“Comrade” Granma


He would often raise his fist while screaming in his high-pitched voice, his face flushed, at whomever he disagreed with. And so would the newspaper Granma, as if a breath of life had turned it into a person; as if a rare spell could make the paper body of the tabloid turn itself into flesh and bones. He would dress in a plaid shirts, proudly displaying the sharp creases of his clothes achieved with successive sprays of starch. The daily paper of the only party permitted in Cuba was of an undefined age and a nineteenth century mentality, displaying his medals, constantly talking about feats he never actually accomplished. He never listened to others, because his interminable tirade drowned out criticism, contrary ideas, the least hint of differences. He behaved like a grouchy man who couldn’t even converse with his own children, who had seen all those whom he once loved escape from his side.

Granma, like some I know, would turn his face if someone close to him bought a little food on the black market. But he would scarf down every last bite without asking where the piece of potato or the slice of bread on the table came from. His large-type editorials would maniacally scream vacuous slogans whenever he knew the neighbors were listening. He would appeal–with great frequency–to betrayal and intrigue. His boring triumphalist reports would wrap themselves in conformist phrases delivered to the desperate faces of those around him. The same newspaper which still, today, has never published a color photo, would shroud in gray boring platitudes and unbridled rage. He would sniff out the tiniest illegalities of survival and denounce them with the same urgency as his pages now publish attacks and lies.

The “comrade” embodied in Granma would be one of those human beings whom–I don’t know about you–I would never invite to my house.

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92 thoughts on ““Comrade” Granma

  1. I posted here before and the message did not show up — am trying again. I’m a libertarian activist in San Francisco, in the United States. Are Cubans aware of the libertarian movement (movimiento libertario)?

    This is an international movement for civil liberties and economic freedom (free enterprise or laissez-faire economics) based on the Non-Aggression Principle.

    It has been largely pioneered by political dissidents in the United States, but libertarian parties, movements, and think tanks now exist in many other countries, for example Costa Rica, where the Movimiento Libertario political party has enjoyed some success.

    Recently, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has said that he his political ideas have been inspired by American libertarianism.

    Anyway, I was wondering to what extent these ideas may have reached Cuba. I was there a few years ago and distributed some Spanish-language pamphlets from the International Society for Individual Liberty.

    I’m also delighted to discover this blog and see that Cubans are speaking out online against the Castro regime despite its attempts to restrict Internet access. Exciting to see one dictator after another falling in the Arab world, isn’t it? Hope Cuba will have similar success soon! The Castro brothers deserve to rot in jail.

    Free Cuba! Power to the People! ¡Cuba Libre!

  2. El puerco or el cerdo was che’s nickname on his youth since he rarely washed or took a bath.
    The same individual who wished to be a doctor of medicine was afraid of water I guess …

  3. MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE! SOUNDS LIKE A MUMMY WE KNOW AND HATE!

    “..and to his people he must have seemed more like a lonely old man ranting on a street corner than their pillar of strength, the bold and original leader that he clearly believes himself still to be.”

    “There was a script, but he seemed to veer from it, often stopping and looking lost as he tried to find his place.”

    “Capture the rats,”(or in this case the Gusanos!) he ordered his followers-

    THE TELEGRAPH: Libya: Col Gaddafi’s last stand? -Was it a last act of theatre, so that if this really is the end, he at least knows he wrote his own memorial?

    Was it just force of habit, the only way he knows – making violent, blood-curling threats in which he promised to go down fighting and take as many of his people with him as necessary?

    Or did he really believe he could, even now, revive a revolutionary, 1960s self-image as a glorious leader, an Arab Fidel Castro?

    Muammar Gaddafi’s speech certainly had the length – an hour and a quarter – but there was no audience, and to his people he must have seemed more like a lonely old man ranting on a street corner than their pillar of strength, the bold and original leader that he clearly believes himself still to be.

    Before getting into his stride, he repeated himself without making sense, just tumbling out confused revolutionary catchphrases about the “superpowers”, the “rats and cats” ranged against him, civil war, death and retribution.

    There was a script, but he seemed to veer from it, often stopping and looking lost as he tried to find his place.

    Behind him lay the House of Strength, a museum to the 1986 US bombing raid on Tripoli that tried to kill him. It is the preserved compound where his four-year-old adopted daughter, Hannah, was killed. Outside is a Socialist Realist sculpture of a fist crushing an American warplane. But were it not for that image, the viewer would have thought he was trapped inside one of the many wrecked buildings now littering his once proud revolutionary realm.

    The communist writer Brecht famously said of the East German regime that “the people having lost the confidence of the government, the government has decided to dissolve the people, and to appoint another one”.

    Col Gaddafi last night decided to follow suit. Like Presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt before him, he made vague promises of reform but went much further in what was on offer if these promises were not accepted by the vast numbers ranged against him.

    “Capture the rats,” he ordered his followers.

    He turned to his Green Book, the instructions he wrote for his people more than three decades ago. He said those protesting against his rule were fomenting a civil war, and added: “The sentence for waging civil war is death.”

    It was a ludicrous spectacle. But Col Gaddafi has one thing on his side, which his neighbours to the west and east did not: everyone already knew, and the Libyan people have shown this week that they also always knew, that there was something ludicrous about the spectacle of Col Gaddafi.

    It has not stopped him ruling for 40 years, and he has the key advantage of possession. Far from being in Venezuela, or even in his desert stronghold in the south, he remains in Tripoli. He may be mad, but he remains dangerous, and it is not clear what force it will take to dislodge him.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8341688/Libya-Col-Gaddafis-last-stand.html

  4. I should have mentioned China also sits on the UN Human Rights Council, and a bunch of other tyrannies, all supporters of the Cuban government. I know we shouldn’t judge people by their friends, but if your only supporters for over 50 years have been psychopathic tyrants and greedy imperialists, I think it should tell you something. Of course, Cuba returned the favor and has supported many of the world’s worst fascist regimes for the past 50 years, including those that outlawed and massacred communists, like Argentina and Iraq.

  5. Albert, I didn’t understand the comment about “my beloved puerco”. I think puercos are intelligent and noble animals, maybe you should compare him to some other creature :) I love your comments and apology accepted. It is hard to know whether to laugh or to cry but sometimes humor is our best or only weapon against tyranny. We live in a world where Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council, and condemn others for human rights abuses! Where there is such a thing as a Gadhafi Human Rights Prize, and where there are people who are not ashamed to receive it!!! And these people are leaders of nations!!!!! Sometimes I wonder if it is all a bad dream.

  6. Who ever writes for gadaffi’s (& esbirros) public statements has to be the same person writing for the “brothers” Y their esbirros in Cuba (who knows maybe they are Cubans on loan) the vocabulary, the terminology is so similar: first name calling: cucarachas, traidores, mercenarios then: warnings of hunger & the humilliation of the people of Lybia, partitioning of the country, atacks by foreign forces, death & destruction & almost finally: threats of violence w/rivers of blood from the enemy, then a promise (finally) … as if it would be true gadaffi stated he will die a martir; did you notice: he did not say he’ll be a martir for the honor & freedom of Lybia … wait I have to breathe … all this laughing, I should quit smoking.
    All the name calling the courage w/their weapons, all that bravado from behind their protectors … will die a martir … ha! begging for mercy like a child.

  7. Love Cuba please accept my apology, sarcasm is not one of my strengths however what I said stays for the rebolution . its defenders & protectors & everyone interested on a different point of view & of course not addresesed to you of course.
    This is the second time I forget to put my name, I take for granted it will default w/the comment sorry, anonimo #84 is mine.

  8. @Anonimo, I was just being sarcastic to make some points. I guess there are language issues on the internet, and people post such ridiculous things, that when I mock them readers might think I am being serious. I think you took what I say backwards. I try to make it obvious that I’m joking, but obviously I’m not always successful :)

    That brings up a point though. Obviously there are people who read the “reflections” of our glorious leaders and take them seriously. But if it was in a Monty Python skit, would the same readers laugh?

  9. I tought one cannot “let evidence inform one’s opinion” since …” it is asign of bourgeois decadence” … I guess #81’s previous comment contradicts his/her next.
    I think raul & tato are disapointed about your work so far …
    Yes all men are created equal, w/equal rights. freedoms & responsibilities w/the guarantee to persue happiness.
    Last I’ve seen in Cuba disent is sufficient to be thrown in jail.
    In the guise of protecting the rebolution most peacefull demostrations against the rebolution are considered illegal & subject to brutal responses & consequences.
    Since the rebolution controls the power of its own legality & the means of enforcement, by force of arms, by intimidation & retribution the means of free expresion are limited if non existent.
    The rebolution is a dictatorship, classes have not been eliminated, just renamed.
    Equality does not exists in Cuba … no wait … it does … for the Cubans who live 9 or more per dweling or for the women or children having to prostitute themselves to make a living (don’t forget paying kickbacks) there is equality in their poverty & necessity.
    One has only to walk around & look outside the tourist areas to see de marked differences the rebolution has produced, all the social advances … just as promised.
    Human right & its definition, your definition, the rebolution’s definition?
    That it is something the rebolution like amny other things remembers when is convenient, all other times & always to stay in power the rebolution justifies their ends by their means yet “the rebolution has eliminated class differences” by naming them something else & its record on human right is reflectyed in the humane treatment of political & commun prisioners, in the treatment it offers to gays & lesbians (even if raul’s daughter is involved) in the behaviour it displays against peaceful demostration of any opposing group.
    you dare to “talk” about the human rights record of the rebolution? how about the people who died a La Cabana in the hands or by orders of your beloved puerco, I guess you are like him.
    Perhaps in your eyes it is the Cuban people’s fault that things have not progressed after all this years & now perhaps “things” might fall apart because they did & still don’t work hard perhaps they do not understand what you ideologes say & tell them to do … the are ungrateful simpletons & they don’t care … right so you belive.
    So after over 50 of “experimenting” is the people of Cuba better than before the rebolution took over? eh? NO …

  10. I see that the numbers of some of the comments change here, so my previous comments didn’t make sense. I’m new to posting on the web, so I’ll try again referring to people by name :)

    Varadero Beach, please don’t hold your breath waiting for a rational response to a rational question
    Mantastis, please don’t let overwhelming evidence inform your opinion :)
    Albert, since you posted there has been a crackdown on the balseranas, they are now with the gusanos, and their families have been repudiated

  11. #75, Humberto, I was referring to the AP article of course, not Yoani’s. I know my posts confuse some people :)

  12. #75, readers might be confused about the terminology in the article. “Human rights” means hating America (or anyone the human rights activists decide you should hate), and if a few thousand or million people die here or there in your struggle for human rights, well, that’s the price of human rights. Also confusing is the term “imperialism” – that’s something Americans do. When the Cubans, Iranians, Libyans, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Chinese, etc, send weapons, soldiers, and military advisers to countries that kill thousands and occasionally millions of people here or there, or to overthrow governments they don’t like, they are actually engaging in “anti-imperialism” and supporting “human rights”.

    I know it’s all confusing, I’ve tried suggesting a simple definition of “human rights”, one where all people are created equal, but my “human rights” friends think I’m crazy.

  13. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Cuba authorities urged to stop harassing dead activist’s family -22 February 2011

    Amnesty International has urged Cuban authorities to end the harassment of relatives of a human rights activist who died during a hunger strike last year.

    Reina Luisa Tamayo, whose son Orlando Zapata Tamayo died at a Havana prison in February 2010, told Amnesty International she was arrested by state security agents who threatened to stop her and other mourners from commemorating the anniversary of Orlando’s death in church, on 23 February.

    “The fact that the Cuban authorities have so far failed to initiate an investigation into Orlando’s death is outrageous and preventing his family from properly celebrating his life is a scandal,” said Javier Zuñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

    Tamayo, 72, her husband and another activist, Daniel Mesa, were forcefully detained on Friday 18 February by more than a dozen local security agents as they were walking around their village in Banes, north-west Cuba. Tamayo and her husband were released 12 hours later and Mesa, two days later.

    Tamayo said the agents had threatened to prevent her leaving her home and go to the cemetery where her son is buried, in breach of her human rights.

    “The recent releases of activists in Cuba, who shouldn’t have been put in prison in the first place, will only be meaningful if, once all activists are released, they are able to carry out their legitimate work defending human rights without fear of reprisals,” said Javier Zuñiga.

    “The harassment suffered by people like Orlando Tamayo’s relatives clearly goes to show that things still have not changed in Cuba and the authorities need to do much more to ensure human rights are a reality for all.”

    Orlando Zapata Tamayo was arrested in March 2003 and sentenced to three years in prison in May 2004 for “disrespect”, “public disorder” and “resistance”.

    He was subsequently tried several times on further charges of “disobedience” and “disorder in a penal establishment” – the last time in May 2009 – and was serving a 36 year-sentence at the time of his death in prison.

    Reina Tamayo said she intends to live in exile in the USA along with a number of her relatives and has been granted all relevant documents by the US authorities.

    The Cuban government has yet to issue the necessary permits.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/cuba-authorities-urged-stop-harassing-dead-activist%E2%80%99s-family-2011-02-22

  14. …” please don’t let evidence inform your opinion, that’s a sign of bourgeois decadence”… humm … ???

  15. I THINK SILVIO SHOULD STICK TO SINGING AND BEIGN A HYPOCRITE! THAT IS WHAT HE DOES BEST!

    CANADA FREE PRESS: Will Obama and Google open Internet access to average Cubans? By Judi McLeod Tuesday, February 22

    Cuban folk star Silvio Rodriguez, who has urged US President Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt to provide free Internet to developing countries, may have unwittingly exposed the hard truth about the lack of generosity behind providing free Internet to the average people of developing countries like Cuba.

    Internet access to the Cuban intelligentsia has been long longstanding

    While the Cuban left was hooked up to the Internet decades ago, the masses are still out in the cold.“It’s a simple proposal the world is very unequal, and a lot of pain could be avoided with action that could turn into a worldwide qualitative step forward,” Rodriguez said in a blog post at

    In the computer connectivity world, some animals are more equal than others.
    It was way back in 1991 when Teresa Heinz-Kerry, using a Canadian connection, funded by her Tides Foundation, first linked Communist Cuba up to the World Internet.

    “The Toronto-based Web/Nirv, Canadian affiliate of the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) and its offshoot the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), used a 64 KBPS undersea cable IP link from Havana to Sprint in the United States, linking Cubans to the Information Highway.” (Canada Free Press Tessie’s Cuba Libre?, July, 2004).

    To the current day, IGC and APC are one of the Tides Foundation’s largest ongoing projects.

    At last count, IGC, a massive, 24-hour, transnational computer communications network, was servicing 17 United Nations offices, 40,000 activists—some of the radical stripe—and a legion of non-governmental organizations in more than 133 countries.

    Activists from the other side, of which there must be some, and average Cuban households still offline, could have been brought onto the Information Highway decades ago.

    Hooking up the left wing world to the Internet didn’t happen by default. In the spring of 1990, the Tides Foundation funded APC with the specific goal “to coordinate the operation and developing of an emerging global network.”

    Cuba’s 1991 connection to the Internet was initiated by APC affiliate Canadian NGO Web Networks, forerunner to Web/Nirv. “We created an information tunnel through the American blockade,” explained Mark Surman, former technical director of Web Networks. “Our computers would make a long distance call to the computers of the Cuban Centre of Automated Exchange (CENIAI), about three times a day to pick up and deliver mail. This is called a store-and-forward system. Then this traffic was gatewayed to the rest of the Internet.”

    Cuba always got its electronic mail from its USSR masters since 1981.

    In 1989, when the situation with the Soviet Union was disintegrating, Cuba made its first email contact with Peacenet in Canada.

    By 1990, the United Nations, through its Development Program (UNDP), began fomenting connectivity throughout the third world, and funded the start-up costs for various networks like CENIAI, and the medical network InfoMed.

    The Tides Foundation, the UN and their NGOs could have hooked up the little people of Cuba to the Internet any time they wanted.

    The latest outreach by Cuba is purportedly its new undersea fiber optic cable connecting it to socialist ally Venezuela, ostensibly a blow to the decades-old US embargo.

    “Despite the revamped access, authorities say Internet use will be limited to “social” purposes and that priority would be given to a limited set of users in universities and other educational institutions.” (Breitbart).

    So will President Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt be providing free internet to developing countries any time soon?

    With average Cubans then being able to flag the world about the ongoing human rights trampling of the Castro brothers, not too likely!

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/33614

  16. FIDEL! YOU PRESS SEAKING MUMMY! YOU ARE IRRELEVANT IN THE WORLD! GET USE TO IT!

    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Fidel Castro says US plans NATO invasion of Libya
    HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro said Tuesday that unrest in Libya may be a pretext for a NATO invasion. Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has jumped to the support of the embattled leader of the North African nation, saying he telephoned to express solidarity.

    The protests sweeping across Libya have created challenges for the Latin American allies of Moammar Gadhafi.

    Leftist governments in the Americas have long embraced him as a fellow fighter against U.S. influence in the world. Gadhafi has responded over the years by awarding the Moammar Gadhafi International Human Rights Prize to Castro and Ortega, as well as to Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia.

    His relations with Chavez are so warm that rumors that he was headed to Venezuela swept the world on Monday. Gadhafi took to television late Monday to deny them.

    Ortega said he had kept in communication with Gadhafi and expressed solidarity due to the “moments of tension” Libya is experiencing. State radio carried excerpts of his remarks on Tuesday.

    “There is looting of businesses now, there is destruction. That is terrible,” Ortega said during a commemoration Monday of Nicaraguan hero Augusto Cesar Sandino. He said he told Gadhafi that “difficult moments put loyalty to the test.”

    Ortega said he had also ordered Nicaragua’s security forces not to repress protesters, though he did not say Gadhafi had done so.

    Protesters emboldened by the fall of pro-Western strongmen in Egypt and Tunisia have taken to the streets of Libya, where they were confronted by Libya’s security forces. Human rights groups say that more than 200 people have died and witnesses said bodies were left in the streets of Libya’s capital on Tuesday.

    European governments and U.S. leaders have denounced the crackdown, but Castro used a column published Tuesday by Cuban state news media to say it was too early to criticize Gadhafi.

    “You can agree or not with Gadhafi,” Castro said. “The world has been invaded by all sorts of news … We have to wait the necessary time to know with rigor how much is fact or lie.”

    But he did urge protests of something says is planned: A U.S.-led invasion of the North African nation aimed at controlling its oil.

    “The government of the United States is not concerned at all about peace in Libya and it will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, perhaps in a question of hours or very short days,” Castro wrote.

    “An honest person will always be against any injustice committed against any people in the world,” Castro said. “And the worst of those at this instant would be to keep silent before the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the Libyan people.”

    Chavez himself has said nothing publicly about the disturbances in Libya, though his Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro issued a statement on Monday saying he had spoken with his Libyan counterpart by telephone to express hopes Libya can find “a peaceful solution to its difficulties … without the intervention of imperialism, whose interests in the region have been affected in recent times.”

    Morales also has said nothing.

    Associated Press writers Carolina Herrera in Managua, Nicaragua, Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.

  17. Anyone interested in the Cuban revolution and aftermath – Cuba:My Revolution, great story and great art. Ask for it at your nearest Havana bookstore:

    http://vertigo.blog.dccomics.com/2010/04/15/cuba-my-revolution-by-inverna-lockpez-and-artist-dean-haspiel/

    #60, please don’t hold your breath
    #61, please don’t let evidence inform your opinion, that’s a sign of bourgeois decadence
    #64, since you posted there has been a crackdown on the balseranas, they are now with the gusanos, and their families have been repudiated

  18. MIAMI HERALD: Los Aldeanos involve in melee in Cuba-The Cuban hip hop duo Los Aldeanos was in the center of a melee in Holguín after trying to visit jailed youth-By Juan Tamayo

    A top Cuban hip hop duo that lashes the ruling system with its lyrics reportedly sparked a clash with police last week when they tried to visit two youths jailed since Dec. 25 for playing their music too loudly.

    The reports included contradictory information and could not be independently confirmed, but coincided in noting that the group Los Aldeanos was at the heart of a “public disorder” Friday in the eastern city of Holguín.

    Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz said he had received reports that about 80 people were detained and five were injured, apparently by rocks thrown at police from a crowd of 1,500 youths that had gathered around the Aldeanos.

    Dozens were detained but there was no word on how many remained in jail Monday, Holguín dissident Caridad Caballero told El Nuevo Herald. She said she was not at the clash but had spoken to several people who were.

    Los Aldeanos — roughly The Villagers — are one of the most rebellious music groups in Cuba, with lyrics that aggressively blast Cuba’s shortcomings with often crude street language. The group was established in 2003 by Aldo Rodríguez Baquero, 27, and Bian Rodríguez Gala, 26, both from the Nuevo Vedado neighborhood of Havana.

    Caballero and Sánchez said Los Aldeanos turned up in Holguin on Friday to visit Marcos and Antonio Lima Cruz, young brothers jailed since for nearly two months on charges of creating a public scandal by playing their rap music too loudly.

    Most reports said they were not allowed to enter the jail, but one said the rappers did manage to meet with the brothers.

    The duo afterwards turned up at the home of the father of the jailed youths, dissident Marco Antonio Lima Dalmau, “and people just started streaming there to see Los Aldeanos, to ask them to sing,” she added.

    A melee erupted when police tried to break up the crowd, Sánchez said to El Nuevo Herald by phone from Cuba.

    “There was a clash between police and the youths, and people started throwing rocks at the police,” Caballero added. “The paddy wagons hauled off a lot of people, but we don’t know how many, and how many remain in jail.”

    Lima Dalmau and his wife were “beaten up” during the confrontation and were reported to be on their way to Havana on Monday to file an official complaint, according to Sánchez.

    A Cuban music expert who spoke to Los Aldeanos on Monday said the duo wanted to make no public statements on Friday’s events.

    Caballero said she’s not been able to talk to participants in the melee because her house is surrounded by State Security agents, to keep her from going to nearby Banes for Wednesday’s one-year anniversary of the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a lengthy hunger strike.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/21/2078379/los-aldeanos-involve-in-melee.html

  19. REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: Two journalists still held after “Black Spring” journalist Iván Hernández’s release-Monday 21 February 2011.

    Iván Hernández Carrillo, a correspondent for the small independent news agency Pátria, returned to his family home in Matanzas province on 19 February after eight years in jail. Sentenced to 25 years in prison during the March 2003 “Black Spring” crackdown on dissidents, he is the second of the “Black Spring” journalists to be allowed the stay in Cuba following their release.

    The first was Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed nine days ago. All the others had to agree to go into exile in return for their release. Hernández has said he plans to resume working as an independent journalist.

    Pedro Argüelles Morán is now the only “Black Spring” journalist still awaiting release. We hope he will be freed soon, like Albert Santiago Du Bouchet, an independent journalist who has been jailed since 2009. We are also still waiting to know the exact reasons for former Spanish producer and journalist Sebastián Martínez Ferrate’s detention in Havana since 11 July 2010.

    We welcome the fact that the government is finally turning the page on the “Black Spring,” a harrowing chapter in Cuba’s recent history, and we urge it to take this further by respecting the rights of all its citizens, bloggers and human rights activities, who are demanding more freedom of expression.

    The repression must stop and the authorities must accept the principle of pluralism. Recent encouraging signs of an opening, including the unblocking of certain blogs and websites, will hopefully pave the way for a real debate between government and civil society.

    14.02.11 – Journalist’s release and unblocking of dissident blogs – signs of real opening?

    The 12 February release of Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, the co-founder of a small independent news agency called the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, may mean that the page is finally about to be turned on the “Black Spring” crackdown on journalists and dissidents of March 2003. He was not forced to go into exile in return for his release.

    Reporters Without Borders hopes it will be soon be followed by the release of the last two journalists still held since Black Spring, Pedro Argüelles Morán and Iván Hernández Carrillo, who like Maseda are refusing to leave the country. If the authorities then also release Albert Santiago Du Bouchet, who has been held since 2009, there will be no more Cuban journalists in prison.

    The Cuban government had promised the Spanish government and the Cuban Catholic church last July to release the 52 remaining “Black Spring” prisoners within four months but Maseda, 68, was one of the 11 who refused to go into exile. Since 12 February, six of them have been due to be freed without having to submit to exile.

    Their release does not overturn the sentences imposed on them in 2003, as Maseda himself protested after being escorted to his Havana home.

    Although good news, Maseda’s release raises many lingering questions about the “Black Spring.” It continues to be a mystery why Cubans were sentenced to such long sentences (ranging from 14 to 27 years in prison) on such outrageous sentences as spying and treason just for claiming the right to freely inform others.

    It is also unclear why most of them were forced to go into exile upon release but now some of them are being allowed to stay. These questions will have an impact on the debate about the country’s future. We hope that the journalists who were sent into exile will be allowed to return.

    In another positive development, access to about 40 dissident blogs and Internet pages – including Yoani Sánchez’s Generación Y – has been unblocked since 9 February. Foreign press reports quoted Sánchez as saying this easing in online censorship was perhaps due to the fact that an information technology trade fair was held in Havana from 7 to 11 February.

    Reporters Without Borders hopes this will continue and will be extended when Cuba’s new fibre-optic Internet cable connection with Venezuela becomes operational in July. Laying of the undersea cable, known as ALBA-1, was completed on 8 February.

    If the Cuban government agrees to unblock the Internet and give the country a better connection, will it also agree to legalize online independent media? And privately-owned media? The answers to these questions will determine whether or not the signs of an opening of recent days are real.

    http://en.rsf.org/cuba-journalist-s-release-and-14-02-2011,39548.html

  20. #66 is mine.
    The rebolution is loosing its grip, look: the people starts a peaceful civil disobedience, their control begins to deteriorate.
    Dictatorships need people to control to jstify their existence, satisfy their greed, to feed their ego.
    For one thing more & more young blood is becoming aware of the possibilities freedom of choice offers w/the use of the web.
    Not only politcal information can be attained from the web but music, art, information in hour true history, the one that existed before the rebolution tailored to lie & justify their existence, Marti does not belong to the rebolution, Marti belongs to Cubans.
    Boy does life changes, the rebolution, w/all its might, weapons, force violence & intimidation is begining to run scared of the web, the people in the middle east has found one of the uses for it & people everywhere is no begining to look into it, begining to see the possibilities, begining to find truth about opression not just there, but here, in Cuba, in Venezuela & other places …
    The time is now … let us unite in one purpose: Cuba Libre from the castros & their esbirros!

  21. The incident with Los Aldeanos,at least six injured and 80 arrested
    Opposition warns of repressive situation. A rally in Parque Cespedes in Santiago de Cuba, ended in beatings and arrests.

    About six people were injured in Holguín during the police crackdown on young people who gathered spontaneously to share with villagers, denounced on Monday the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).

    “There were six wounded by police beatings, and between 80 and 90 detainees, most of them free,” he told DIARIO DE CUBA Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the CCDHRN.

    About 1,500 people gathered to greet the duo popular contestation.

    Villagers traveled to the eastern city in order to visit two brothers arrested for listening to his music, but the prison authorities stopped him, said Radio Martí quoting opposition sources

    The visit resulted in a large concentration of young people to the house of opposition Marco Antonio Lima Dalmau. Shortly thereafter, police arrived.

    Lima Dalmau is the father of Mark and Antonio Cruz Lima, who have been detained on 25 December 2010 “public scandal” and “insulting national symbols.”

    The opposition added that young people were screaming that the villagers will sign autographs and sing, but they said they came prepared for this, but his visit was to support the peace activists from the region.

    Dalmau Lima told Radio Martí that agents of the State Security evicted and dispersed the youths, who in many cases peacefully resisted the police onslaught.

    Rally outside the City of Santiago de Cuba

    On Saturday, police arrested six political opponents in the city of Santiago de Cuba for demonstrating the Céspedes Park, opposite the Town Hall.

    In an unprecedented move, the protesters calling for “liberty” and held signs on Concilio Cubano and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

    It also demanded justice for the four Brothers to the Rescue Cuban Americans killed by Cuban aircraft in international waters on February 24, 1996.

    Among those arrested are the leaders of the group, Ernesto Vera Rodriguez, a former professor of law at the University of East; Idalmis Nuñez, an independent economist, Eunice Madaula, Rodis Mustelier Caignet, Oberto Yanorkis Ferrera and Samuel Leblanc.

    All were taken to State Security headquarters in Santiago.

    On Monday, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, the women involved had been released, but the men remained in detention.

    Not counting the incident with the villagers, whose protagonists were young people who are active in the dissident, Elizardo Sanchez figure in a dozen opponents arrested in recent hours.

    “All the facts are not linked, but are part of the prevention of repression on the anniversary of Orlando Zapata,” Sanchez said.

  22. Yes, Balseranas that’s it!
    I am surprised the rebolutionary navy didn’t catch up w/them.
    I wonder if any of the two are “disident blogeras”, or if they have realized that cigar smoking is hazardous to their health
    I just needed some humor, thank you amigo!

  23. Albert they were Balseranas!They fled in lifesavers tossed by tourists!

  24. Even las ranas want to leave Cuba …
    Two types: the eleutherodactrionalis planirostris & the osteopilus septentrionalis indigenous of Cuba have been found in the south of Florida.
    I can’t help but wonder if they emigrated w/permisions granted by the rebolution and if they were issued (upon request & prudent waiting period) a passport & all proper documentation.
    If that is the case I will pressume they were/are party members in good standing.
    But in the other hand if the left “paradise” without permission from the rebolutionary authorities I do hope their families will not suffer the repercussions of their foolish behaviour.
    I would hate for those family members to be subjected to jail terms, abuset & scorn since they would be considered mercenaries in pay of the “evil empire”.

  25. the cyberblocade of this site in cuba has been lifted, it was not allowed in the first place. why not, its discussions are relevant to cuba, why block it?

  26. What we need to fan the fire of freedom started around the world is unity.
    We need unity of purpose, focusing in one goal, the removal of the rebolution from the control of CubaWe must not allow personal egos be a distraction, our lack of unity makes us look weak & inefective.
    For as long as we remain as we are, bickering over minute points or carving out areas of power or simply disagreeing we are letting allowing our weakness to work in favor of the rebolution & it knows it.
    Any dictatorship has to have the people in order to stay in power & that’s one of its weakness so lets attac it.
    We must unite in a commun goal, choose to agree to disagree & move forward without violence, just by unity of purpose we will be chip away at the rebolutionul till it falls from power, keep in mind … well’ know when the plan is working when they propose to “negotiate”

  27. after imforming myself a bit, in books, articles, and the net, seems to me that life most be real bad in cuba, when 20% of cubans live in miami or other places, and many more want to leave. have read that before 1959 there were very few cubans in miami, and cubans did not need a visa to travel there since rarely they would stay. in the mariel boat lift 250,000 left in two weeks, the perubian embassy was filled to 10,000 in a few minutes, the rafters in ’94… during the berlin wall, which side were people jumping to… just from observing these sort of human behavior there seems to be some sort of boogie man that people fear in these communist type countries. why would anybody want to escape paradise, such confusing contradiction, more research needed.

  28. LYBIANS YOU ARE INVITED TO ANOTHER “BRING THE FACIST DOWN” PARTY IN CUBA! AFTER THAT, SOME GOOD RUM SOME SON! AND SOME BELLY DANCERS!

    ALJAZEERA: Libya revolt spreads to Tripoli

    Gaddafi’s sons warned of civil war, tribal leaders broke ranks and army units defected in one of Libya’bloodiest days.
    Last Modified: 21 Feb 2011 03:37 GMT

    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will fight a popular revolt to “the last man standing,” one of his sons said on Monday as people in the capital joined protests for the first time after days of violent unrest in the eastern city of Benghazi.

    Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli’s streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition as oil exporter Libya endured one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse the Arab world.
    In the coastal city of Benghazi protesters appeared to be largely in control after forcing troops and police to retreat to a compound. Government buildings were set ablaze and ransacked.

    In the first sign of serious unrest in the capital, thousands of protesters clashed with Gaddafi supporters. Gunfire rang out in the night and police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw stones at Gaddafi billboards.

    Human Rights Watch said at least 223 people have been killed in five days of violence. Most were in Benghazi, cradle of the uprising and a region where Gaddafi’s grip has always been weaker than elsewhere in the oil-rich desert nation.

    Habib al-Obaidi, a surgeon at the Al-Jalae hospital, said the bodies of 50 people, mostly shot dead, were brought there on Sunday afternoon. Two hundred wounded had arrived, he said.

    “One of the victims was obliterated after being hit by an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) to the abdomen,” he said.

    Members of an army unit known as the “Thunderbolt” squad had brought wounded comrades to the hospital, he said. The soldiers said they had defected to the cause of the protesters and had fought and defeated Gaddafi’s elite guards.

    “They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people’s revolt,” another man at the hospital, lawyer Mohamed al-Mana, told Reuters by telephone.

    While Gaddafi attempted to put down protests centred in the eastern city of Benghazi against his four-decade rule, Al Jazeera began receiving eyewitness reports of “disturbances” in the capital Tripoli early on Monday as well.

    There were reports of clashes between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi supporters around the Green Square.

    “We are in Tripoli, there are chants [directed at Gaddafi]: ‘Where are you? Where are you? Come out if you’re a man,” a protester told Al Jazeera on the phone.

    A resident told the Reuters news agency that he could hear gunshots in the streets and crowds of people.

    “We’re inside the house and the lights are out. There are gunshots in the street,” the resident said by phone. “That’s what I hear, gunshots and people. I can’t go outside.”

    An expatriate worker living in the Libyan capital told Reuters: “Some anti-government demonstrators are gathering in the residential complexes. The police are dispersing them. I can also see burning cars.”

    There were also reports of protesters heading to Gaddafi’s compound in the city of Al-Zawia near Tripoli, with the intention of burning the building down.

    Tribal revolt’

    Meanwhile the head of the Al-Zuwayya tribe in eastern Libya has threatened to cut off oil exports unless authorities stop what he called the “oppression of protesters”, the Warfala tribe, one of Libya’s biggest, has reportedly joined the anti-Gaddafi protests.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Shaikh Faraj al Zuway said: “We will stop oil exports to Western countries within 24 hours” if the violence did not stop. The tribe lives south of Benghazi, which has seen the worst of the deadly violence in recent days.

    Akram Al-Warfalli, a leading figure in the Al Warfalla tribe, one of Libya’s biggest, told the network: “We tell the brother (Gaddafi), well he’s no longer a brother, we tell him to leave the country.” The tribe lives south of Tripoli.

    Protests have also reportedly broken out in other cities, including Bayda, Derna, Tobruk and Misrata – and anti-Gaddafi graffiti adorns the walls of several cities.

    Anti-government protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have reportedly seized army vehicles and weapons amid worsening turmoil in the African nation.

    A local witness said that a section of the troops had joined the protesters on Sunday as chaos swept the streets of the city, worst hit by the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year old rule.

    Mohamed, a doctor from Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, confirmed to Al Jazeera that members of the military had sided with the protesters.

    “We are still receiving serious injuries, I can confirm 13 deaths in our hospital. However, the good news is that people are cheering and celebrating outside after receiving news that the army is siding with the people,” he said.

    “But there is still a brigade that is against the demonstrators. For the past three days demonstrators have been shot at by this brigade, called Al-Sibyl brigade.”

    The witness reports came on a day in which local residents told Al Jazeera that at least 200 people had died in days of unrest in Benghazi alone. The New York-based Human Rights Watch on Sunday put the countrywide death toll at 173. The rights group said its figure was “conservative”.

    ‘Massacre’

    News of the rising death toll came as residents of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, reported renewed gunfire from security forces in the city.

    Sadiq al Ghiryani, a Libyan religious leader, told Al Jazeera a “massacre” was under way in the city and troops firing shots were mostly mercenaries.. Kamal Hudethifi, a judge, described the killings as “ethnic cleansing”.

    The Reuters news agency said at least 50 people had been killed in Benghazi since Sunday afternoon.

    Moftah, a Benghazi resident , who requested Al Jazeera use only his first name, said the city had become a “war zone” in recent days.

    Residents have barricaded the streets with overturned trash cans and debris, and security forces have largely confined themselves to two compounds, though snipers continue to target protesters, he said.

    The forces who remain are “thugs” loyal to Gaddafi, Moftah said, and they are firing high-calibre ammunition at protesters.

    The eyewitness report came a day after security forces opened fire at a funeral in the eastern coastal city on Saturday, killing at least 15 people and injuring scores more.

    A group of six alleged mercenaries – reportedly brought in from Tunisia and other African nations to bolster pro-Gaddafi forces – were captured and arrested by demonstrators in the city of Shahat.

    Appeal for calm

    Against this backdrop of violence, opposition groups said some 50 Libyan Muslim leaders have urged security forces to stop killing civilians.

    “This is an urgent appeal from religious scholars, intellectuals, and clan elders from Tripoli, Bani Walid, Zintan, Jadu, Msalata, Misrata, Zawiah, and other towns and villages of the western area,” the appeal, signed by the group of leaders, stated.

    “We appeal to every Muslim, within the regime or assisting it in any way, to recognise that the killing of innocent human beings is forbidden by our Creator and by His beloved prophet of compassion, peace be upon him … Do not kill your brothers and sisters. Stop the massacre now!”

    Around the world, people have been gathering in solidarity with the protesters at Libyan consulates and at the White House in Washington, DC, the US capital.

    Libya’s government has responded to the international criticism by threatening retaliation against the European Union. It said on Sunday that it would stop co-operating with efforts to try and stop illegal migrants heading to Europe.

  29. To the communist lackey who likes to keep score:

    USSR: Failed state after 80 years of repression, murder and tyranny. Why? Because communism is a non-functioning governmental system for power-mongers, opportunists, sycophants and parasites. Destroying countrys natural and human resources is the only thing communists are good at.

    China and Vietnam: If you can’t beat em join em. Failed communists, wanna be capitalists.

    North Korea: The worlds true basket case. A miserable communist dynasty credited with starving to death thousands of their own people every year.

    Yugoslavia: An ersatz collection of pseudo-nations, a powder keg of mortal enemy states held together by the degenerate slavic communist tito and his retched shoe-shine boy Milosevic. Yes, yugoslavia the nation of the yugo, sub-standard architecture and the pathological marxist douchebag that infests this blog … another failed communist state.

    East Germany, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania all countries that rid themselves of stalinism, marxism, leninism and all the other isms of the left that have done nothing but leave an historical tale of death and destruction. And now all members of NATO and the European Community.

    Here’s the real score for those of you that like to draw comparisons:

    Successful communist states: 0

    Failed communist states: every last one of them

  30. @#52
    Still, where is your tangible proof not rants, nor insults, no inuendos & lies, no twisting things around to cloud the issues or hide behind used rethoric or heresay … PROOF.
    I think you are a provocateur & I challange you as I have challanged you before in this blogg, bring tangible proof on the validity of your comments.

  31. Dumbir, you also hate capitalism and you /claimed/ that you live in Italy, a capitalist country. But we all know you are just a MINIT clown. A hypocrit clown.

  32. Impostors are the greatest source of laugh for anyone with a brain reading this joke of a web site (this is not a blog, although it is made in a blog fashion.).

    Like a self-appointed “Romanian” who “hates” the communism soooooooo much!!! yet, he goes to Cuba every year!

    A loser mercenary who should be caught and locked up in Cuba, if only for the fun of it.

    By the way, search it for yourselves, the Red Cross still does not have the access to the prisoners in Guantanamo, and what they were allowed to see was qualified as “appalling” treatment and conditions.

    By far worse than the treatment in Cuban prisons.

    When the hundreds of layers of deception and brainwashing information manipulation made in usa is removed, the truth turns out to be quite interesting and unexpected revelation.

    Hypocrites and losers.

  33. But, I do expect people who support openly declared enemies of their own country to have no brains.

    It’s a self-explanatory sort of point.

    Would the brainless like me to explain the self-explanatory point…???

  34. To those manipulators who now are asking for “proofs” for what I claim, one message:

    READ my posts. It is already all there.

    Asking for more proofs is only saying to the world that the person asking has no brain to use.

  35. I like especially those pathetic posts like “I couldn’t resist 8 days in a Cuban prison, how did some manage 8 years…?”

    As if these pathetic posters have any idea about the conditions in Cuban prisons.

    Typical for the team “yoani” and their supporters: talking about the things they only know from usa dictatorship propaganda machine. The same that took them into the WWII, Vietnam and Cambodia wars, Iraq, Afghanistan, and countless other unnecessary wars those imperialist criminals hav caused in the world.

    Why don’t these pathetic wannabe “democrats” ask those “dissidents” in Cuba? Why those “dissidents” complain about being released from prison “against their own will!!!”!!!

    Regular food, health care, free telephone, electricity, quiet life… Surely they must have enjoyed their benefits otherwise they would not be complaining to being released!!!

    Or, maybe they are just as stupid and pathetic as those posters here…

  36. Simply put:
    1) please present true proof of the correctness of your acussation that Yoani is serving a master a group of criminals, for that matter any criminals.
    2) Please present tru proof of your allegation about being certified liers & manipulators.
    Keep in mind: after you answer I & perhaps may others in this blog will present proof about the rebolution’s lies & manipulations, including yours.

  37. Indeed my question generated great posts. Albert you don’t have to appologies. I lived under Ceausescu, where we learned to fear and to be paranoid. Our MINIT ( Securitate ) was extremely succesful at removing people who show any sign of oposition ). Mazzora I am aware of that case where the young man got into an accident. It is funny that this was brought up in Cuba during my last trip. One of the Cubans working on the resort spoke up ( actually raised his voice ) defending the Cuban version of the story. He told us that we canadians only know what we read in our canadian newspapers. Propaganda I guess, or maybe he was also a rat, giving information to MINIT. This won’t stop me from going to Cuba. BEfore my first trip to Cuba I knew that Cubans live under great hardship and fear, and that they were poor. I knew it because I lived many years under a similar dictatorial regime. Although I knew all this I was well off, because Cubans have it worse than I thought and worst than we had it in Eastern Europe. It took me just one day in Havana to see it all. I could not believe my eyes seeing young mothers selling their bodies while their child and husbands were nearby and also seeing cops harrasing locals just for trying to talk to tourists. One Cuban got almost arrested for talking to a fellow tourist…luckily this Cuban was also a Spanish citizens and had his spanish passport on him to show it to the cop.

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