend of mine told me recently, enjoy and dance with Van Van in Miami and forget Cuba with its misery. They are also trapped and in Castro’s hands, but just a few cares.

A country kidnapped by a small group of rascals who establish laws, approve their own laws and apply those laws without any civic supervision from our society: that is our Cuba today.

Meanwhile, we are crawling around the world and waiting that Mother Nature passes its sentence to the tyrant, watching how our country is leaving, and letting the criminal act without impunity.

A nation who doesn’t fight not deserves to live.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pointing finger to nowhere.

The first image of Castro on TV addressing Cubans in any of his endless speeches is his judging finger pointing elsewhere, announcing with ostentatious manners plans, futuristic dreams and promises blew away as soon one year passed.Pointing Finger to Nowhere

I don’t have too many recollections of the first years of my life, but I still remember that finger pointing up to nowhere. We almost can name every year of our existence with the direction to where that finger was pointing out. So, we have the Year of the Ring of Havana. It was that year when my father had to go away many times to the surroundings of Havana to harvest coffee trees that never produced enough to supply any small town of its surroundings.

The year were hundred of schools where build far from our big cities and everybody has to go to study there. Or when our ruler decided it was time to built new nurseries in Havana, or family doctors’ offices, or new schools in the capital city, or an army of teenager to cover the shortage of teachers in those schools. How many stories like those had filled our recent history?

The pointing finger addressing the next year task without any supervision allowed. The compass of our economy has been design to follow that finger and to fulfill his direction, that moving finger had cut off many institutions, staff members and big names in Cuba Economy hierarchy. Do you remember the Institute of Economic Planning in Cuba? Me either: it was swept away when Castro realized he couldn’t make a move at his whim.

The most disturbing consequence and the most unnoticed for the Cubans were, and still is: there is no democratic institution in today’s Cuba who asks our leaders for their expenses anywhere.

For years we listened in the radio, on TV and on the newspapers Castro and company to talk about the Funds of “our commander in chief” (I write in lower case, he is no my commander in chief at all).

Where are those funds? What were they use for? Where and how? And the most important question: where were those funds withdraw from?

Today, Castro is seated in his ailing wheelchair, but he left behind an entire country with an economy ailing from many deceases. A total crisis in social values and without any defined future, Cuba is heading into its future without any north, and with its pockets emptied and broken for a tyrant who administered our past as a corral of pigeons: throwing little leftovers here and there.

The pointing finger is not exposed anymore. It is not on TV, but his shadow if falling on every single decision his heir does. Cuba society has to remove not only its rulers, but also has the huge task of built democratic institutions, values and behaviours banned from our social conscience as citizens.

Behind, all the years of the pointing finger. In front, a future to built.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From Cuba to the world... and never back.

The forties and fifties were the years of splendour in Cuban music without any doubt. Forties and fifties were years when Havana ruled as the music capital of Latin-America and that are an indisputable truth. The most important musicians traveled to Havana to shine there, and Cubans traveled abroad to show the world their exuberant music. From Cuba to the world

Never before ideology and politics had intervened in our cultural world to break the mutual travelling of music in and out Caribbean island. We were a nation of musicians, we are a nation of songs. But 1959 came and the rules were broken.

With Castro, politics and ideology invaded music, artists and cultural scenarios. The rule was established early from the front pages of official voice of the Revolution: with the Castro everything, against the Castro nothing.

Artists and music were trapped in an ideological web. Many of them decided to run away, some stayed behind probably waiting for the ultimate decision of the times: they were stranded in that web.

Great voices like Olga Guillot, Blanca Rosa Gil and the one and only Celia Cruz said good bye to Cuba forever. Till then, our radio, TV shows and newspapers are crying for their return.

In the same way the new Revolution established its strict rules against dissidents, political opposition and religion, music was fenced between the prisons of the automatic defence of everything that was called revolution. Glamour and superficiality were swept away as ideological divisionism. With them, it also disappeared all American music, Pop and Rock, and Beatles and artists with opinions against our social process, and especially against its leaders.

Year after year, Cuba suffers an outflow of artists when they traveled abroad. One by one, all of them are leaving the ship to fulfill their dreams broken for a false tune in their rhythms: Communism.

More than 50 years had gone and still today Cuba is suffering from the same illness. The capital city of Latin-American music is now in Miami, where a long list of Cubans artists are making a living. Every year new names are added to the list of musicians, intellectuals and artists in general who never come back to Cuba.

Meanwhile, the same rules applied yesterday are applied today. As soon you cross the Florida Straits and don’t come back, your name is banned from all the media: you are no more in official Cuba, but you are. Hand to hand they are in Cuba, against any will and any odd.

No radio stations, no TV shows, no newspapers, your name is erased automatically. But on the streets of Havana, still Celia Cruz is singing Burundanga, a cd of Albita Rodriguez runs from hand to hand and someone plays Gloria Stefan loudly against any odds.

Our artists are leaving Cuba to the world, many of them to never come back but their music, even against the will of the Cuban censors, is alive and quivering in the huge heart of our nation: is a music that never leaves and stay with us. It goes beyond ideology, politics and rulers forever.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blank Gravestones.

Cuba’s government has hundreds of websites flooding internet. Hundreds of pages and pages of information are covering an idealistic Cuba beyond reality, truth and facts. None of them with a simple touch of critical approach, slightest opinion and objectivity about what it is going on in that fenced country.20091003-144431

They are tombstones with numbers and slogans: a graveyard of repeated opinions and point of views. Even the official Cuban blogosphere is a graveyard of news: they are news agencies repeating the same stories you find in official newspapers.

Journalism in Cuba is controlled and censored by the totalitarian state. Nothing looses the scrutiny and the censorship, everything is under the magnifying glasses of the state, ridiculously detailed and ideologically oriented. No second views, no second opinions, nothing that could hurt the official ideology.

In fact, if you want to create a blog, a website with opinion, nothing is better than a few peeks to the Cuban official websites: to make the contrary. Avoiding what they are doing and you will be in the right track to a successful website or blog.

The actual fact that Generation Y became the most successful blog in Cuba’s blogosphere is, without any doubt, because it has avoided all and each one of the entire mistakes committed by the official Cuba’s blogosphere.

Those tombstones are condemned to stay frozen in time, because they avoid the actual Cuba. They offer only the pretty face Castro wants to show to the world, but never the slightest peek of the reality, problems and crisis Cuba is facing day to day. They are orbiting outside Cuba’s reality, or digging in another planet.

Against them, a few independent bloggers are offering an uncompromised view over Cuba’s life. With opinions, a touch of irony and fresh air, Cuba’s unofficial blogosphere is beyond any doubt the actual Cuba. And it is because, in first place, they offer personal thoughts, opinions and feelings: something too far away from their counterpart.

The funny thing is Cuba’s regime knows that, but it cannot change that fact because there is no independence in a country where every single opinion with the slightest difference with the regime is considered a dissent.

So, here you are, a graveyard of blank opinions, crowded with slogans and partiality. Too far from the actual Cuba, too close to Socialist fantasy. There, you are in a world that escaped planet Earth and is living in an orbit of Alice in Wonderland.

Under those gravestones you could find Haiti, Venezuela and Congo, slogans repeated to no end, and a planet Cuba gravitating in the era of the stone: nothing more.

In this world, where news media websites are incorporating blogs with opinions, social networks working with more efficiency and coverage than news agencies, and personals websites helping people worldwide, Cuba is stepping down those tracks for reasons well-knows: inconvenience of the truth, inconvenience of the opinions.

There, one person opinion is shaking the whole system, one blog, and one name: Yoani Sanchez. That’s the fragility of a government supported only by censorship, internet’s blackout and repression.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eternal Archbishop of Cuba Pedro Meurice

Today, it is a family day in Canada. A day to enjoy and to share with your love ones. In this day, I want to celebrate the joy of living with the wisest word of Monsignor Archbishop Pedro Meurice in Santiago de Cuba, during his introductory speech to the Holy Father John Paul II, during his Homily in 1998.Eternal Archbishop of Cuba

That day, and with this words, in front of Cuba’s rulers Monsignor Meurice became our beloved and eternal Archbishop of Cuba. He said:

Your Holiness, This is a noble and also a suffering people.

This is a people that have the wealth of joy and the material poverty that saddens and suffocates them almost to not let look beyond their immediate livelihood.

This is a people that has the vocation of universality and is a bridge’s maker of neighbourhood and affection, but increasingly locked by foreign interests and suffers from a culture of selfishness due to the harsh economic and moral crisis we suffer.

Our people are respectful of the authority and like the order but need to learn how to demystify false messianisms.

This is a people that has fought for long centuries for social justice and is now, at the end of one of these stages, searching again how to overcome inequality and the lack of participation.

Holy Father:

Cuba is a people with an endearing vocation to solidarity, but throughout its history, has seen disarticulated or stranded its spaces of partnership and participation in the civil society, so I presented to you the soul of a nation that yearns to rebuild the fraternity on the bases of freedom and solidarity.

I want you to know, Most Blessed father, that Cuba has learned to look at the smallness of the image of the Blessed Virgin, who will be crowned today by his Holiness, greatness is not in the dimensions of things and their structures but in the moral stature of the human spirit.

I want to present in this Eucharist all those Cubans and people of Santiago that don’t find the meaning to their lives, which have not been able to choose and develop a project of life because the road of depersonalization resulted of the paternalism.

I introduce as well, an increasing number of Cubans who have confused the nation with a party, the nation with the historical process that we have experienced in recent decades and culture with an ideology. They are Cubans who reject all at once without discern. They feel uprooted rejecting what it is from here and overvalue the foreigner. Some consider this as one of the deepest causes of internal and external exile.

Holy Father:

For years this people has defended the sovereignty of its geographical borders with true dignity, but we have somehow forgotten that that independence should sprout from the sovereignty of the human person that holds all projects as a nation from below.

Here is the glorious era of the Father Varela, The Seminar of San Carlos in Havana and St. Anthony Mary Claret in Santiago, but also the darker years of the Church when its patronage was decimated in the 19th century caused by its mismanagement, and thus crossed the threshold of this century trying to recover it until it could find its maximum splendour in the 50’s. Then, fruit of the ideological confrontation with the Marxism-Leninism, state induced, it returned to be impoverished of resources and pastoral’s agents but not of the motions of the Spirit as it was the Ecclesial Cuban national meeting.

Your Holiness finds this church in a stage of growth and of suffered credibility that bursts from the cross lived and shared. Some may perhaps confused this religious awakening with a Pietistic cult or a false inner peace that escapes the commitment.

There is another reality that I must submit to you: the nation lives here and in the Diaspora. Cubans suffer, live and expect here and also suffer, live and expect abroad. We are one people, sailing with big strides on all the seas, we are still looking for the unity that will never fruit of uniformity, but a common and shared soul of diversity.

From those seas also came this Virgen, mixed as our people. She is the hope of all Cubans. She is the Mother whose mantle has shelter for all Cubans without distinction of race, creed, political opinion or place where they live.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cuba... but far away.

The reasons behind how leftist writers, intellectuals and politicians from western democracies behave toward Cuba are irreconcilables with their political positions toward other regimes worldwide. Through times, Nobel Prize winners like Saramago and Garcia Marquez had became advocate about the regime installed in Havana for no reasons other than their political sympathies toward leftist ideologies.Cuba but far away

But when it comes to live and settle themselves as human beings their ideology switch to the commodities of western societies. They like Cuba in their writings, books and journals, but far away from their daily lives.

To me that is just hypocrisy. You can’t surrender your thoughts. You can’t make a living pondering about an ideology you can’t embrace yourself in thoughts and facts. The other way around is just pure double standard, double moral, and it is completely reprehensible.

I just finish reading an article saying that, in America, 36% Americans have a positive image of Socialism, including 53% of Democrats and only just 17% of Republicans. I was just amazed.

This is my question: Do you want to surrender your civil rights and centralize everything to the government? Do you like your properties seized from you and your opinions tied? Do you like to surrender your will in a monolithic estate with one leader, one party, and one ideology?

When western Hollywood superstars, humanistic writers, and politicians express sympathy toward Castro, they are condemning 11 million of Cubans to live in slavery to the government who pay them nothing, imprison their opinions, and tie them with an inquisitional censorship. But those same glamorous superstars, Nobel Prize winners and politicians would condemn if that would have happen in Spain, or elsewhere.

There is no two ideologies: one for Cuba and other for the rest of the world. There is only one ideology who proved being completely wrong in Eastern Europe. But, here you are, they want Cuba but far away from their homes.

They come, interview our rulers, make their convenient declarations toward Castro’s regime and depart to their democratic countries, and probably in the next election will choose their candidate. But they back a system who condemn citizens to one ruler forever.

It is not possible a democracy in a Socialist society. Theoretical and practically that system is a dictatorship, and it is declare in that way from their forefathers to their buried leaders in Eastern Europe, to a few dwarf running around here in this part of the western hemisphere.

One last thing. When a system doesn’t work it is time to move on. You can claim any fantasies and numbers, but any system who doesn’t work it has to be change.

Today, after 50 years of pretended Socialism in Cuba, Cubans are living in a society with a total paralysis: nothing works, people don’t want to live there and the ideology some westerners are claiming with praise far away from it, it is in a total crisis.

It is time to say good bye to all. That it is what we are expecting from those who praise Cuba, but far away from their home.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fair of Censored Books

I have a dream to awake in my Havana any given day after Castro’s fall, and walk along Paseo del Prado Avenue surrounded by the huge Fair of Censored Books during the dark days of Cuba’s tyranny.Fair of Censored Books in Cuba

I have a dream to see Lezama and Virgilio seated there, signing with their ironic smiles the books Cuban authorities refused to publish when they were still alive. Stands and stands of books with unknown names, piled up with despicable stigmas of the old official media and authors blamed for being Cuba’s enemies, CIA agents and mercenaries recruited by US government will be wandering between thousands of curious Cubans, hunger of their lost literature in their darker hours of Castro.

Zoe Valdes, Levi Marrero, the classic Lino Novas and Gaston Baquero will be talking with the generation of writers who left Cuba during the lifeboats of Mariel in 1980: Roberto Valero, Carlos Victoria, Miguel Correa, Reinaldo Garcia ramos and Juan Abreu.

A bit farther I could find Heberto Padilla offering his bestseller book “Out of the Game” and remembering how many headaches Cuban inquisition gave him because those clever words on the pages of his winning book of poems: Tell the truth, tell, at least the truth.

Just at the end of Prado, in front of Malecon, feeling the saltines and the humid fresh air of Havana seashore, Reynaldo Arenas will be story telling with florid and expressive gestures his books, the days of misery that Castro’s henchmen gave to him just for his choice of sexuality and literature. And probably he will be remembering how much money Cuban authorities stole from Virgilio and Lezama when they were dead. The bitterly truth: Tyrannies condemn dissident intellectuals in life, bury them in misery and scorn to after death steal their name, their will and their memory selling their books to rewrite their personal history.

Maybe in between, we could find the author of “Three sad tigers”, Guillermo Cabrera Infantes, remembering old Havana with Lidia Cabrera, Raul Rivero and Norberto Fuentes. And probably Rivero will be retelling his darkest days in Castro’s prisons. There is nothing more tragic than a poet imprisoned for reason of opinion: the logical conclusion could be and it is that poetry had been imprisoned for its beauty.

There is no beauty in a tyranny, and there is no literature in a tyranny, because the ugliness of its roots, and because literature is dissent. Ideology is not culture even when some tyrants try to rewrite whimsically their history.

Probably for the first time in a long time, and under the pristine foliage of the trees along Prado, we could meet the expressive speech of Carlos Alberto Montaner retelling how many times Cuban newspapers, websites and estate agents blamed him as CIA agents, mercenary and counter-revolutionary. Around him, Jesus Diaz, Rafael Rojas and Severo Arduy will be discussing the last book of Belkis Cuza Male and welcoming their old friend Armando Rivas.

Quiet and seated in one of the bench, Orestes Lorenzo will be watching how many great Cuban writers has been surrounding him and asking how was his trip through the blues waters of the Florida Straits on his little plane when he left Cuba. He is not an intellectual man, he is just a man who wrote his vivid memories, but it is a privilege to be surrounded by some of the greatest Cuban writers of all times and feel for one minute part of them, in a small way.

At the very beginning of our imaginary Fair of Censored Books, a big public board will go as follow:

“Havana, November 16th 1999, Declaration of the Ibero-American Summit of Havana: The Heads of State and Government of Latin American and Spain will advocate for the free circulation of books in the Latin American Community”

Under the quote the name of Fidel Castro will appear removed by some unknown hand.

It is a shame that a country guilty for too many violations against the freedom of some of our biggest names in literature, art and poetry, the culprit of all those violations and abuse appear in such board. It is a piece of trash in the annals of our political history.

I have a dream of a Fair of Castro’s Censored Books in an uncensored Cuba without Castro.

Our guest will be George Orwell with his portrait of Cuba’s 1984. But you could find there Carlos Rangel, Vaclav Havel against who the regime send the most poisonous words and stigmas, the irreverent Octavio Paz who gained Castro’s hatred with his book “The labyrinth of Solicitude” and Albert Camus. They will be taking about how tyrannies even hate old classics like John Milton, seated alone in a bench looking with amaze how people is wandering around asking for his books.

Castro cut off annoyed books from Cubans hands, but they traveled through them in silence, hand to hand, in the way every single portion of freedom travels in every tyranny.

Cornered in from of the endings lion statues, you will see Alexandr Solschenizyn, cynically smiling to everyone, with the smile of those who knows very well tyrants like Castro because he portrayed them with remarkable precision.

I have a dream of a Fair full of Freedom, with no more authors condemned, no more books imprisoned and no more censorship against the beauty of the literature. Because there is no bad or good literature: there is only literature… in a free country with democracy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Twitter... a Terrorist.

The era where Cuba appeared as one of a few countries with internet blackouts is probably over. A few days ago, Venezuela’s democratic opposition and basically Venezuelan youth held what internet and international media called twiterolazo (a sort of “caserolazo” over the social network Twitter). As result, the strident and hysterical president Chavez announced that now “Twitter messages and social networking are terrorist threats”.Twitter terrorist

So, here you are, our friendly little bird with 140 letters had became a terrorist. A bit far geographically but pretty close ideologically, Iran’s president Ahmadinejad cut off internet today, February 11th, to avoid any report about the journey of protest held by Iranian people asking for Democracy in that restless country.

We don’t talk about North Korea, that secretive place is just in ancient ages: we don’t have any clue what it is going on there, but without any doubt that is a complete fenced country ruled as a farm for his farmer in chief: Kim Yong Il.

In Cuba, Twitter is used mostly for estate agents to spread out the made up face of Castro’ Socialism. With the few significant exceptions of independent bloggers, our Twitter community is living abroad. Cuba doesn’t have the strong social internet movement that Venezuela shows, for obvious reasons: there is no interent for Cubans. For long time, internet has been considered by Cuba’s government a terrorist, and it is out of people’s hands.

Official Cuba holds pages and pages of websites, blogs with official information and blank opinions. It is a weapon in Castro’s hands to demonize dissidents, a few independent bloggers grouped around its iconic figure, Yoani Sanchez, and any single citizen with an independent opinion from the establishment.

The geography spreads out countries and people, but similarities in behaviours and political approaches make Cuba, Iran and Venezuela the perfect asymmetric triangle of the face of the social media: they all shows their totalitarian roots.

For all of them, opinions in Twitter is terrorism, not the imprisonment of human right defenders, dissidents and opponents, not the repression against students in Venezuela, not the organized mobs against defenceless women with flowers in Cuba, not human right activists in Iran.

The dean of this order, Castro, called with haste to Chavez and sent him his henchmen in chief, Ramiro Valdes. There is no time to waste, Venezuela is jumping over the railings of Cuba against internet, but Twitter was the first warning bell for Socialist Chavez. He is well-trained by his Tutor in Chief Castro.

Behind closed doors, they are pulling the threads in Venezuela to blackout that country as Cuba today. The hysterical words of Chavez are warning sounds to Democratic Venezuela. But, yes, Twitter today had been declared... a Terrorist by tyrants.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cuba had lived all.

In 50 years Cuba had lived all: whimsical inventions in economy, endless speeches announcing the advent of the Socialist paradise, the tides of migration, and the tides of the return of the migration with the hated capitalism marvels in their pockets, promises unfulfilled and a sea of regretful journalists, former Castro’s officials and even high ranked militaries. Cuba had lived all.Cuba had live All

The amazing thing is that at the end there is nothing new to find: everything is a shattered territory. How many journalists who praised Castro’s regime today are living in America? Those same journalists filled pages and pages in Cuba’s newspapers to hammer dissidents, intellectuals, and people with the slightest difference of opinion with Sauron. Today are living the American dream in Miami, Madrid or Paris. Cuba had lived all.

High ranked party officials heading the propaganda machinery like Aldana, who for years administered with iron fist the censorship and the ideology in Cuba, today is writing books of poems to fill his dinner table with something to eat. And that was a man who crushes many lives and believes in Cuba and today is a victim of the same system who helped to support. Cuba had lived all.

Government ministers in all the sectors, economic, political and technological had passed through Cuba and disappeared with the blink of Castro’s eyes, They were the cruel hammer in their field yesterday, today nobody remember their names, their faces and their job. Victimizers yesterday turned into victims today. Cuba had lived all.

It is a cycle to no end while the tyrant is still in charge. Nobody understands that in a tyranny anybody is safe. Neither the victimizers nor the lackeys, the only safest person is Castro. I always said, in a totalitarian regime there three categories of citizens: victimizers, mute witnesses and victims.

The mute witnesses are those who look with suspicious indifference violations and abuses and leave the premises or never intercede to help the victims. In Cuba, it is almost the entire mass of Cubans that, unfortunate, left their rights in the hands of bandits who stole their will and their civil rights. That entire mass probably sympathise with the occasional victims, and sometimes complains but move back as soon some of the victimizer spit the word “counter-revolutionary”. It is a word with a stigma that everybody is frightening to get attached to them.

I always remember one of the most significant quotes of Mahatma Gandhi: “The cowards die many times before dying”. What a truth. Every time someone witnesses an abuse in Cuba is dying many times in front of that crime. They are also victims: of the fear of being that victim.

On the other hand, victimizers have their moment of glory serving proudly totalitarian leaders, and never realize that page could turn easily tomorrow at the whim of stroke. Today victimizers are the victims of tomorrow. Look at Cuba, the army of Robaina’s, Aldanas’s and many others who served time in prison or died in firing squad and served proudly to the tyrant are multiplying year to year and replacing “old army” felt in disgrace for the same hand.

Cuba had lived all.

Victims are everybody, even those victimizers that today are hammering here and there, calling mercenaries, enemies and traitors. In a tyrannical regime only the top leader reserve to him the safety, because it is the ruler, the one, the only allowed to dissent at what he did, or said yesterday.

So, look at you, and remember... Cuba had lived all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Selling Dreams.

Miriam is a chemical engineer, but she is working in a hotel in the exclusive Miramar district, where embassies, diplomat residences and some of the new Cuban enterprises with foreigners are decorating its landscape. As a chemical engineer, the dream of her entire life, she couldn’t live a decent life, and with a small daughter life felt as hell: she is a single parent.Selling Dreams

But Miriam was a woman without fears and unstoppable. She put her dreams in her draws and her chemical engineer diploma in the first garbage bin she found the day she realized that with her miserable salary she couldn’t afford a young child, and give her a decent life.

First, she sold cigars to tourists and Cuban-Americans visiting the country, but her purpose was to find the way to enter the lucrative tourist industry, and not through the long way: she bought the diploma approved by the government to allow her to work in any hotel desk. After all, there is nothing money could not afford in Cuba.

She bought the diploma, she bought the job opportunity in one of the luxuries hotels in Miramar and she bought the registration of her daughter in one of the schools nearby her job. She realized she couldn’t and she shouldn’t allow her daughter to share with the same children where she is living today.

Her little house gives her not too much protection, and her backyard is in the very border of one of the most violent slums Havana exhibits in this XXI Century: El Palenque. Settled in the surroundings of one of the most iconic Hospitals Cuba shows, Havana Orthopaedic Hospital Frank Pais, El Palenque is a slum populated with marginal Cubans: nothing there is obtained with a legal hand, and police never attempt to cross the railway that is on her backyard fence proximity. Beyond that line, it is unabashed territory to marginality and violence of any kind.

Miriam had bought with the money obtained from tourists and selling cigars in her hotel, all the electronic paraphernalia any Cuban citizen dream of, but twice she had been shattered by robbery attempts. Today, she is saving money and “resolving”, the Cuban slang to mean selling and proposing to tourists any sort of little business: Cuban cigars, names and contacts of “jineteras” she knows (a service well paid for them) and Cuban rum bottles she bought in the black market. She doesn’t even care if all those items are authentic, that is out of her mind as soon the money is in her hands. Done !!!

You can add a big slide of money from the fee she imposes in the desk of her hotel, and then you have the whole picture. Above everything: morality, political correctness and personal feelings she is fighting for her and her daughter. She has to pay her cell phone she bought to her mother who is staying in her house meanwhile she is working, food, clothing and any single detail her daughter needs at school and at home. She has to pay two taxis to go and return from her job. But, more important, she is saving to move out from El Palenque to exclusive Miramar or Playa.

She knows what she has to do. There is nothing unsellable in Cuba. From top to bottom, Cuba is a ladder of opportunism, little and bigger robberies and lies, lies in ideology, partisanship and politics. She belongs to the party, the only one ruling Cuba, she ought to in order to work and be a “reliable person” at her job. But above all that, she also has to give some money to her boss to keep him happy and never complain, and protect herself from other people’s eyes.

Day after day, Miriam is piling up dollar by dollar and making calculus about how much money she has to pay to the inspector of Cuba’s Housing Institute, to the lawyers to allow interchange her little wooded house with a comfortable in Playa or Miramar, pay to the officials who approve all the documents and bureaucracy needed, and on top of all, pay to the owner of her future house for “the sale”.

In Cuba, you are not in charge of anything. You are a loan of the government. Freedom is a word repeated by official journalists, Cuban media and leaders, but never renew and certainly surreal. You can’t sell your house. Any properties and your own freedom of movement are on the hands of the authorities. She can’t change that, so she chose to survive the jungle.

Knowing that, today Miriam is saving, closing her eyes to her heart and enduring. She couldn’t leave Cuba and anyhow she is a survival. For her, life is over. She is living for her daughter and praying for a change... soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Presumed Guilty.

It is outstanding to read, one by one, pure and crystal clear of interpretations, ideologies and partisanships the Universal Declarations of Human Rights. I would propose to you to write in a piece of paper every article of it, and try to delineate how far Cuba had gone violating each and almost every one of the renowned declaration.Presumed Guilty

In 50 years, our hemisphere has changed drastically, but Cuba has stayed untouchable, frozen in time and in too many lines of the Declaration signed recently by Raul Castro’s government unfulfilled.

Since 1961, officially, Cuba is a proletarian dictatorship. It is laughable and euphemistic trying to give any given surname to what it is in essential a dictatorship. There is no dictatorship for riches or poor, leftist or rightist, there is only dictatorship. Their surnames don’t change their essential principle: daily violations of Human Rights.

The level of violation and hypocrisy in our country is highly evident when you look at how Castro had signed, at the whim of his will, the death penalty in Cuba.

When it comes to Cubans: summary trials without any legal guarantee to presumed offenders and executed in a few days. The appeal process to courts and the followed automatic appeal to Counsel of Estate have been executed in the most spectacular race against any fair legal process. And the emperor’s hands never had shook to sign a verdict decided from the very moment the presumed offender has been imprisoned.

We all know that in Cuba there is no presumed innocent. Instead, there are only presumed guilty even before the farce in the court room had began.

How different is when it comes to foreigners. You don’t have to go too far. Today, in Guanajay high security prison there is a Salvadorian waiting for his execution. Raúl Ernesto Cruz León was detained in September 1997 and subsequently sentenced to death on 23 March 1999: two years between his imprisoning and the trial.

At the trial, held on 8 March 1999, he pleaded guilty to the charges and charged with "sustained terrorism" for carrying out bomb attacks against five hotels and one restaurant in Havana between July and September 1997. An Italian tourist was killed and eleven people were injured as a result of the explosions. Today, Mr Cruz Leon is still awaiting appeal, because he is not a local offender.

I just wondering what would have happened if, instead of being Salvadorian, Mr Cruz Leon would have been Cuban. I could tell you: three days in prison, one day on trial and the next day in the firing squad. That’s the consequence of being Cuban and living in the paradise of no legal guarantee to the common citizens.

We are not presumed innocents at any rate: we are always guilty at the eyes of our totalitarian estate, whatever its surname is.

The Article 11 of UN Declarations of Human Rights settled:

“Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

What kind of guarantee any presumed innocent could find in three days gap between his imprison and trial? None

A long list of cases with similarities we can list here, but close to Cruz Leon there is the most significant case in recent Cuba: the case against the three failed hijackers in 2003. No death involved, no injuries, no bombs, no damages, but still the same hand who hasn’t signed the sentenced against Cruz Leon, signed and send the three men to the firing squad in three short days. That’s Cuba’s legal system.

This is a government who doesn’t stop at anything to crush any insolence, dissent and opposition. A country with an excess of laws, decrees and regulations is a country without any credit to hold and to claim.

Cuba’s legal system is ideologically oriented, politically bound and essentially ill. From our birth we are condemned to be presumed guilty, because presumed innocent is a dissident terminology under Castro’s Criminal Code: it doesn’t exist.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Behind the Desk.

More than 900 thousands Canadians traveled to Cuba in 2009. Mostly all of them to resorts like Varadero, Cayo Largo and Havana, and mostly all of them unknowing what it is behind the desk every time they go to change their currency into Castro’s invention: the CUC.Behind the desk

Cuba has two official markets for their citizens, when actually the biggest market in the country remained in underground Cuba, traveling door to door, behind shattered buildings in Havana, or shouted from balcony to balcony, in a sort of national touristic trip throughout Havana. There, you can find everything that it is escaping Castro’s hands: medicines, milk and apples. In fact, the only sustainable market in Cuba is the black market.

But behind the desk of luxurious hotels, beautiful resorts and magnificent beaches, there is another market hidden from the tourist’s innocent eyes. The authorities delivered an official rate for every single foreign currency circulating in Cuba, but the cunning Cuban never stay too far from any profitable source for their life.

Having a poor networking system in its touristic industry, Cuba delivered every morning its official rates to hotels and resorts, and there our crafty fellows add their own fee above of it: his fee to survive Castro’s regime.

Rascals always live on people’s behalf, especially on behalf our silly innocent tourists who believe, mostly all the times, what our fellows show them on the screen of their computer: a rate already altered to his pockets..

But there is another trick Canadians and tourists ignore, and I saw in place with amaze. At the very moment when the tourist hand out their money to the person behind the desk, our rascal with a wand of stroke throws one of the bills handed out to him to the floor: it is the payment our innocent tourists are paying to our imaginative Cubans to survive.

I saw myself the trick in one of Varadero most luxurious hotels, and I was stunned with the fact that I didn’t even see the bill falling from his hands, but I actually saw it on the floor meanwhile our smart fellow was talking gently with the pleasant woman. When she picked up her money and was gone, the guy gave me a wink and smile with my astonishing surprise. I never tried to change my money in any other hotel in Cuba after that. I guess you won’t.

It is a survival quest, and I know that. But for me it is beyond my principles and believes. Cubans had gone too far to survive, and in every single premises their first task is to steal something and sell it to anybody: from a glass stole day by day until they complete the whole set, to the daily cigar that workers are bringing out from Cuba’s tobacco industry to sell it in the black market.

Behind all of these little daily robberies are the Cuban salary policy, the double currency and the shortage of every single item Cubans face day after day. It is the Estate who has to be blame, not its defenceless citizens.

From top to bottom, Cuba’ society is a ladder of opportunism, robbery and double moral. Communist party leaders ask from humbleness, chastity in revolutionary principles and frugality to our fellows, but they enjoy a life without limit: nice houses, any lack of groceries and their daily gas to their cars in a country where to own a car is a luxury a few can enjoy. This is our Cuba: never referenced by official media and supporters worldwide.

Meanwhile, innocent Canadians are traveling to Cuba and giving a bit of freedom to our nationals to their pockets, behind the desk. It is a price paid for their survival in a country where the authorities punish everything, from a simple rational opinion to the citizen defiance to the official view about Socialism.

Behind the desk, Canadians and tourists are giving away freedom.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Old Ropes and Chains.

Cuba is an isthmus of strange ideas. Everything is collapsing there: economy, ideology and political science. For 50 years an intolerant system had refused to change, and when little band aids have been put on it, there have been removed at the whim of its leaders a few years later. Old Ropes and Chains

Today, after half a century of experiments, whimsical changes of direction and multitude of mistakes, Cuba is in a shattered territory far beyond this entire story begun: 1959. The whole country in ruins, many generational levels of Cubans wishing to leave their own country, a brand new youth escaping political compromise with the institutional regime, and the national economy floating over a giant debt pile up year after year without seeing a light at the end of the tunnel: these are Castro’s will to the future.

The last ink in the brand new government has been to rip off the unemployment benefits. Is it possible to proclaim any country Socialist without the basic benefits for their workers and citizens?

The irony of all of this tongue twister is that the well-announced news was made by a top leader of the National Trade Union of Cuba, the only one allowed to work and exist on “behalf” of Cuban workers. That society is called “Socialist” in official newspapers, websites and public speeches. The actual invention of Socialism worldwide has been the establishment of new terminologies never used before, nothing more.

If Cuba wants to fight any inefficiency or bureaucracy, why doesn’t remove then government institutions that don’t bring any productivity and economic results to Cuba’ society? I mean, CDR (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution) for instance. That institution is, per se, one of the burdens of the colossal bureaucracy installed by the regime, and the key component in the repressive machinery for that society.

Why doesn’t Cuba open deeper economic reforms, like self-employment, or liberalize the productive forces, open the national market to their own citizens, let them establish their own business and create wealth from their natural talent?

Cubans had proven they are amazing entrepreneurs everywhere they go. In the US, the Cuban-American community is one of the strongest, if it is not the most stronger. Wealth is not evil by itself, but poverty only creates violence, destruction and chaos, and it is a cycle that never ends.

Instead of that, Cuba is returning to old ropes and chains. The same mechanisms tried when the Special Period was announced in 1991 and to the same sectors, agriculture and construction, that never grew because people don’t want to go to places and jobs with too little money and little time to “resolve” their lives. That means, steal every single screw from the stubborn system that wants to sale old ropes and chains to their own people.

Besides, they don’t want to renounce what is essential to its needs: the repressive machinery. Socialism without chains and ropes are inexistent, it is a complete absurd.

It is the never-ending story without Alice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ghostly little Towns.

Havana is the capital city, but Cuba is our country. Havana has big shattered stores, big luxurious hotels, embassies and government offices. But our country is long and narrow, populated with ghostly little towns with empties little parks surrounded by the local police station, catholic church, one tiny deteriorated cafeteria and a place when you can consume all the alcohol that young and adults take to drown their dreams and forget the place they came from.Ghostly little Towns

Little towns are living a life of little hopes, little dreams, and little future. The gap between our capital city and our forgotten Cuba is the silenced story never told in newspapers, official websites and “respectable” official award winning bloggers. Cuba’s little towns are the hidden Cuba: never known, never published, and never referenced by any media. Only “unfriendly” unofficial bloggers pays attention to their shadows and became enemies of the estate official class.

Our capital city is too far and too selfish in every terms, hoarding western media, focusing attention in worldwide headlines and gathering resources from the forgotten Cuba.

Little towns have another life: dull, silent and monotonous during daylight. At nightfall, just the central park with a few regular fellows looks alive as an island in a sea of darkness and silence. Forgotten Cuba is more forgotten at night. People gather in front of their TV, watch a few boring shows and go to sleep the same daily dream of lost illusions.

Ironically, alcohol, suicides, violence and repression are more extreme in their premises. Alcohol is the usual company in little towns and with it violence and suicide explode as escape boat to the routinely people’s life. Far, so far from embassies and western media, repression is hard to endure in forgotten Cuba, always ignored by any western journalist, always in second line or third, if any.

Little towns are a third world within the third world Cuba means: third treatment in resources and attention, third treatment in groceries supplies and jobs, third treatment in every component of Cuba’s life. It is an inner blockage practiced by Cuba’s government. The short list of groceries and supplies available in Havana are shorter in our little towns, when everything has the tendency to disappear from night to day: people, youth, jobs places, life and hopes.

The biggest offenders in Cuba are from little towns. And between bars the biggest violent offenses happen amongst people from little towns, probably because their hopes had been drowned in alcohol and violence for too long.

I was born in one of those little town, the same little town copycatted and repeated here and there along Cuba. Psychology, sociology and moral change from our capital city to the rest of Cuba: the forgotten. There is a wall of contention, discrimination and sorrow between Havana and the country no one report. For forgotten Cuba Havana is too far away. For privileged Havana, forgotten Cuba doesn’t exist.

There, the privileges of the tyranny, the political class who pull the thread of every life and the controlled fist who punish every single move out of the fences are higher and strained. It is a concentric tyrannical circle tying up our ghostly little towns to no end.

Poor little lost towns... Poor Cuba...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Citizen Felony.

I still remember the day we got our Canadian citizenship, a very cold afternoon in 2003. It brings me memories of my little boy asking me questions in his new language about the ceremony we were having that day. I explained him thoughtfully its meaning and why we were there. Suddenly, he tossed his eyes and begged me embarrassed that he didn’t want to be “a citizen”.Citizen Felony

Intrigued I asked him why, and his answer let me completely stunned: Because the citizens are in trouble with the police. His little memories of Cuba came back as a flashback overwhelming him.

50 years of Communism resulted in the total abolition of the sociological meaning of citizen. Back there, we were comrades. If you go to any store, establishment or government office people call you as comrade never as a citizen. In political meetings, TV shows and public speeches the word is repeated with the routinely indifference that its use for years grasped our customs. Doctors, artists, politicians and ruler in chief point to you as a comrade, which is the part of your inner-citizen survived after the long journey through Socialism.

The other part, the one my son was bringing to me that cold afternoon in City Hall, Toronto, is the dark side, the rest of your inner-citizen left to the estate’s oppressive machinery when you fall in trouble in any way through your life.

Just in from of the Police, and the authorities the old concept of citizen came back and you feel naked, unarmed and completely helpless. Cuban authorities had stripped off its moral values alienating its use when the borders of legality and marginality are fencing you against the repressive institutions.

As result, in Cuba you are citizen only in front of the police, when you are a dissident and the official Cuba nicknamed you as counter-revolutionary, or even when you are in the law-enforcement surroundings anyhow. Citizen became a dissident word in the official language of the system.

The overall scope of the word and its trembling meanings had been spread out throughout our society so far away, that even my little boy grasped its nuances at such an age. The system stamped the civilian concept of citizen as counter-revolutionary, dissident and enemy. Our society confused partisanship with citizenship, as result we are only citizens in front of the law with the stamp of outsiders, frontal opponents of Socialism.

When the citizenship ceremony finished, and we came back home that cold afternoon of 2003, my little son brought home a new meaning, a new happy word incorporated to his new language. He didn’t have to fear anymore the sound of citizen as a felony, or something in the surroundings of illegality and conspiracy. He incorporated to his new inner-self a concept lost in Cuba for more than 50 years, and banned as a dissident word from the official dictionaries of that tyranny.

He is today a citizen of the world.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Castro’s Henchman in Chief fencing Venezuela.

This week has been crowded with news from Venezuela, bad news overall. In another very significant similarity with his tutor in Chief Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez wasn’t shy to express one of his master hatred: internet, and especially Twitter. The social network had became a headache to Venezuela’s ruler after the shutting down of RCTV.Castro Henchman in Chief fencing Venezuela

In the other hand, Fidel Castro has send one of his closest allies in his fight against Cuba’s civil society: his Henchman in Chief Ramiro Valdez, who will go to Venezuela to bring “help” in its energy crisis. Hmm…

But, what does Castro’s Henchman in Chief know about energy system problems and solutions available to Venezuela?

By sure, what he does know is about repression, suppression of civil rights and the shutting down of internet in Cuba. Those are his areas of expertise. In those, Ramiro Valdes had put his fingerprints without any doubt.

Valdez was Cuba’s first Minister of Interior and the mastermind behind the creation and organization of Cuba’s repressive apparatchik G2. He is without a doubt a hardliner, a man who crushed Castro’s opposition in the 60’s and part of the seventies with an iron fist.

In the 80’s, when times were more tranquil, and Cuba society was definitely under total control, Castro moved his henchman out of sight from a department who made him very unpopular worldwide, and a face blank of many frequent critics in western societies. It was the moment Cuba was emerging to institutionalize its Socialism system in what it is today: a totalitarian monarchy.

In the 80’s, Valdes was the front runner in the electronic industry in Cuba, and made an empire from it. He was the one behind closed doors who established the Cuban rules in internet: out of reach from the common citizen, just a tool in the hands of the totalitarian regime under the siege of loyal lackeys.

The latest move made by Raul Castro to set him as head of the Ministry of Communications and IT was the perfect symbol of the times to come in the “new Cuba”. At the end of 2008, Ramiro Valdez made clear to the headquarters of the IT industry in the island that Cuba had to create its own operating system from Open Sources Software, in order to fence even more Cuba from internet.

As result at the end of 2009, Cuba launched its own system NOVA: the Henchman in Chief’ solution to close every single door to internet’s intrusion. Cuba is today, with China and a few countries, one of the internet’s “black holes” (go to Reporters without Borders website)

So, what does Ramiro Valdes do in Venezuela? He is not looking after any energy crisis solution in which he is neither an amateur nor an expert. It is more obvious after the very revealing Chavez’s distress about twitter and his remarkable words about twitter’s terrorism. It is sounding too familiar, too close to Cuba’s internet’s “black hole”.

Is Chavez trying to shut down internet in Venezuela? Today, another rumour has reached the news: Venezuela National Assembly is considering a law against internet. But, if all these facts were enough, you have to remember Cuba officially rejected US offer about a submarine cable to joint Cuba and America’ soil and preferred its association with Venezuela, which it is more costly. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

What it is coming is an internet’s besiege between the two countries and the visit paid by Ramiro Valdes is just the tip of the iceberg about the times to come to Venezuela.

It is necessary that Chavez’s opposition makes clear to Venezuela that what it is in stake is not a simple move, it is the future and the total fencing of that country in the hands of a ruler with a golden mine under his seat.

Time is coming very close to Venezuela to become another Cuba saga. We hope that siege will never happen.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From my TV.

From my TV, statistics and numbers announce surplus, happiness and futures plans, the grocery stores are full and people are happy even when sometimes they don’t travel and get holidays in Venice. HmmmFrom my TV

The slums around the corner are vanished, the boulevard two blocks north still smell the new paint and we are twittering with our friends around the world. Hmmm

From my TV, the monthly ration book never existed, blackouts are history and children have their milk even when they are 7 year older than the old official plan. Hmmm

We can buy cars, rent a room in Varadero beach and play cards in the nearby casino. There are no policemen stopping black skinny guys with estranger faces, you can invite your Canadian friend at home without having the neighbour henchman informing the estate police and your business is rolling great three blocks ahead. Hmmm

From my TV, Celia Cruz is singing Guantanamera, Gloria Estefan is having an interview and Willy Chirino is making a new duet with Julio Iglesias. Hmmm

My neighbour bring me The New York Times, the newspaper talks about the new opposition government and I change to CNN to know the new report about the crisis in Sudan. Hmmm

From my TV, somebody is in front of the government offices protesting without any violence and anybody call him with an ugly epithet or a dirty gesture. No more acts of repudiations, no more throwing eggs against emigrants, no more especial permission to travel or come back: always a door open to Cuba. Hmmm

I think I already changed the channel before time.

From that TV nothing has changed. The long lists of achievement are the same even when everybody knows there are none. Ration books of any kind, milk and groceries are casualties of this war against humanity whose name is Communism. Cars, good and decent houses are only in payment of loyalty and partisanship and the voice from that screen is only the voice of the entitled leader.

From that TV there is no artist with free will and free opinion to speak: they hide, they quiet and they repeat, but never express their honest opinion that could hurt his seat in the next plane to Heaven. Celia is singing properly concealed at home, and the picture of the eternal leader is still on the wall to keep up the appearances in case the neighbour henchman knocks the door.

From that TV, journalists, reporters and politicians repeat the same words yesterday pronounced by the only man allowed to speak and to denounce. The prisons are still full of political prisoners, and twitter is a dream in a night of freedom: it vanished as soon dawn falls.

From that TV, freedom is the word most repeated and the less achieved. Cuba is dying from that TV and its gravediggers are enjoying their show meanwhile our country is leaving.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cuba in Wonderland without Alice.

Cuba is a country ruled by tides. Sometimes the tides are flooding lives with disasters, shortages and persecutions. And sometimes the tides are withdrawing people, civil rights and old little achievements catalogued in the past as part of the mythology of the Cuban Revolution. Today, many of those renowned “achievements” are gone long time ago.CUBA-CASTRO/CAP

One by one, the Cuba praised for many leftist supporters as the paradise of Socialism had erased those first mythical attempts. Taxes abolished in the 60’s at the end of the 80’s made their return: water, gas. The long holidays for electricity and telephone prices were over at the 90’s. The era of the mythical Revolution was over... and began the era of the mystical Involution to the end.

The new Century is not an exception: the elimination of no-charge workers’ cafeterias and the suppressions of items from Cuban monthly ration books are between some of those “unjustified and highly subsidized gratuities” named by Raul Castro’s government. Those named reforms in the euphemistic manners of the western media fenced in Havana.

Ah, our dear monthly ration book. In its name the Castro’s brothers had made thousands of casualties in their war against our civil rights. But the list of items in that little book, every year more thin and neglected, has been shortened more and more and today is a mockery to our intelligence. We don’t have any recollection of when it started, it is so back in time.

Amongst the rumours running in Havana nowadays our sacred monthly ration book has an especial mention: its time life is at stake and could be the next step in Raul Castro’s reform. But today, the only trade union officially allowed in Cuba announced the end of the subsidy to the unemployed. It is not a surprise in the Cuban scenery.

In the 90’s, when the Special Period era began, thousands of people were send home with the 60% of their salaries. What the Trade Union is announcing today is precisely the end of that 60% of salary at home, what it means no unemployed benefits at all.

My little question is: Is this Socialism? Does Socialism mean no unemployment benefits at all? Is that the same society claimed by Fidel Castro in his well-known Moncada’s trial?

Myths, legends and fantasies are part of the human literature, but never part of political processes. Cuba is a myth: it doesn’t belong to history. In 1959, as part of a populist policy, Castro’s government abolished any form of taxation, froze all the prices in gas, electricity, phone services and housing, and demolished every single brick of the old Cuba: economy, political parties, government’s structure, trade unions and democratic institutions of any kind.

With the Special Period in the 90’s, everything Castro brought down in the 60’s and became symbols of the New Revolution came back as “unjustified and highly subsidized gratuities”. It is the Big Brother syndrome: rewrite history over and over.

Since Castro entered Havana in January 1959, what Cuban authorities named as Revolution has been rewriting its rules, laws and words over and over as Big Brother, and it has been selling Wonderland worldwide with Alice exiled in Miami.