When Learning Turns to Dust


For several days I have been coaching my son for his final secondary school exams. I dusted off my notions about quadratic equations, formulas for calculating the area of a pyramid, and factoring. After more than twenty years of not encountering these mathematical complexities, I reconnected neurons to help him prepare and to avoid paying the high price of a tutor. More than once, during these days of study, I was on the verge of giving up, faced with the evidence that numbers are not my forte. But I resisted.

Only when Teo returned from his most difficult test, saying he’d done well, did I feel relieved, as many of his classmates are in danger of repeating a grade. The reason is that in their three years of middle school, these students have seen three different evaluation methods paraded before them. They have also been affected by the lack of preparation of the so-called “emerging teachers” and the long hours of classes taught by television. For two semesters my son’s group has had no teachers in English and computing, and the assigned hour of physical education consists of an hour of running around the schoolyard, unsupervised. The lack of requirements and the bad quality of the education has left us parents trying to put patches over the innumerable gaps in knowledge.

Fortunately, Teo’s school is not one of the worst. Although the smell of the bathroom sticks to the walls and clothes, because no one wants to work as a cleaning aid for the miserable wages the job pays, at least there is not as much haphazardness as in other schools in Havana. Nor, and this is a relief, do they sell grades, an ever more common practice in educational institutions. The teachers Teo has had, despite being ill-prepared, are good-natured people whom the community of parents have tried to help. In comparison with the problems that a friend of mine has had with her daughter’s technical school, we could not be happier with the moral environment of our son’s secondary school. According to what my friend tells me, the exchange of sex between the teenagers and the teachers has become a common way to get a good grade. Each test comes with a fee, and few remain unscathed in the face of the tempting offer of a cell phone or a pair of Adidas shoes, in exchange for outstanding grades.

I have avoided writing about this thorny issue of the deterioration of the educational system for fear, I confess, that my child would feel the affects of the opinions of his mother. In the three years he has been in junior high, I’ve barely slipped in a couple of criticisms about the state of the school infrastructure, but now I can’t take it any more. They will be the professionals of tomorrow, the doctors who will attend to our bodies in the operating room, the engineers who will build our houses, the artists who will feed our souls with their creations; this terrible educational background puts all of this at risk. We cannot continue to be satisfied with the fact that at least while our children are sitting at a desk they are not roaming the streets at the mercy other risks. Within the walls of the classroom very serious vices can be developed, permanent ethical deformations, and an incubation of mediocrity of alarming proportions. No parent should remain silent about it.

49 thoughts on “When Learning Turns to Dust

  1. ost 38, given it’s source of propaganidistic hysteria is, as a whole, a shinign example of “grind them with information to the point where no one sane would even try to verify a single word you are crapping out”.

    But this one is a perl:

    “Cuba’s intelligence base in Mexico City has long been regarded as its largest in the world, followed by Spain and the Cuban diplomatic missions in Washington and the United Nations.”

    And the point…?

    EVERY embassy of EVERY nation is a spying hub of that nation. That is a given and accepted norm. That is the only reason why embassies exist. One has to be a wrong-wing moronic cuban immigrant to take that as a “proof” of something, anything, whatever.

    To read such articles, from that and alike sources, and to actually agree with it, one has to be brainwashed stupid.

    Anyone with a few years of elementary schools knows what is the purpose of embassies.

    It is definitely not a development of “friendly and cooperative” relationships between the two countries. That is what governments of the day do. Sometimes.

  2. Post 47, and that is what ticks you off the most? That discrepancy, which you list from 1970, 40 years ago by the way so you are coming in late, of about 10%?

    And how is that 10%, by the way if the literacy is at 95%…?

    I really hate to be the one to break it to you, but your post just made you a liar just like the people you called liars.

    Manipulating the data to prove the point, and not even sorting out the numbers right, what does that tell to a reader…?

    On top of that, you are handling 40 years old info.

    Not looking good for your cause. You have just sank your own boat.

  3. On a speech December 22, 1962, Fidel Castro declared Cuba a “territory free of illiteracy.” But the Cuba census of 1970 shows an illiteracy rate of 10.7% for age 15 and over. In 1995 UNESCO Institute for Statistics reported the illiteracy rate of persons aged 15 years and over at 4.1%. Castro in a speech at Ciudad Libertad, January 8, 1989 said: “The present generation does not have to wage a battle against illiteracy, because, for a long time, since 1961, illiteracy has been virtually eradicated.” So much for the eradication of the illiteracy; what a bunch of liars.

    UN statistics below reveals that the whole hemisphere has made enormous strides in literacy over the past 40 years without the need “to wage a battle against illiteracy.” Cuba in 1953 had a percentage of illiterates lower than all other Latin American countries except Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica.

    Latin America: Literacy Rates (Percent)

    Country——-1950-53———1995—–Pct. Pt increase

    Argentina——–87————96————10
    Cuba————-76————96————19
    Chile————81————95————15
    Costa Rica——-79————95————16
    Paraguay———68————92————24
    Colombia———62————91————30
    Panama———–72————91————19
    Ecuador ———56————90————34
    Brazil———–49————83————35

    Source: UN STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 1957, pp. 600-602; UN STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 2000, pp. 76-82.
    Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and
    over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.

  4. Same old mierda from same old losers wasting what little of their miserable lives is still left.

    Even fighting among themselves lately.

    It only goes to show what intellects are here at work.

    None.

  5. Sorry dear Simba, I forgot to sign my comment…….. the inmidiatelly problem that Cuba has today is castrofascism it has been proven through the scattered opportunities the dictatorship relaxed the hard regulation over the private initiative. Each time it happen the people self solved all their problems without the government involving. The farmers produced all food the people needed; the markets were full with vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, etc. Small industries proliferated everywhere and the vendors found theirs stands full of shoes, cloths, deodorants and all kind articles long time ago vanished from the market.
    But in the same way dictatorship is afraid of information is also afraid of richness, even if this richness is account in thousands and not in millions. Because richness means independence and insubordination and castrofascim needs for surviving the peoples dependence and subordination.

  6. 29Simba

    Junio 28th, 2010 at 13:06
    Simba Sez: Siggy, you may be entirely correct, but your statement has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. Most of the comments on this blog have little to do with the point Yoani is trying to make
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    dear Simba….. you are right about most comment here has nothing to do with Yoani’s article…… it is a “triumph” of castrofascism agents….. they tries for all possible means to divert the post’s comment to issues that has nothing to do with Yoani’s article hoping in this way to neutralize Yoani……. the reality is that with or without commenter’s comment Yoani’s articles will reach millions, MILLIONS, M I L L I O N S of readers that will have new and fresh information and will built new ideas about Cuba’s and Cuban’s situation destroying in such way the work of propaganda that tyranny has made along lasts decades. Commenter’s comment just enhance Yoani’s information…. then….. we are not wrong posting comment that has nothing to do with Yoani’s articles but we contribute to spread information about regime’s crimes. The other day I tried to post a comment that said: “Maybe castrofascims agents believe that they fight us by posting comments with no proves that back them…. the reality is that we use them by arguing against their comment affording testimonial and documental proves that all the time makes thair comment ridiculous and false….. readers can inmediately understand where lyes the truth and easely recognize who are the liars.”
    You dear Simba can agree with me or not but the truth is that each time we port a comment with such veridic power castrofascism agent desapeas or start to write about diferent things.
    By the way…… my comment handled about this:

    “Simba Sez: Does comparing figures from 1950 to today have any bearing on anything? The better question is how can today’s figures be improved upon for tomorrow?”

    And my answer was:

    Dear Simba, the answer is extremely easy……… NO CASTRO NO PROBLEMS!!!!!!!!!

    Now tell me, dear one, How can today’s figures be improved without castros vanishing?????…….. the only problem Cuba has is castros……. then……. NO CASTRO NO PROBLEM!!!!!!!

  7. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Restrictions to freedom of expression create climate of fear in Cuba-30 June 2010
    Cuba’s repressive legal system has created a climate of fear among journalists, dissidents and activists, putting them at risk of arbitrary arrest and harassment by the authorities, Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday.

    The report Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Cuba highlights provisions in the legal system and government practices that restrict information provided to the media and which have been used to detain and prosecute hundreds of critics of the government.

    “The laws are so vague that almost any act of dissent can be deemed criminal in some way, making it very difficult for activists to speak out against the government. There is an urgent need for reform to make all human rights a reality for all Cubans,” said Kerrie Howard, Deputy Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Yosvani Anzardo Hernández, the director of the Candonga online newspaper, is one of many Cuban independent journalists who have been arbitrarily arrested, interrogated and intimidated by the authorities.

    In September 2009 he was arbitrarily detained for 14 days, before being released without charge. At the time, police also confiscated his computer, which hosted the website, and disconnected his telephone line.

    Although Yosvani Anzardo is resigned to not continuing with the site, he still does not understand why it was closed. “We were hoping that the government understood that what we were doing was exercising a right, we didn’t hurt anyone,” said the journalist. “We tried very hard to give information about what was happening in the country. They [the authorities] considered this to be dangerous.”

    The Cuban state has a virtual monopoly on media while demanding that all journalists join the national journalists’ association, which is in turn controlled by the Communist Party.

    The authorities have also put in place filters restricting access to blogs that openly criticize the government and restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

    The Cuban Constitution goes even further in curbing freedom of expression by stating that “[n]one of the freedoms which are recognized for citizens can be exercised contrary to what is established in the Constitution and law, or contrary to the existence and objectives of the socialist state, or contrary to the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and communism.”

    The Penal code specifies a range of vague criminal charges that can also be used to stifle dissent, such as “social dangerousness”, “enemy propaganda”, “contempt of authority”, “resistance”, “defamation of national institutions” and “clandestine printing”.

    Provisions of Law 88 on the Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba have also been used to repress criticism and punish dissidents who work with foreign media.

    With a judiciary that is neither independent, nor impartial, critics of the government find that an unlimited range of acts can be interpreted as criminal and end up facing trials that are often summary and unfair.

    Cuban authorities deny the existence of political prisoners in the country but Amnesty International knows of at least 53 prisoners of conscience who remain incarcerated in the country for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

    One of 75 dissidents arrested in the “Black Spring” crackdown in 2003, independent journalist Pablo Pacheco Avila, was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for writing articles for foreign and online newspapers, being interviewed by foreign radio stations, and publishing information via the internet.

    Despite some prisoners of conscience being released on health grounds, including Ariel Sigler Amaya in June 2010, most of them, including Pablo Pacheco Avila, are still imprisoned.

    The Cuban government has sought to justify its failure to protect human rights by pointing to the negative effects of the embargo imposed by the US.

    “It is clear that the US embargo has had a negative impact on the country but it is frankly a lame excuse for violating the rights of the Cuban people,” said Kerrie Howard. “The government needs to find solutions to end human right violations, instead of excuses to perpetrate them.”

    Amnesty International called on the Cuban government to revoke or amend legal provisions that unlawfully limit freedom of expression, end harassment of dissidents, release all prisoners of conscience, and allow free exchange of information through the internet and other media.

    “The release of all prisoners of conscience and the end of harassment of dissidents are measures that the Cuban government must take immediately and unconditionally,” said Kerrie Howard.

    “However, to honour its commitment to human rights, Cuba must also dismantle the repressive machinery built up over decades, and implement the reforms needed to make human rights a reality for all Cubans.”

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/restrictions-freedom-expression-create-climate-fear-cuba-2010-06-30

  8. More crap from the Caperucita. Geez, don’t you gave an oficio? When you talk about how the Obama administration backed Zelaya, that was a smoke screen my friend. They never had any intention of putting him back in charge. If you read the right news articles, you’ll find out that Hillary Clinton herself was in favor of a change of regime. And Obama stayed silent about that whole situation. It never happened. They only pretended to be on Zelaya’s side to appease the reaction from nearly the entire hemisphere. Not including Colombia, because they can’t even fart without the U.S. allowing it. As far as Cuba goes. I hope the young people continue to look for their own answers and their own way out of the quagmire. They are the future. Not people who haven’t set foot on the island in decades or people who desire business opportunities, or power, or the return of private property, or anything other than the right for Cubans themselves to get what they want.

  9. From 1899 to 1958 the illiteracy rate dropped from 72% (Census of 1899) to 18% (Cuba’s Ministry of Education archives) for persons older than 10 years of age, a remarkable achievement. Cubans were not just literate but also educated.

    There is a patter from the regime to inflate the percentage of illiterates prior to 1959, by using the illiteracy rate of the 1953 census of 23.8%. Fidel Castro on December 17, 1960, in the CMQ-TV program “Meet the Press” affirmed that “The illiteracy rate in our country is 37.5%.” In the Central Report to the First Congress of the Party in 1975, Fidel said that “on the date of the Moncada (1953), 23.6% of the population over 10 years was illiterate.” In spite of what Fidel said, the document “V Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1997, referring to the period before 1959 says “a country with more than 40 per cent of illiterates.”

    The regime eventually acknowledge the real number, which indicated that in 1961 from a total of 929,207 identified as illiterates, 707,212 were taught to read and write; 221,995 did not acquire these skills.

    In 1961 the population over 10 years was 5.15 million, and the number of illiterates 929,207. The actual illiteracy rate, based on the regime figures was 18 %, the same percentage than in 1958. It is obvious the cooking of the figures by the regime.

  10. MIAMI HERALD: Hope — and controversy — after dialogue with Church-The meetings between Catholic Church officials and Cuban leaders have produced mixed results.-BY JUAN O. TAMAYO-Tuesday, 06.29.10

    Five weeks after Cuba’s Raúl Castro and Catholic church leaders held unprecedented talks on political prisoners, the result has been some modest improvements, much hope and lots of controversy.
    Critics say the improvements have been purely cosmetic, that human rights abuses continue and that Castro is talking to the church leaders only because they are too weak to push for significant concessions.

    Supporters say they hope for further improvements and argue that Castro has effectively recognized the church, the country’s largest non-government organization, as a legitimate voice in Cuban affairs. A leftist academic in Mexico even warned last week that Castro is playing with fire, ceding power and maneuvering space to a Vatican bent on toppling Havana’s communist system just as it did in Poland.

    Castro, who met May 19 with Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Mnsgr. Dionisio García, head of the Cuban Bishops’ Conference and bishop of Santiago, no doubt has made some positive gestures — though none were reported in the state-controlled news media.

    Wheelchair-bound political prisoner Ariel Sigler, serving a 25-year sentence, was freed and Darsi Ferrer, a dissident jailed for 11 months, was finally brought to trial and essentially sentenced to time served.

    A dozen other jailed dissidents were transferred to prisons closer to home and the Ladies in White have staged their Sunday protest marches in Havana, without harassment from pro-government mobs.

    PANEL DISCUSSIONS

    What’s more, the church last week held a series of panel discussions that featured calls for economic, social and even political reforms as well as religious freedom — in a country that expelled scores of priests and nuns in the 1960s and was officially atheist until 1991.

    The gestures drew a cautious welcome from the Obama administration, and the European Union postponed a vote on lifting its conditions on relations with Cuba, hoping that Castro will make new ones by then.

    Church leaders say they do expect more prisoner releases, but describe the dialogue with Castro as a “process” and ask for time.

    “In matters as delicate as this, it is good to have patience,” Havana’s Auxiliary Bishop Juan de Dios Hernández told reporters. “The term `process’ implies time.”

    Yet even supporters of the dialogue say the Castro gestures have come too slowly.

    “I believe there will be more releases, but since everything is in short supply here, it seems they are doling out the releases with an eye-dropper,” said Laura Pollán, spokesperson for the Ladies in White, relatives of 75 dissidents jailed in a 2003 crackdown.

    “But I am also convinced that not all will be freed, because they are being held as trade tokens” for U.S. or European concessions to Castro, Pollán told El Nuevo Herald by phone from Havana. Cuba holds about 190 political prisoners.

    Enrique López Oliva, a Havana academic who specializes in church affairs, agreed. “We are living a moment of hope. There’s hope that these [Castro] gestures will be followed by others . . . yet I would expect they would be very gradual,” he said.

    “I am hopeful because it’s the best for Cuba and its people, but I am concerned it may be too slow — if Raúl dies or a hurricane hits . . . and everything stops,” added Uva de Aragon, associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

    Among the harshest critics of the dialogue, Oswaldo Payá, a Catholic activist and head of the opposition Christian Liberation Movement, has complained that church leaders are excluding dissidents from the talks.

    “We believe Cubans should not remain mere spectators in this or any other negotiation,” he said in a statement. “The dissident movement is much more than an issue that government and church representatives can discuss without listening to us.”

    Castro is only talking to the church because of the condemnations of Cuba sparked earlier this year by the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata after an 83-day hunger strike and several mob attacks on the Ladies in White, said human rights activist Elizardo Sánchez.

    What’s more, church leaders have been too silent during 50 years of totalitarian rule to now play an effective role in the talks with Castro, said Dora Amador, a Cuban Catholic activist in Miami. “The hierarchy, the leadership, has betrayed its duty,” she said.

    Recent visits to Cuba by the Vatican’s “foreign minister,” Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, were seen as attempts to boost the island church’s standing in the dialogue with Castro.

    But Heinz Dieterich, a leftist sociologist based in Mexico, argued that the Cuban church and the Vatican — along with human rights groups, Washington and Europe — are pushing Castro to adopt risky reforms to overcome Cuba’s economic, political and social crises.

    If the Cuban government “manages to fill the masses with enthusiasm again with deep, swift and SELF-DETERMINED reforms, it could win. If it loses its time with clowns and (the church), it will wind up like Poland,” he wrote in the leftist Web site Kaosenlared.com.

    Others have a much less threatening view of the Cuban church, with López Oliva noting that attendance at masses has been dropping since the spike generated by Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/29/1705864/hope-and-controversy-after-dialogue.html

  11. Forgot to put my info!Previous post is mine! So now Cancun is the next “Venezuela” or should I say CancunCuba!

  12. MIAMI HERALD: Mexican politician’s Cuba connections cause concern-By JUAN O. TAMAYO- 06.27.10- A Mexican politician’s ties to Cubans with links to Cuba’s security services and military has worried some analysts.
    CANCUN, Mexico — His Cuban-born wife has relatives who had high-level jobs in Havana’s security services, and his ex-security advisor served 16 years in the Cuban army.
    So when Gregorio Sánchez, gubernatorial candidate and former mayor of the Caribbean resort of Cancún, was arrested last month, alarms went off among some Mexican analysts.

    The case “opened a surprise window — Cuban intelligence’s penetration” of Cancún, Raymundo Riva Palacio, an author who often focuses on security issues, wrote in the El Financiero newspaper.

    Cuba has long maintained a large intelligence operation in Mexico City, largely as a base for missions against U.S. targets. But the Cancún presence is new, and therefore worrisome, Riva Palacio added.

    Sánchez is now in jail, pending trial on charges of laundering bribes he allegedly received for protecting drug cartels in Cancún, a key arrival point for illicit drugs flowing from South America to U.S. streets.

    He’s also under investigation for allegations that include smuggling U.S.-bound Cubans, Chinese and Russians into Mexico and eavesdropping on rival politicians and journalists, federal investigators confirmed to El Nuevo Herald.

    Sánchez’s wife, Niurka Sáliva, insists the charges are false and designed to torpedo his run for the governorship of Quintana Roo. His political coalition, headed by the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party, has replaced him as its candidate in the July 4 election.

    “Everything has been invented, created by the political enemies of my husband and the party that he represents,” Sáliva wrote in an e-mail replying to El Nuevo Herald questions, noting that the judge in Sánchez’s case has been accused of political bias in other cases. Sánchez “has always been a successful businessman and generated good incomes, which apparently has bothered his political opponents.”

    One newspaper described Sáliva — a 29-year-old who studied medicine in Havana, became a Mexican citizen, and has championed social causes in Cancún — as a better politician than her husband, a wealthy, real-estate and lumber businessman and sometime evangelical pastor 17 years her senior. He was elected in 2008 as mayor of the Benito Juarez municipality, which includes Cancún.

    CUBAN CONNECTIONS

    But Sánchez’s many and often murky Cuban connections while he headed the municipality have drawn growing complaints that he gave Cubans the run of the resort — and reportedly put 150 on his payroll. “You should not allow anyone else to run your household,” said Francisco Alor Quezada, Sánchez’s predecessor as mayor and now attorney general of Quintana Roo — akin to a state FBI.

    The Sánchez case goes back to 2009, when gunmen in Cancún assassinated retired army Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones one month after federal authorities sent him to crack down on drug trafficking in Mexico’s leading beach resort.

    Arrested in the murder was Boris del Valle, a Cuban who earned $3,330 a month on Sánchez’s municipal payroll as a “security advisor,” as well as the Cancún chiefs of police and prisons. Mexican court records show del Valle served in the Cuban military from 1975 to 1991.

    Del Valle, about 43, is a nephew of Sergio del Valle, who served as Cuba’s interior minister — in charge of the island’s security from 1968 to 1979 and as health minister from 1979 to 1986. The uncle died in 2007.

    Sáliva’s father, José Angel Sáliva, is a retired colonel in Cuba’s Interior Ministry (MININT) who held several low-profile administrative posts but is known to be close to Cuban leader Raúl Castro and to socialize with the island’s ruling circles. His last post was director of the MININT museum.

    Also living in Quintana Roo are two of Niurka Sáliva’s half brothers: Javier Molina, described by Mexican authorities as a former captain or major in MININT’s domestic State Security agency; and Alfredo Molina, an engineer who became a Mexican citizen.

    Confidential informants in the Boris del Valle case led investigators to look into Sánchez’s affairs, a spokesman for the federal Attorney General’s Office revealed last month.

    In April, federal investigators raiding a Cancún home found a sophisticated eavesdropping center headed by Manuel Vera Salinas, a former Mexican military officer also listed in municipal payrolls as a Sánchez “security advisor.”

    Salinas has disappeared, and investigators said they suspect Boris del Valle was involved in the spying center. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the case.

    The center kept dossiers on politicians and reporters, including photos and activity logs, said Cesar Muñoz, news director of the Novedades newspaper in Cancún and one of the journalists targeted.

    ON THE PAYROLL

    And this month, a news website reported that 150 Cubans were on the municipal payroll, including 80 in a social-services agency headed by Sáliva when she was Cancún’s first lady. Her e-mail indicated that some Cubans did work for the agency but said the numbers were “not even a quarter” of those reported in the news media.

    Acting Mayor Latifa Muza told reporters she did not know exactly how many Cubans were on the payroll but added, “they are a lot … that much is evident.”

    Although Cancún has long been an arrival point for Cuban migrants heading to the Mexico-U.S. border, the Cuban presence here spiked because of Sánchez’s links to Havana, said Alor Quezada. Today, more than 6,000 Cubans are registered residents of Quintana Roo.

    Sánchez made frequent trips to Havana — one of his first two wives was Cuban and he met Sáliva when she worked at the Mexican embassy in Havana. They married in Havana and she moved to Cancún in 2004.

    Sánchez signed a “cultural exchange” agreement with Havana in 2008 that allowed his municipality and private Cancún firms to contract Cuban artists, academics, technicians and others to work here.

    Informants told federal investigators that Sánchez and Sáliva used the agreement to “launch a migrant smuggling ring from that country,” the prize-winning news weekly Proceso reported. Sáliva flatly denied the allegation in her e-mail.

    Many Cubans were hired by Escenario Total, a show-business firm owned by Alberto Ayra, a naturalized Cuban listed as a Sánchez advisor on Cancún’s payroll, Proceso reported. Others worked for Comercialisadora Riviera Maya, a private firm owned by Francisco Di Mare, yet another Sánchez advisor.

    Proceso also reported that Sánchez, Boris del Valle and another Cuban identified only as Manuel Benitez were co-owners of the real-estate firm Xuyco.

    Riva Palacio — the author who often focuses on security issues — argued that the Cuban intelligence presence in Cancún resulted from the string of confrontations in 2000 and 2009 between Fidel Castro and right-of-center Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has since left office.

    Prior to Fox, the two nations had a gentleman’s agreement that Havana intelligence could operate in Mexico, largely against U.S. targets, as long as Havana did not meddle in Mexico’s internal affairs. But after one particularly strong clash in 2004, Mexico quietly expelled Cuba’s top intelligence man in Mexico City.

    Cuba’s intelligence base in Mexico City has long been regarded as its largest in the world, followed by Spain and the Cuban diplomatic missions in Washington and the United Nations.

    Other Mexican and U.S. analysts said that Sánchez’s links to Cubans with intelligence backgrounds did not appear to be part of a Havana attempt to expand its spying efforts in Mexico.

    With an already large intelligence presence in Mexico City “why would Castro be interested in Cancún?” asked a U.S. intelligence official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.

    BUSINESS REASONS

    More likely, analysts in Cancún said, the large presence of Cubans here — including those with security backgrounds — is the result of the long-standing business and cultural relations between the resort and Cuba, which is 140 miles to the east.

    The Castro government regularly trusts Cubans with security experience to leave the country, establish businesses abroad and remain loyal to the revolution.

    What’s more, Sánchez is not the first Quintana Roo official with strong links to Cuba.

    Mario Villanueva, governor of the state in the 1990s, was extradited to the United States on May 8 to face charges he accepted $500,000 bribes for each large drug shipment passing through his turf — allegedly 200 tons in all.

    Villanueva was a close friend of Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina, fired in 1999 after he admitted accepting $25,000 from the Mexican governor to remodel the ministry’s offices in Havana.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/27/1704053/cuba-connections-cause-concern.html

  13. By-the-way Simba, when a freely elected president in Cuba asks for his countrymen’s contributions I’m sure the reaction by his fellow Cubans will be just as vigorous as they were for Kennedy in his time.

  14. Simba

    I ask again, what is your idea about what we should be doing for Cuba. I see nothing in your past posts suggestive of any new ideas. What I do see is a consistant patronizing tone in your posts. I appreciate that you spent 15 years fighting for my right to free speech, I did the same for you having served 6 years myself and I wasn’t born in your country. It is ironic that you bring up the issue of free speech and here you are, again, trying to moderate the forum and change the tone to your liking. I don’t know what it is that you think a bunch of blog contributors outside of Cuba can do to affect change on the island other than what we are already doing, which is to voice our varied opinions and to attempt to debunk the story tellers and liers. I suggest you stop trying to “grade” our contributions we all have different ideas and different ways to express them. I don’t need to be taught any lessons about free speech nor do I want to be “instucted” by a non-Cuban about what I should be doing for Cuba. Lastly, if you think in your “enlightened” opinion that we are spinning our wheels, who cares? Fortunately, I don’t live in Cuba and wheel spinning is one of my favorite pastimes.

  15. Simba,

    Im not here to be liked by you or anyone else! Im here after THE TRUTH!PAST AND PRESENT!! Enough said!

  16. Simba Sez: Humberto, I have no reason to dislike you. I don’t have the slightest idea who you may be, nor do I care. Ask yourself though, and you don’t have to answer to me, is refuting the stupidity of Barbarian Culotte really the best that you can do to address the problem of a decaying society in Cuba? Do you possibly recall what John F Kennedy said in 1961? I paraphrase; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Is arguing with a self-styled Socialist/Communist wannabe doing any actual good for Cuba? Taking an endless road trip until Cuba is free may possibly be a good description of what you are doing. You said it, I didn’t.

  17. Simba said (post 32),
    Junio 28th, 2010 at 16:37

    “Practically everyone that writes something here knows more about the situation in Cuba than I do, but I know spinning wheels when I see them, and that’s what goes on here much of the time. A whole lot of effort goes into doing absolutely nothing that will ever prove to be beneficial to your country.”

    Simba! If refuting THE LIES AND PROPAGANDA spinned by “LA CHINA” & “THE MUMMY” is according to you “spinning wheels” then let me take an endless road trip till Cuba is FREE from the CASTROFACISTS that have murdered, raped Cuba and have divided and destroyed so many families in my country!

  18. Simba Sez: I assure you I can swear and call names with the best of you, but I see no point in it. I’m reasonably sure there is a great amount of wasted talent on this blog. Practically everyone that writes something here knows more about the situation in Cuba than I do, but I know spinning wheels when I see them, and that’s what goes on here much of the time. A whole lot of effort goes into doing absolutely nothing that will ever prove to be beneficial to your country. Why don’t I do something? Because I am far too old to now begin a new battle, I would never be able to see it through. Let me assure you though I spent fifteen years of my life in fighting for your right to say what you are saying now, and I would do it again. Because I do not feel you may be doing your utmost to benefit your future does not mean I do not believe you have the right to speak about it. It is yet my opinion that it is better to look to the future than to attempt to live in the past. You asked why I did not start a discussion as to what is the best way to bring about change. I am, my friend, you just are not seeing it.

  19. Simba

    Before you ask anyone to come up with new ideas that would somehow affect change let’s hear your “new” ideas. I’m not sure what new approaches you are looking for, the situation is quite simple. The regime in Cuba is a catastrophic failure in every conceivable way. Other than the left-wing ideologues, dyed-in-the wool communists, recalcitrant castro supporters and the uniformed, no one is suggesting that there is a possible fix for the current system. There is no two-way give and take; there is no two-sided argument that needs to be had with the other side. The castro defenders are not interested in dialogue, that is not their purpose. The propaganda mongers, the dumbirs walter lippmans and barbara culerodefidels of the world will continue spouting their misinformation, lies, slander and hate. May I be so bold as to suggest that maybe since it’s not your ox that is being gored that you don’t quite understand or feel the same pain Cubans feel when confronted with this garbage. If you’d rather ignore the offending and deceitful comments, and the ones in response, that is your prerogative. You will excuse me if I take offense at the work they do here and choose as others will, to refute, confront and yes, insult when necessary.

    The way I see it there is only one solution for Cuba, one overriding issue, and that is regime change. There is no other solution for Cuba. If you’d like to start a debate on how to best bring about that change I am all for it.

    In closing, this is not your first attempt at trying to “moderate” the tone and content of this forum. If the commentary gets to rough and unseemly for you may I suggest a blog on table manners or maybe winning strategies for contract bridge.

  20. Simba

    Before you ask anyone to come up with new ideas that would somehow affect change let’s hear your “new” ideas. I’m not sure what new approaches you are looking for, the situation is quite simple. The regime in Cuba is a catastrophic failure in every conceivable way. Other than the left-wing ideologues, dyed-in-the wool communists, recalcitrant castro supporters and the uniformed, no one is suggesting that there is a possible fix for the current system. There is no two-way give and take; there is no two-sided argument that needs to be had with the other side. The castro defenders are not interested in dialogue, that is not their purpose. The propaganda mongers, the dumbirs walter lippmans and barbara culerodefidels of the world will continue spouting their misinformation, lies, slander and hate. May I be so bold as to suggest that maybe since it’s not your ox that is being gored that you don’t quite understand or feel the same pain Cubans feel when confronted with this garbage. If you’d rather ignore the offending and deceitful comments, and the ones in response, that is your prerogative. You will excuse me if I take offense at the work they do here and choose as others will, to refute, confront and yes, insult when necessary.

    The way I see it there is only one solution for Cuba, one overriding issue, and that is regime change. There is no other solution for Cuba. If you’d like to start a debate on how to best bring about that change I am all for it.

    In closing, this is not your first attempt at trying to “moderate” the tone and content of this forum. If the commentary gets to rough and unseemly for you may I suggest a blog on table manners or maybe winning strategies for contract bridge.

  21. Simba Sez: Siggy, you may be entirely correct, but your statement has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. Most of the comments on this blog have little to do with the point Yoani is trying to make. A high percentage of the comments argue about whether pre-Castro, or the present regime, is superior to the other. My point is, that it is irrelevant which was/is better. What is relevant is what shall the future bring? The 1950s are history. Look to the future. How can Cuba be better in the future? What can an individual do to effect change for the better? Repeating over and over that the Castro brotheres are asses, or that the individuals commenting here are idiots solves nothing. Sure, I believe that the person that names themselves Barbara (The Barbarian) Culero is ignorant, but how does my saying so change anything? If enough people make enough suggestions for the betterment of the Cuban citizens, possibly change for the better may take place. You say, “No Castro, no problem.” Okay, so you’ve now waited well over fifty years for that to happen, with no success. Isn’t it about time you came up with a new idea? I now repeat my original statement, “That’s history now, how can the future be better?”

  22. Barbara, you forgot to mention the numbers of doctors working as waiters in resorts.

  23. BARBY ESTO ES LO QUE HACE TU COMANDANTE CON LOS “MEDICOS” QUE GRADUA EN SUS “UNIVERSIDADES”

    Cambio globos por botellas”… las misiones médicas de Castro

    Por Elena Bauzá

    Desde 1963, cuando mandó su primera brigada médica a Algeria, la tiranía comunista de Fidel Castro se vanagloria de los médicos cubanos que él despacha regularmente a distintos países de Africa, Latinoamérica y Asia en “misiones humanitarias”. El número de médicos, enfermeros y dentistas que Cuba ha mandado para supuestamente ayudar a mejorar las condiciones de salud de distintos países se calcula en unos sesenta mil.
    En los últimos cinco años Cuba ha enviado más de veinte mil médicos, enfermeros y dentistas cubanos a trabajar en Venezuela bajo un acuerdo entre Castro y Chávez. Venezuela recibe médicos y Cuba recibe a cambio unos 100,000 barriles de petróleo diarios que paga parte en efectivo y el resto con “servicios” que incluyen los médicos, maestros y terapistas.

    Según un reportaje de la prestigiosa revista Forbes, en los últimos cinco años se ha doblado el número de estudiantes de medicina, enfermería y dentistería en las universidades cubanas. Así Cuba, que tiene poco que vender al mundo a cambio de efectivo ha encontrado una nueva fuente de ingresos en moneda dura.

    En Cuba hay atención médica excelente en hospitales que atienden solamente a extranjeros. En esos hospitales y clínicas no faltan medicamentos, antibióticos y equipos modernos para atender a los que pagan con dólares. Por ejemplo, en la actualidad son miles los pacientes que van a Cuba a operarse de cataratas y no solamente en La Habana sino en hospitales habilitados en Matanzas y otras ciudades importantes. Las “jornadas laborales”, como se les llama al horario de trabajo forzado, de los cirujanos oftalmólogos por lo regular son de más de doce horas diarias, operando a pacientes de países centroamericanos, Venezuela y el Caribe que llegan con “paquetes” que incluyen el costo de la operación.

    Por su parte, los pacientes cubanos tienen que inscribirse y esperar meses para una operación de cataratas. Aunque la atención médica es gratis para los cubanos lamentablemente no es de las mejores. Muchas medicinas que hasta se fabrican en Cuba se destinan al lucrativo mercado de exportación y están racionadas dentro de la isla. Y, como todo allí, si uno tiene amistades con influencia en el gobierno sale mejor que el que no las tiene.

    Cuando se les manda al extranjero, a veces en misiones de dos o más años, los médicos perciben un sueldo mayor del que reciben en la isla, pero siempre mucho menos de la cantidad que el gobierno cubano recibe en dólares de los gobiernos extranjeros por esos servicios. Parte del sueldo se les deposita a los médicos en una cuenta bancaria a la cual sólo tienen acceso a su regreso a Cuba después de haber terminado su “misión”.

    Cuba prefiere enviar médicos y enfermeros que sean casados y con familia pues así siempre hay una garantía mayor de que regresarán a reunirse con ellos y no tratarán de solicitar asilo político en los países donde están sirviendo. No obstante se sabe que muchos se han quedado en el extranjero aunque es difícil verificar cifras ya que la mayoría no han querido darle publicidad a sus casos para evitar represalias a sus familias que todavía están en la isla.

    Un caso muy sonado –citado por la revista Forbes– fue el de hace cuatro años protagonizado por el médico Leonel Córdova y la dentista Noris Peña que estaban trabajando en Zimbabwe y decidieron no regresar a Cuba. Su odisea fue cubierta por la prensa ya que llegaron a Miami, via Suecia, después de múltiples peripecias y de contar con la ayuda de un funcionario de las Naciones Unidas en Zimbabwe. Posteriormente Córdova y Peña se casaron y él logró sacar a sus dos hijos menores de Cuba después que la madre de los niños muriese en lo que le dijeron fue un accidente.

    Los médicos, enfermeros y maestros cubanos que son enviados a trabajar al extranjero saben que no tiene otra alternativa ya que ellos trabajan para el gobierno cubano, pero algunos piensan en la parte humanitaria de su trabajo, sobre todo los que van a Africa y países asiáticos donde las condiciones de vida no son óptimas.

    Por su parte, Castro sabe que estas “misiones” ayudan a mejorar la imagen de su gobierno en círculos internacionales como las Naciones Unidas, donde nuevamente ha obtenido una resolución pidiendo que los EE.UU. cesen su embargo a la Isla. Este año los votos a favor fueron 181, tres más que el año pasado, con cuatro en contra y una abstención, y los representantes de los ciento noventa y un países miembros de la organización aplaudieron cuando los resultados fueron puestos en la pantalla electrónica.

  24. 10Barbara Curbelo

    Junio 27th, 2010 at 02:26
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Your figures has no a source to back’em……….. then they are not credible

    Herev are the real figures backed by UN and FAO studies:

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba Facts Issue 43 December.htm

  25. 16Simba

    Junio 27th, 2010 at 13:46
    Simba Sez: Does comparing figures from 1950 to today have any bearing on anything? The better question is how can today’s figures be improved upon for tomorrow?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Simba, the answer is extremely easy……… NO CASTRO NO PROBLEMS!!!!!!!!!

  26. Cuba has had one of the most literate populations in Latin America since well before the Castro revolution. Cuba national illiteracy rate was 18% in 1958, ranking third in Latin America. Cuba was the Latin American country with the highest budget for education in 1958, with 23% of the total budget earmarked for this expense. This data is found in the archives of Cuba’s Ministry of Education.

    The female percentage, in relation to the total student population, was the highest in the Western Hemisphere including the US. According to the United Nations Statistics Division yearbook of 1959, shows Cuba having 3.8 university students per 1,000 inhabitants, well above the Latin America median of 2.6.

    Cuban texts books were exported to several Latin American countries, bringing $10 million revenue in 1958.

    UNESCO (1960) recognized Cuba as the only Latin-American country which since 1940 reached the goal that all the teachers possessed a title of normal school or university pedagogy title.

  27. ¡Cuba RebelióN! – Official Trailer -Cuba RebelioN! is a documentary about Cuban underground rock musicians who rebel against the Castro-regime. It shows the painful reality of musicians who are not allowed to express themselves publicly but are nevertheless willing to put their freedom at risk by playing their music.

  28. MIAMI NEW TIMES:Cuban punk rockers Gorki and Gil used music to take on Castro -Erik Maza Thursday, Jun 24 2010-Gorki Águila filled his beat-up camo backpack with enough supplies for a weekend trip, not a four-year prison sentence. It was August 2003 in Havana, and he and his punk band, Porno Para Ricardo, were headed to the Cuban countryside for a rock music festival, a Third-World Lollapalooza a hundred miles from the capital.

    The invitation had surprised him. His 5-year-old band was mostly known for having pissed off the communists by singing about masturbation and horny lesbians. Rarely on the airwaves, the group’s occasional concerts were mosh pits. A year earlier, they’d taken over an abandoned theater in La Habana and thrown a rave where they all ended up naked.
    A week before the concert, a government stooge had asked Gorki to change the name of the band and its repertoire — or else. “I should have gotten wise to what was coming,” he says.

    Cuba in August is steamy, but 2,000 fans greeted him when he arrived. They weren’t all there for him. There were heavy metal heads, grunge kids, and other frikis. The country’s rock scene was and still is as small and insular as Fargo, North Dakota’s.

    The four hirsute punks walked onstage wearing dresses. Gorki looked just as he does now — with an unruly Afro and a runty stature, like a jack-in-the-box waiting to spring. They taunted the crowd before ripping into a risqué jingle about a couple of lesbians Gorki lusted after, Marlen and Tatiana. But before finishing the song, they abruptly segued into another, where they mocked Cuban bureaucrats for sucking up to Soviet commies. The bandmates burned the T-shirt of a popular metal band, shit-talked the local baseball team, and then, as a final act of defiance, threw money at the audience.

    Guitarist Ciro Díaz, a balding 32-year-old who could moonlight as an undertaker, says the band had been getting progressively more provocative over the years, but the 2003 show was the “apotheosis” of their subversion.

    “We were as chaotic as we could be,” Gorki says. “You can almost call it musical terrorism.”

    When the performance was over, a female fan offered Gorki dozens of little blue pills — muscle relaxants prescribed to Parkinson’s patients that young Cubans use recreationally. He turned her down, but the girl insisted, so he took a couple and stashed them next to some dirty pesos in his wallet. “At that moment, I fell into their trap,” Gorki says. Two days later, he was arrested for procuring and selling drugs, and his trial lasted less than an hour. He was sentenced to four years in a maximum-security prison.

    Gorki’s arrest was for more than just drugs. It was a continuation of “The Black Spring,” an unprecedented crackdown in April 2003 that sent 75 dissidents and journalists to prisons all over the island nation. Some are still serving time, and their wives, mothers, and daughters — known as the Ladies in White — have been taking to the streets to protest the sentences.

    Gil Ortiz Pla is no stranger to violent arrests. “If you don’t know the inside of a jail cell, then you’re not really a punk,” he says, strumming a Gibson knockoff inside a cramped converted garage in residential Flagami waiting for his band, G2 — nicknamed for the Cuban state police — to begin rehearsal.

    The 41-year-old is a lanky, sinewy, dark-skinned gargoyle sporting black skinny jeans, a studded Hot Topic belt, and a perky Mohawk on a shaved head. When he smiles, a silver crown flashes at the back of his jaw.

    Though you wouldn’t know by looking at him, idling at this residential flophouse, Gil is the godfather of Cuban punk — its Iggy Pop.

    Nearly 20 years ago, as the Soviet Union was crumbling, Gil was on the 12th floor of a Havana high-rise recording an album with Canek Sánchez Guevara, Che Guevara’s grandson and an aspiring music producer. Working with a rudimentary four-track recorder and off-brand guitars, he and three other guys made Jodidos y Perdidos, or Lost and Fucked Over, a four-song demo that effectively launched the country’s first punk band, Rotura.

    After decades when rock music was banned, Rotura tapped into the disillusionment of the children of the revolution, kids like Gil born after 1959 who were fed up with the failed promises of Fidel Castro. Their anarchic performances brought routine beat-downs from cops and nights spent in dank gulags, but they paved the way for all the punks who followed, including Gorki Águila.

    In 2003, Gil faced a choice: Flee the country or stay. By then, he had become an established figure in la isla’s balkanized rock scene, touring the country at least 20 times a year and helping young musicians get their acts started.

    But he didn’t see a future. He figured he could emulate other well-known musicians who’d found success and fame in exile, such as Albita, Issac Delgado, and Manolín.

    A month before Gorki was arrested, Gil and his wife boarded a plane to Miami. He carried a bag no bigger than the one Gorki brought with him to prison. It was filled with hand-me-downs, a few magazines, some press clippings, and a ratty Cuban flag signed by rockero friends.

    CLICK LINK TO CONTINUE ARTICLE, IS A LONG BUT EXCELLENT ONE!

    http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2010-06-24/music/cuban-punk-rockers-gorki-and-gil-used-music-to-take-on-castro/

  29. WALL STREET JOURNAL: Why Lift the Travel Ban to Cuba Now? Waves of Canadian, European and Latin American visitors haven’t changed a thing.-MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY-JUNE 28, 2010

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Honduran Supreme Court’s decision to order the arrest of Manuel Zelaya, a power-hungry Hugo Chávez acolyte who tried to remain president for life.

    It’s something to celebrate: Thanks to the bravery of the court and the Congress, which voted to remove him from office, democracy was saved.

    Yet a nagging question remains: Why were the Obama administration and key congressional Democrats obsessed, for seven months, with trying to force Honduras to take Mr. Zelaya back? Why did the U.S. pull visas, deny aid, and lead an international campaign to isolate the tiny Central American democracy? To paraphrase many Americans who wrote to me during the stand-off: “Whose side are these guys on anyway?”

    Such doubts about the motivations of the party in power in Washington will be hard to ignore this week as the Democrats try to put U.S. Cuba policy back on the legislative agenda. Specifically, Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson will try to pass a bill in the House Agriculture Committee that would lift the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba without any human-rights concession from Castro.

    The end of the Cuba travel ban would mean a bonanza in tourism to the island at a time when Fidel and Raúl are in desperate need of new revenue. But the push to lift the ban has anti-Castro supporters too. They argue that it is isolation that preserves the dictatorship and that a barrage of gringo tourists would weaken the dictatorship.

    Proponents of the ban point out that a wave of European, Canadian and Latin American visitors since the mid-1990s hasn’t changed a thing. They worry that American sun-seekers will only prop up a dictatorship that is most famous for slave labor, jailing dissidents and sowing revolution in the hemisphere.

    With so much risk involved, any policy change will depend heavily on being able to trust the motives of U.S. leaders. Recall that it was Nixon who went to China. That’s why efforts to change policy that are being led by the current crop of Democrats make so many Americans uneasy. After all, if Mr. Peterson wants to boost commerce why not push for passage of the Colombia free trade agreement? Why is he so interested in doing business with a dictator?

    The dictatorship is hard up for hard currency. The regime now relies heavily on such measures as sending Cuban doctors to Venezuela in exchange for marked-down oil. But according to a recent Associated Press story, “Cuba’s foreign trade plunged by more than a third in 2009,” perhaps because Caracas, running out of money itself, is no longer a reliable sugar daddy. A sharp drop in nickel prices hasn’t helped, and neither did three hurricanes in 2008, which devastated housing.

    Cuba owes sovereign lenders billions of dollars, according to the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, and according to a June 23 Reuters report, it is so cash-strapped that it had “froze[n] up to $1 billion in the accounts of 600 foreign suppliers by the start of 2009.”

    Now there is a serious food shortage. This month the independent media in Cuba reported that a scarcity of rice had the government so worried about civil unrest that it had to send police to accompany deliveries to shops.

    This has the regime scrambling. Several sources reported to me that the Roman Catholic cardinal from Havana, Jaime Ortega, was on a secretive trip to Washington last week to lobby for an end to the travel ban. One of his meetings was rumored to be with the State Department’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela. The State Department declined to tell me if this was true or not.

    Other sources said that the cardinal reached out to members of Congress, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and his staffer Peter Quilter. I queried Mr. Berman’s office but got no reply. Regular readers of this column know Mr. Quilter’s politics. As I reported in April, he traveled with Sen. John Kerry’s staffer Fulton Armstrong to Tegucigalpa to warn Hondurans who backed the removal of Mr. Zelaya that they are still in the doghouse.

    While Castro relies on the embargo to explain Cuban poverty, he does, it seems, badly need gringo tourism, which he could control. And if Cardinal Ortega has decided to intervene on behalf of the regime’s needs, it would not be surprising. He has long been viewed by human-rights advocates—such as former political prisoner Armando Valladares, a practicing Catholic—as more a tool of the regime than a champion of the oppressed. A kinder assessment of the cardinal suggests that he’s trying to boost the Church’s power on the island. In either case, acting as an emissary to Washington right now would make sense.

    But for those interested in Cuban freedom it is bizarre. For the first time in history the Castros are cornered. Yet rather then negotiate from a position of strength, Democrats seem to want to give relief to the dictatorship.

    Write to O’Grady@wsj.com

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703615104575328953766272336.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  30. VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE! NOT MY CUP OF TEA BUT SOME PARTS ARE!

    HAVANA TIMES: Cuba Needs Dialogue without Sectarianism-Pedro Campos -June 27, 2010

    HAVANA TIMES, June 27 – The political moment is complicated. The economic situation is at its most critical point; social stagnation is chronic; the international campaign to isolate the government is worsening; the opposition is gathering strength, and measures by the state to alleviate some internal tensions are interpreted as weakness in the face of international pressure.
    More than ever, cohesion is needed in the revolutionary ranks; otherwise the struggle to make socialism advance will cease within the core of those same ranks.

    But this cohesion —not the apparent “unity” that conceals people’s subordination to a single hegemonic mindset— is impossible to achieve based on sectarianism, diminished democracy or the lack of dialogue.

    A while ago there was insistence on the need to establish a new consensus on the type of society in which the Cuban people wanted to live. This cannot be imposed; rather, it results from an exchange between all revolutionaries and with all Cubans who are honestly interested in the well-being of the nation.

    The mediation of the Catholic Church, facilitated by the government, to alleviate and possibly resolve the situation of prisoners related to political causes, is a positive event in the current difficult circumstances. It can and should serve for the opening of other opportunities to relieve the pressures under which we Cubans live. The enemies of dialogue, exchange and understanding, those who advocate making the contradictions worse, will always oppose these types of movements and will look to torpedo them in order to inflame and worsen tensions.

    A chance for change

    This involves a generally favorable situation for the government to display political realism and its intention to affect substantial changes over its traditional intransigence; changes that go beyond making simple and short-lived expressions aimed at relieving international pressure and temporarily appeasing the internal mood. In such a sense, one might expect the carrying out of prisoner releases and other important internal measures, such as the beginning of dialogue needed between the different visions of the road to follow in the advance toward socialism and for the general well-being of all Cubans.

    Cuba must change in many aspects, and many modifications will have to be made to improve the political system in order to achieve truly participative and decisive democracy, as is demanded of a society seeking to build the socialist paradigm never before achieved. These are transformations that must be the result of the maturation of the revolutionary process itself and not those made as concessions to external pressures of any type.

    Dialogue is taking placed everywhere between opposed groups; between North and South Koreans, between Arabs and Israelis, between left and right wing parties in Europe, between the opposition and governments in all parts of the world. Could it be that revolutionaries here are incapable of even talking between ourselves?

    If differences between the factions of the Cuban left are sharper than those that exist between the government and its prisoners accused of being “mercenaries in the service of the historical enemy” —for whom their release is being mediated by the Church— then our socialist future in Cuba is uncertain.

    CLICK LINK BELOW FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=25607

    NOW THIS IS BOGUS!

    “The road to resolving the country’s accumulated material shortages —through whatever way and with a “quick fix”— could lead us into the arms of Uncle Sam, which is where the “democratic transition” of the pro-annexation opposition hopes to direct us.”

    NOW I LIKE THIS!

    “Those of us in support of SPD have our vision, which we don’t seek to impose on anyone. Rather, we aim to disclose it, to debate it and to seek the manner for it to be a part of the solution. However, through their sectarian ways, the State rejects discussion and dissemination of it in the official mass media, the only one. Meanwhile, they insist on defending the failed model of bureaucratic “State socialism,” that the government-party insists on “upgrading” instead of changing. That structure battles against the grain of reality and its own botched outcomes.”

  31. Rodolfo (said on post #12),
    Junio 27th, 2010 at 06:31

    “But I don’t think people like Yoani and her allies could do much better for Cuba. They would become elitists in a second if given the chance to lead. They would arm themselves with all kinds of personal wealth and be just more of the same.”

    RODOLFO! SINCE YOU ARE A PSYCHIC AND CAN READ THE FUTURE AND PEOPLE SO WELL, CAN YOU GIVE ME THE WINNING LOTTERY NUMBERS FOR THE NATIONAL LOTTERY? THANKS!

  32. Barbara Culero!Can you give us a link to your data on posts #10 & #11?

  33. Simba! I think this information has a great deal of bearing in order to clear up ALL THE LIES that have been spewed out by “LA CHINA” & “THE MUMMY”! The internet has allowed ALL OF US to support our views with raw data!LET THE WORLD BE INFORMED!!
    F U A C A T A!

  34. Simba Sez: Does comparing figures from 1950 to today have any bearing on anything? The better question is how can today’s figures be improved upon for tomorrow? What governmental system is likely to be in the best interests of the future of Cuban citizens? How can education be improved the most, and what system is apt to do that? Who cares what 1950 was like? That’s history now, how can the future be better?

  35. THE CHART ON LATIN AMERICAN LITERACY RATES BELOW DID NOT COME OUT RIGHT, EVEN THOUGH I TRIED TO CORRECT IT.
    The first number going from left to right is “Latest Data 1950-53″ in percentage (76 % for Cuba) the second number is year 2000 in percentage (96% for Cuba) the third is the increase in percentage (26.3%. Cuba was second to Argentina on literacy in the 1950’s and still second on 2000. Cubans are smart people with or without “The RevoltingRevolution” taking all the credit for it! FUACATA!!

  36. CUBA FACTS:

    Socio-Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro Cuba* Introduction
    In the 1950’s Cuba was, socially and economically, a relatively advanced country, certainly by Latin American standards and, in some areas, by world standards.
    Cuba’s infant mortality rate was the best in Latin America — and the 13th lowest in the world.
    Cuba also had an excellent educational system and impressive literacy rates in the 1950’s.
    Pre-Castro Cuba ranked third in Latin America in per capita food consumption.
    Cuba ranked first in Latin America and fifth in the world in television sets per capita.
    Pre-Castro Cuba had 58 daily newspapers of differing political hues and ranked eighth in the world in number of radio stations.

    Health
    Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live births in 1957 was the lowest in Latin America and the 13th lowest in the world, according to UN data. Cuba ranked ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Japan, Austria, Italy, and Spain.
    In 1955, life expectancy in Cuba was among the highest at 63 years of age; compared to 52 in other Latin American countries, 43 in Asia, and 37 in Africa.
    In terms of physicians and dentists per capita, Cuba in 1957 ranked third in Latin America, behind only Uruguay and Argentina — both of which were more advanced than the United States in this measure. Cuba’s 128 physicians and dentists per 100,000 people in 1957 was the same as the Netherlands, and ahead of the United Kingdom (122 per 100,000 people) and Finland.
    Education

    Cuba has been among the most literate countries in Latin America since well before the Castro revolution, when it ranked fourth.

    Table 1. Latin American Literacy Rates

    Country Latest Data
    available for
    for 1950-53 for 2000 % increase
    (percent) (percent)
    Argentina 87 97 11.5%
    Cuba 76 96 26.3%
    Chile 81 96 18.5%
    Costa Rica 79 96 21.5%
    Paraguay 68 93 36.8%
    Colombia 62 92 48.4%
    Panama 72 92 27.8%
    Ecuador 56 92 64.3%
    Brazil 49 85 73.5%
    Dominican Republic 43 84 95.3%
    El Salvador 42 79 88.1%
    Guatemala 30 69 130%
    Haiti 11 49 345.5%
    Source: UN Statistical Yearbook 1957, pp. 600-602; UN Statistical Yearbook 2000, pp. 76-82.
    a. Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.
    b. Data for Argentina 1950-53 is current as 1947 data, the latest available, and reflects ages 14 and over.
    c. Data for 2000 are age 15 and over.

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2043%20December.htm

  37. Barbara Culero de nada le sirve tener tantos medicos y dentista si no tienen ni una aspirina para darle al enfermo y los medicos tienen que ir al hospital en bicicleta viva Yoany

  38. More crap from Yoani. My God, the only reason I look at this blog is to see what they’re paying her to say next. How on Earth does she make a living? It’s very interesting that she can go about writing on a blog and not be starving like the rest of the people she talks about. I don’t like the Castro government. But I don’t think people like Yoani and her allies could do much better for Cuba. They would become elitists in a second if given the chance to lead. They would arm themselves with all kinds of personal wealth and be just more of the same. Latin America as a whole is a wasteland because its leaders can’t function without taking what doesn’t belong to them. Nobody is immune to injustice in Latin America. But to complain and not propose a way out is a waste of time.

  39. Correction:

    Number of doctors in Cuba in 6,250(1955) and 70,594 (2007)
    Population 5,986,450 (1955) and 11,237,154 (2007)
    Number of patients/doctor 960 (1955) and 159 (2007)
    Number of dentists in 2007 was 10,554
    Number of patients/dentist in 2007 was 1,065

  40. Cuba’s Education – In 1959
    9 000 unemployed teachers
    57% of Cubans were illiterate.
    1953, the population was less than 4 million (376,529) inhabitants, and 1,032,849 of them were illiterate (23.6 %).
    In rural and urban areas, the difference was notable: 50% of school age children, approximately 800 000, did not attend schools.
    There were 17,000 classrooms, when there should have been 35,000. These children without schools lived in rural areas. Each year the number of illiterate adults increased.
    In 1959 y 1960, the number of children enrolled in school was 582,198.
    In only 1 year (from 1960 to 1961), 15,000 new classrooms were open in rural areas, and enrollment in elementary schools increased to 1,118,942 students.
    At the time that the campaign to teach people to read and write across Cuba was initiated, the total of centers was 844, with 2,832 teachers, and 19,075 students.

    2007/08
    Number of schools – 12.323
    No. of teachers – 289.279
    Initial Enrollment – 3.081.117
    Students living on campus – 468.177
    Partime on campus – 961 629

    Infant Mortality Rate/ 1,000 born 1960 2000 2007
    42,0 7,2 5.4

    Mortality rate of children less than 5 yrs./ 1,000 born 42,4a 9,1
    Pregnancies attended at hospitals/clinics 63 % 99.9%
    Patients per physician 169
    Patients per dentist 1,128

    Number of beds in relation to population density and the number of inhabitants in 1953úmero de camas en relación con la densidad de población y el número de habitantes, por provincias (1953)
    Public – 16,322
    Private – 8,507
    Total – 24,829 that is, 234 inhabitants/hospital bed available

    1955 2007
    Number of doctors in Cuba in 6,250 70,594
    Population 5,986,450 11,237,154
    Number of patients/doctor 960 159
    Number of dentists 10,554
    Number of patients/dentist 1,065

    2007
    No. of hospitals – 267
    No. of neighborhood clinics – 444
    Maternal centers – 280
    Elderly Homes – 319
    Beds – 70,079
    Students enrolled in school – 2,949,400
    Adults – 388 700
    elementary – 827,400
    Middle- 942,200
    Special ed.- 43,600
    Superior ed.- 747,500

    No. of theaters – 59
    No. of libraries – 391
    No. of art galleries – 106
    No. of museums – 255

  41. Education was wide spread in Cuba before Castro. Batista improved the primary and secondary education, with the creation of the so called civic military schools in rural areas, and the Civic-Military Institutes at secondary level in 1940.

    In the 1950s, there were 1,206 rural schools in Cuba and a system of mobile libraries with 180,000 volumes used predominantly in the rural areas. The total number of kindergartens and primary schools were 12,700. By 1958 Cuba had 25,000 teachers in public schools and 3,500 in private schools educating a total of 1,285,000 students. The public school system covered from kindergarten up to High School. There were also 171 high schools and 256 trade schools for technicians and professions. All these schools were free. The number of universities reached 11, 8 state universities and 3 privates.

  42. “incubation of mediocrity of alarming proportions”

    I agree! DO NOT LET THE CHILDREN EVER< EVER< EVER SEE THESE MEDIOCRE POSTINGS BY YOANY!!!!

  43. I imagined what a sad sight must be to witness the destruction or corruption of the crown jewels of the Cuban revolution! The “free education” and the “free health care”!

    What will they do to solve this rampant corruption, this decay in society that treaten with corrupting he society as a whole?
    How could one solve such problem?

  44. Por favor gente de venezuela, esto ha sido reportado a Globovision, Primero Justicia, Comision De Tortura, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, u otras instituciones mundiales, Chavez aunque no lo crean, pero de ese mono asqueroso comunista todo se puede creer, como es posible que esta familia inocente la flia Lopez ternini de san diego valencia y caracas sean tratados pero que los presos poliricos de cuba, lady Lopez Ternini, 24, ha sido violada personalmente por chavez, si la buscan como pido sale la verdad y cae ese mono seguro por presion internacional, por amor a dios, este terrorismo ni ALKAeda lo ha hecho pero son la misma cosa, este terrorismo de violar chicas con gays odiosos comunista lo kerran hacer a cubanos de miami que castro odia por el embargo, su mama Laura Lopez Ternini rumores dicen fue llevada presa a cuba, si es cierto es violacion de cuba/venezuela del derecho internacional…porfa gente de venezuela en miami,llamen a globovision para que localizen esta familia, tengan cuidao chavez sabe lo que hago y como sabe es un secreto que saldra a la luz , cuba azota a venezuela y kiere seguir robando petroleo pa mantener su terrorismo comunista y un dia traerlo a miami y USA…porfa actuen, chavez anda nervioso por esto xq estoy en EEUU….PORFA ACTUEN..lady la han forzado de prostituta en carcacas y valencia y a vender drogas, fue sacada de universidad, figurense uds..ke feo, ayuden porfa….

    vean video..

    http://tinyurl.com/ladylopezternini-2

  45. ***
    I think that Yoani Sanchez’s son Teo is going to do very well in life. He is getting a good education from his parents. He will probably learn much about internet and computing knowledge that he could not get elsewhere.
    ***
    And he is seeing why a better Cuban Government is needed. Paying for good grades–with sex or money–is very bad.
    ***
    And speaking of dirty bathrooms–I cleaned many when I was in the U.S. Army. Set up a schedule and take turns! And I help my wife clean our home also–there is necessary work for everyone.
    ***
    Creo que Teo–el hijo de Yoani Sanchez–va progresar muy bien en la vida. Esta recibiendo una buena education de sus padres. Va aprender mucho del internet y sabidura de computadora que no puedo recibir en otros lugares.
    ***
    Y esta mirando por que necesita un mejor Gobierno Cubano. Pagando por buenas marcas con sexo o dinero es muy malo.
    ***
    Y hablando de escusados sucios–limpie muchos cuando estuve soldado en el erjecito del U.S.A. Ponga una lista y toman tornos! Yo ayudo mi esposa limpiar nuesta casa tambien–hay trabajo necessario por todos.
    ***
    Rocketman
    ***

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