You, Princess, No. Not You.

You come out of this filth of the starving …
Joan Manuel Serrat, from his song “Princess”

She was raised to succeed. As a little girl, her mother took the fried egg of her own plate, if need be, to give it to her, because she was a promise which the whole family was hanging from. They didn’t even let her scrub, so that her hands would not crack and harden from the scouring pad and the soot. When she combed her hair into ringlets her elder sister predicted she would one day marry a Frenchman or a Spaniard or a Belgian, someone from the “nobility” of monarchy or business. “Everyone will love you!” cried her grandmother, whose fingers were twisted with arthritis from half a century of washing and ironing for the whole street. They wouldn’t even let her have a boyfriend in the neighborhood, because she had to be preserved for the future that awaited her, for the potentate who would come and take her from that crowded tenement in Zanja Street, from that crowded country in the Caribbean.

One day, when she was barely out of adolescence, she found him. He was much older and didn’t belong to any wealthy family, but he had an Italian passport. Nor did she like him physically, but simply imagining him in Milan made his bulging beer belly look not so big. The aroma of the new clothes he brought every time he came to Havana also covered the smell of nicotine and alcohol that always came from his mouth. At home, her family was delighted. “The child is leaving us to live in Europe,” they told the neighbors, and her own mother cut her off when she tried to explain that her fiancé that occasionally became violent and beat her. And so they pushed her to complete the legal paperwork and make the marriage official. In the wedding photos she looked like a sad princess, but a princess.

When the plane landed in the Italian winter, he no longer seemed like the kind man who, 24 hours earlier, had promised her mother that he would take care of her. He took her to a club that same night where she had to work serving clients liquor, and even her own body. For months she wrote her grandmother about the perfumes and food she had tried in her new life. She recreated, in her letters and phone calls, a reality very different from what she was living. Not a word of extortion, nor of the husband who had evaporated leaving her in the hands of a “boss” whom she had to obey. In the Havana tenement they had all spoiled her and made her happy and she didn’t want to disappoint them. When the Italian police dismantled the prostitution ring in which she was trapped, she sent a brief text message to her relatives on the other side of the Atlantic, so they wouldn’t worry, “I won’t be able to call you for several weeks. I’m going on vacation to Venice to celebrate my wedding anniversary. I love you all, your Princess.”

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126 thoughts on “You, Princess, No. Not You.

  1. Damir @ 116: “if ‘some kind of pragmatic capitalism’, according to the team “yoani”, ever colonises Cuba, there will be no hiospitals for ordinary people. Just like in the bastion of the failed utopia, usa.

    “Those who get to go to hospital are those who can afford private insurance.”

    It’s me again. Sorry, but your information is inaccurate again, Damir. The USA has hospitals all over the place for “ordinary” people. It’s true that private insurance has been getting more expensive and more people have been giving it up. But the reason isn’t a free market in medicine – far from it. The government has been meddling in health care for many decades, as it has in all other areas of the economy.

    Nevertheless, it is not true that “those who go to hospital are those who can afford private insurance”. Are you unaware of the Medicare and Medicaid programs? Medicare pays for people over the age of 65 to go to the hospital and has been doing so since the 1960s. Medicaid is for all people, regardless of age, whose incomes are below the poverty line. I knew a woman who was living on welfare and had brain tumors. She had three operations to remove her tumors, which kept growing back. Three times the US government paid to save her life, until a tumor grew in a part of her brain that was inoperable. That same woman also had her teeth “bonded” at government expense. Bonding is a process that puts a new enameled front on your teeth. It’s cosmetic.

    The problem in the USA these days isn’t with the poor or the elderly, but with those who don’t fall below the poverty line yet don’t have enough to pay the rising costs of medical care. However, I have never known anyone (and I know people from all economic levels) who has been refused hospital care for not having insurance. You simply pay off your bill over time. Sometimes people’s friends hold fundraisers to help them out. There’s always a way, when you’re free to go for it.

    The reasons that the cost of health care has been rising are too involved for me to address right now. I have to go to dinner. But I’ll be back.

  2. Damir @ 117 : “Fascism was a very pragmatic capitalist society. Fascists persecute anyone who weers off the fundamentalist capitalist course. To compare communism with it is to call self an ignorant.”

    Damir, fascism, as an economic system, is one where the government dictates all aspects of the economy. While capitalists, i.e., people who invest their own money into businesses, nominally “own” the businesses in a fascist state, the government tells them how much to invest and when, what prices to charge, how much to pay workers, what to produce, and how much, etc. In other words, the business “owners” in a fascist state still risk their own money in business as they do in a capitalist country, but they don’t have the freedom to risk according to their own judgment. It’s the government who makes that decision. If it makes the wrong one, the business investor suffers the loss (even if his own decisions would have brought success.) The fascist government is a totalitarian dictatorship, with the power to loosen up or tighten its economic controls as its leaders choose, as well as having the power to control *any other* aspect of life that the leaders choose. It is not a democracy.

    Capitalism, that is, a free market economy, is just as far from fascism as it is from communism. A *fully* free market (or as you might say, a “fundamentalist” version of capitalism) is one where the government’s job is only to protect *all* people and their property from violence, theft, and fraud. It does not tell people when, where, and how much to invest, does not set prices, does not set wages,does not decide what will be produced… it stays out of economic decisions. Its only role is to prosecute those who engage in fraud, theft or intimidation or who engage in violence, and to arbitrate in the case of contract disputes.

    Damir @ 117: “And, as the usa clearly show, fascism still is alive and well. As long as you are badmouthing communism or socialism, you are welcome to talk whatever you want.”

    Damir, I am an American citizen. I have been one since my birth, 57 years ago. I can tell you that while the USA is far from a “fundamentalist” capitalist system, it is not a fascist one – although socialist-leaning politicians have been doing their best to hamper the country’s economic freedom for many decades. Funny thing, when socialists and their milder fellow travelers make laws that hamper economic freedom in the US, the economy does head toward a more fascistic style. You still have business owners forking out the capital, taking the risk, but bit by bit they have less freedom of choice. However, the USA is still semi-free economically and is fully politically free. And socialists, fascists, free-marketers, and all the rest can and DO speak out, write, make films, blog, create art and offend each other all the time, without anyone being fined or imprisioned for it. And as long as they do not engage in violence during a public demonstration, anyone of any political, economic, religious, or philosophical view can have their say on the street without being prosecuted or persecuted.

    As to this: “As long as you are badmouthing communism or socialism, you are welcome to talk whatever you want.” That’s just funny, especially if the person talking is a free-marketer in Hollywood or at most universities, where the greater portion of the television and movie people and the uni faculties tend to lean left. And those lefties are so often intolerant of those with differing views, refuse to listen or engage at the intellectual level, and instead make fun of and insult the person who dares to uphold free-market ideas, using smears such as “racist” to try to delegitimize friends of capitalism. That’s how the left does things. Everywhere.

  3. Shame on You Pamela, making that much money and rubbing it in on poor Cuban dissident blog.

  4. pamela
    Junio 6th, 2011 at 09:34

    I’m glad You have something fat to seat on.

  5. That’s OK, only my wallet is fat, since I’m actually free to make money in this capitalist country.

  6. pamela
    Junio 5th, 2011 at 15:52

    Hi, Pam. I’m sorry I called You “fat”.

  7. Damir
    Junio 5th, 2011 at 09:17
    Post 114 another demonstration of ignorance and religious fanatism.
    Fascism was a very pragmatic capitalist society. Fascists persecute anyone who weers off the fundamentalist capitalist course. To compare communism with it is to call self an ignorant.

    To use the word “weer” is to call self an ignorant. Self to Damir: “You are an ignorant.” Hahaha!

  8. Damir
    Junio 5th, 2011 at 09:17

    Damir, We are not welcome on this blog. Dissidents are allergic to opposite opinions. Still, we can express our opinions here freely. What they can do to us?. Nothing. After they run out of their usual, Castro bashing slogans, they repeat themselves and after that, out of pure desperation, they tell us to leave, and leave them alone. But we do not want to leave. Do we?.

  9. Yeah, I see lines of rickety boats leaving the USA every day to hightail it to Fidel’s socialist utopia. Ha ha!

  10. Post 114 another demonstration of ignorance and religious fanatism.

    Fascism was a very pragmatic capitalist society. Fascists persecute anyone who weers off the fundamentalist capitalist course. To compare communism with it is to call self an ignorant.

    And, as the usa clearly show, fascism still is alive and well. As long as you are badmouthing communism or socialism, you are welcome to talk whatever you want.

  11. Post 83, if “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, according to the team “yoani”, ever colonises Cuba, there will be no hiospitals for ordinary people. Just like in the bastion of the failed utopia, usa.

    Those who get to go to hospital are those who can afford private insurance.

    Which also begs a question: why do they pay taxes in “democracy” and “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” if they have to pay for everything anyway?

    For their politicians.

    So, they are feeding the dictators, but in Cuba that is a tragedy, while in the usa it is fine…???

    Hypocrites those some kind of pragmatic capitalists” who have never had a chance to live in capitalism.

    If they did, they would RUN back to Cuba, Just like those tens of thousands of Cubans and foreigners who call Cuba home every year.

    As per those links I have posted many a time, just to remind those naive losers here, supporting the team “yoani”, how “beautiful is in “democracy” and “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

    So much, thousands are running away from it!!!!

    How is that?

  12. The trafficking of Cuban women and children for commercial sex, are encourage by their families to obtain food or money. Hotel workers, taxi drivers and the security personnel involved in the tourist industry, facilitate the sexual commercial sexual exploitation of women and children by tourists, meanwhile the corrupt regime authorities look the other way.

    The regime provides very little information on child prostitution, and block human right organizations from finding out about human rights abuses. The regime doesn’t acknowledge that child sex trafficking exist. The regime economy profits from sex tourism in order to prop up the worker’s paradise. It is ironic that the regime, because its economic problems and the revenue the sex trade generates, allow it to attracts more tourists. As Yoani says, “the cycle of sex for money comes full circle.” What a shame.

  13. Comrade Komar! YOU DONT LIKE MY STYLE!!!!! I JUST THINK YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO! JUST LIKE A TRUE FASCIST!IM CUBAN, I TALK LOUD AND TYPE LOUD TOO! DID YOU HEAR ME??? COMRADE KOMAR!!

    Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, and family policy including eugenics.[3] Fascists seek to purge forces and ideas deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation’s rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[4] Fascists believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.[5] Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.[6]

    Fascists promote violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.[7] Fascists exalt militarism as providing positive transformation in society, in providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people’s character, and creating national comradeship through military service.[8]

  14. MICKI
    Junio 3rd, 2011 at 14:26

    HI, IM BACK

    Hi, Micki, turn off Caps Lock. One might think You are Humberto or pamela hiding behind different writing style.

  15. Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)
    Junio 2nd, 2011 at 23:21

    You got that right. Polish people got themselves democracy and capitalism and foreigners are buying their real estate and jack-up prices.

  16. Comrade Komar! GOOD BOY! Nope, will be buying real estate in Cuba in the near future!You can come over for some Bacardi that will be made in Cuba, by Cubans for an honest wage! We can reminisce about Old Times at Yoani’s blog. Then we can visit her at the Presidential Palace! She will know who you are if you give her your “Alias”!!

  17. Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)
    Junio 2nd, 2011 at 00:00

    Comrad Komar! LINKS PLEASE!!

    I guess You won’t be buying real estate in Poland.

  18. Junio 1st, 2011 at 20:44

    ………..”Dissidents, on the other hand, are. They betrayed their homeland”….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The patient shows the severe confusion about moral and patriotic values proper of patients affected by IMRES (ideological-mental retarded evolution syndrome). Such patients uses to mistake temporal, local and variables values like an ideology or a group of persons professing an ideology or dogma with real solid values like parenthood, friendship, homeland and nation. Patients with IMRES are easily influenced by criminals and conmen and usually become prey of those bandits. In their confusion those patients even takes for granted the betrayal of relatives and friends grounded in such irrational thoughts when the real traitor is the own patient pushed by its madness. Of course, this kind of patients can’t difference reality and real values of fantasy and political propaganda what make them to be deeply convinced about their fantasies and however never to recognize they are just insane.
    I propose a collect in order to send him half ton of XXXL size Aji Guaguo enemas.

  19. @#62
    Proves my comment right, u are so easy to manipulate, in this case “they” got u to “put posters around” …
    Unfortunally if it was true, it would have been the most work I belive u have done in ur life.
    By the way, have u made any plans to save the 200 more or less people that dies of neglect yearly in ur place of residence (acording to one of ur posts)? Or were u liying about it? Put ur money where ur mouth is … girl

  20. Before Fidel Castro raised to power in 1959, prostitutes were register by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which issued them a health card, without which they could not exert prostitution. There were zones of tolerance where the prostitutes could “work”, for example: the neighborhood of Colon, in the center of Havana. In 1958 there were about 10,000 prostitutes register by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

    Cuban prostitutes under the Castroit regime are force to sell their body for a pair of shoes, or for a good meal at a restaurant, a medicine for a child, etc. The Revolution supposedly was done to eliminate that kind of abuse, but instead, the number of prostitutes which Cuba has right now is tenfold higher that before 1959.

    Tourism has created thousands of jobs in the sex trade. A higher ratio of tourists goes to Cuba nowadays for prostitution, instead of the beaches and climate, than any other country in the world. The number of children that are being sexually exploited, particularly below the age of 14, has increased noticeable.

  21. pamela
    Junio 2nd, 2011 at 00:14

    I’m transparent. Don’t You remember.

  22. Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)
    Junio 2nd, 2011 at 00:00

    If You want to move to Warsaw, it is for You: one bedroom apartment in down town.
    Note that there sleeps four.

    http://www.viviun.com/AD-159414/

    For that money I can buy nice two or three bedroom in US. Maybe even whole house.

  23. @ Post 98:

    I always have AN argument for your inane posts. And why don’t you post your picture? Right now your avatar has a very blank expression.

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