Joy and Hypertrophy

Image taken from comusidaldm.wordpress.com/

The Pan American Games in Guadalajara brought fresh winds to our television programming, which had been insufferably dominated by ideology since early October. Although our sportscasters continue to believe that every competition is a kind of battle where to lose is to surrender, we could ignore them and enjoy the show. It was even surprising that, notwithstanding the attempts of the official journalists to get the winners to dedicate their medals “to the commander in chief,” most preferred to offer them to their families, girlfriends, mothers, happily waiting for them somewhere in the national territory. The closing ceremony and the second place finish achieved by our delegation cheered those still disgusted by the defeat of the Cuban team in the Baseball World Championship. For a couple of weeks the sound of the hit balls echoed more loudly than the slogans, and certain everyday concerns faded into the background.

After the euphoria of victory, however, it’s worth analyzing if this second place finish really corresponds to our development as a country. Watching this little Island facing down an emerging power like Brazil, or a country as vast as Mexico, brings the same image to my mind over and over. In it, a frail and toothless gentleman is showing me his muscular arms a la Arnold Schwarzenegger. We live, undoubtedly, in a hypertrophy similar to that of this skinny-legged man with the bulging biceps, suffering an artificial enhancement of a sector that has nothing to do with the economy or productivity of the nation. Should we rejoice over the direct result of this disproportion? Or should we calmly meditate on why this government tends to climb to the highest seats in the international sports arena, at the cost of neglecting less visible, or measurable, areas of our reality.

It is enough to travel Havana in search of a pool where children can learn to swim, to ask oneself if the resources that should be reaching many are invested in a just a few. We live on an Island and yet, a good share of its inhabitants would drown if they fell in the water. To buy a bicycle in a hard currency store costs as much as a year’s salary, but the women’s cycling team won first, second and third place medals in Guadalajara. The deterioration of the capital’s major athletic center, Ciudad Deportiva, is an embarrassment, while gold hangs from the necks of dozens of Cuban athletes. My own son spent two semesters without a P.E. teacher, because few want to work for a salary that is barely symbolic. Sports require a physical infrastructure and not just in the specialized schools and academies, they demand investment in facilities for use by the public as well. Undertaking this could mean we earn fewer medals, but it would also eliminate the hypertrophied image that today marks our every victory in sports.

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37 thoughts on “Joy and Hypertrophy

  1. Millionaire marxist Damir was in CUBA.

    Sewage rats from miami, pretending to be “cubans”, never will be.

    Millionaire marxist Damir wins.

    He also gets to talk with real Cubans and hear their opinion. And warn them about the traitors posing as “democrats” and “freedom fighters”. Millionaire marxist Damir has to remind Cubans of the fate Jugoslavija suffered in the hands of their own traitors and fifth column posing as “democrats” and “freedom fighters”. A decade of wars and destructions, tens of thousands of dead, mutilated, raped. The economy that has never recovered, and all those traitors getting rich so fast, no one had the chance to even say “stop the bastards!”.

    Millionaire marxist Damir also shows them the sites of those mercenaries, paid by the nazists from the usa, to make sure the message gets accross.

    And it often does.

    So millionaire marxist Damir wins either way.

    And rats get to keep their diet of crap and other delusional ideological garbage their white “gods” masters serve them in those sewages of miami.

    Yuck…

  2. millionaire marxist Damir is so miserable about the end of Marxism in Cuba, he can’t even enjoy the beach in cienfuegos without obsessing about Yoani’s blog. c’mon dude, give it a break, enjoy the beach and the cheap Marxist hookers. is that why you hate capitalism, are they too expensive on the French Riviera?

  3. Some creten called “mafioso” apparently the people I stay with.

    Speaking without any knowledge is the usual past-time for the sewage support brigade.

    If anyone cared to ask, I would have told them I am in a hotel…

    The only mafiosos here are those jineteros and jineteras, like the team “joani” and their sewage support brigade (rats and other nasties one can find where the wasate of white “gods” is collected) who stop turists on the street and beg for money, whispering political pamphletes and slogans teh team “yoani” “bravely” post here.

    You know the garbage: “Castros are criminals, please help… Gimme money, boss”, and “Baby, I’ll make you happy, only 20 CUC, but don’t tell anyone, Castros will arrest me.”

    Usual, here regurgitated slime ad nauseam (just look at the top page, listing stupidities one after another, or read cretens posting their copy and paste “information” found in far right nazist press, posing as “free” and “pro-democracy”.

    Little wonder Castros only needed 25 friends to belt the shift out of thousands of disillusioned and underpaid soldiers, discarding the criminals by the ship-load (and I didn’t really mean ship…).

    Oh, and did I mention how nice are normal Cubans? Very educated, and surprisingly knowledgeable about the traitors and criminals plotting destruction of Cuba.

    An university professor, a girl of barely 23 years of age told me last year, “Yes, we have loads of problems, and there are criminals who want to change things around here, but there will be a bloody war until one side is completely annihilated before this change occurs. And people who even hate Castros will still fight for all the good things we still have, despite all our problems.”

    Very smart girl, and not a member of Castros’ party either.

    You foreigners, on the other hand are just a waste of time.

    How about a mass suicide in protest against Castros?

    I’ll cover the costs of your cremation.

  4. That poor professional journalist, that I am.

    Dear Cuban brothers for the Liberty, Human Rights, the rule of law, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and economic freedom. I have my pride to share with you all. This poor fellow, that I am, a professional journalist (to paraphrase the Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton, assassinated by the Communists during the civil war May 10, 1975) causes castrofascista tyranny fraighting. Just as you heard it. They’re worried about what I am writing and publishing in the whole world aboout their excesses, absolute contempt for the Cubans, insanity and wild stupidity custom.
    For the third time, our computers of our editorial IPA NEWS in London have destroyed. The genius of the Cyber Police have been introduced into our computers and erased the Bios, so that the devices no longer work. Is to admire their cynicism! Current globalization has its cradle in the U.S., but shamelessly Castro tyranbny used his entire IT technology. Why they do not use Russian technology? Why they do not use the large and highly advanced technology of socialism? Simply because the Russian and other socialists have only used the brain to make weapons to kill the rest of the world.
    Well, is that these idiots think cyber destroying half dozen computers we are going to shut up. Better they destroy them, so we change them for other modern equipment!
    Cuban Police cybernetics idiots not know with whom they have gotten. They try to quell the avalanche of criticism, when other are mocking the revolution, when they cause contempt and condemnation what they are getting from all corners of the Earth. As proof of this. Has anyone heard any government has invited Fidel and Raul senildementes to officialy visit to any country in the world? Are not the Cuban colonies of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Venezuela and Ecuador are the only ones taken into account Cuba?

    The die is cast CUBAN BROTHERS. The only way left is armed belligerence, as in Libya.

    Journalism Professor (retired)
    MEDINA CARLOS REBOLLEDO
    “Ex-communist, but now a free man”

    Http: / / http://www.ipanews.co.uk

  5. I KNOW THAT THIS ARTICLE CANNOT COMPARE WITH DAMIR’S WONDERFUL ESSAYS, BUT ITS A CHANGE OF PACE!

    THE NEW AMERICAN: Recognizing Socialism’s Failure, Cuba’s Castro Revives Market in Private Property – by Michael Tennant

    When it comes to private property, wrote economist Ludwig von Mises, it is a simple “either-or” proposition: “either private ownership of the means of production, or hunger and misery for everyone.” In 1959, Fidel Castro essentially abolished private property in Cuba, and the result has been exactly as Mises predicted: a declining standard of living and shortages of basic necessities such as food, building materials, and housing.

    Faced with this reality, Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and successor, has begun scaling back government and liberalizing property laws. He has pledged to trim nearly one-quarter of the government workforce, which accounts for over 80 percent of all jobs in Cuba. Last year he began allowing private enterprise in some limited circumstances, and now “the number of private business operators has hit more than 333,000, above the expectations of the authorities, from 148,000 in 2010,” according to Agence France-Presse. In October he lifted some restrictions on the buying and selling of automobiles. Now, in what the Associated Press terms “the most important reform yet,” Castro’s government has announced that individuals will, for the first time in half a century, be able to buy and sell real estate.

    Castro claims that he will never allow Cuba to become a capitalist country. In fact, AFP remarks that Castro’s reforms are “an effort to restructure a Soviet-style economic model and revive a stagnant economy while stopping short of creating a market-led system.” Of course, the last time someone tried to reform a Soviet-style economy, he ended up destroying his own repressive regime instead. As Wikipedia reminds readers, Mikhail Gorbachev’s program of perestroika, which “introduced some market-like reforms” into the Soviet Union’s then-moribund economic system, was intended “not to dismantle socialism but rather to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet consumers.” However, since it is impossible to make socialism more efficient, perestroika instead led to the fall of the communist regime in Moscow (though not exactly to a Jeffersonian republic). Castro may very well find himself in the same situation within a few years — an eventuality that could result in the ouster of his regime and freedom for the longsuffering Cuban people.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE.

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-mainmenu-26/north-america-mainmenu-36/9650-recognizing-socialisms-failure-cubas-castro-revives-market-in-private-property

  6. Pamela, I should have shut up while the going was good. Wonder what type of mafioso Damir is staying with if he can access Yoani’s blog from Cienfuegos. Or maybe the best hotel in Cienfuegos? Told you they were all going into real estate, Damir and his rich Marxist partners have probably already evicted some Cuban peasants from the land he’s buying up.

  7. 29Huong

    Noviembre 4th, 2011 at 07:55
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    You have communism in China???????…….. Wow!!!!!….. I believe you are the only person in the world that says that…….To believe something is not enough to make it true Mr. Hang, ……. what you have mowadays in China is simply a fascist political system supported by a wild capitalism as economical system!!!!

    You have fascism, we have democracy
    You have wild capitalism, we have social capitalism
    You have fire squad and hanging we have justice
    You have extreme poverti of majority population, we have some poor people that have a live standard like meddle class in China
    You have created a indiferent society we have one that cares
    We have some homeless, you have millions
    You try to lie to the world, the world don’t believe you
    You pay our bills with the bloody money you takes of millions semi-enslaved chinesse, we use your money to improve our economy and create walfare

  8. pamela is a very, very rude person. Must have a reason… Probably Damir right, and pamela angry ‘coz Damir right.

    We in China live better then you in the West. We have communism, you have capitalism. We have evrything, you have “freedom”.

    We win and, you pay for this. We have dollars and you have homeles people everywhere.

    And we are help to Cuba now, so Cuba will have happines, and you will look with jealousy.

  9. Dumbir wrote:

    “Ok, enough for today, the breeze from the sea is luring us for a midnight scuba dive.”

    I just get all warm and tingly thinking about a midnight scuba dive in Cuba with Damir. NOT. Keep putting your tourist dollars into the pockets of the dictatorship you dumbas*.

    Another pearl of widsom from Dumbir:

    “Oh, almost forgot: eat your dissidents’ underwear. Cuba is beautiful and serene. Only, YOU will never live to see it!!!”

    HAHAHA!!!
    Ok, buzz off now. You have vasted enough of my time for one month.”

    “Eat your dissidents’ underwear?” What are you, like, in fifth grade? How’s about you buzz off for, say, six months. And ask the Cubans whose houses are falling down around them and who can’t leave the island or speak what’s really on their minds how “beautiful and serene” the island is. Fidel takes your money and laughs.

  10. Simba Sez: A Real Democracy is a government of, by, and for the people. It is not something put together by an incompetent dictator, with a little brother wannabe copycat, that very closely resembles a dictatorship with a group of hangers-on boot-licking henchmen willing to sell their soul for a few sheckels. A Real Democracy is spelled FREEDOM. Freedom of thought, speech, freedom to reside anywhere within the country, freedom to travel anywhere any time, for any reason. A Real Democracy is voted in by the people, not secured by an armed force and maintained that way. Lots of luck with that Socialism thing that is rapidly taking over the entire world.

  11. BY the way, post 15, why not learn a little more about your favourite subject?

    Romania and GDR were equally fighting for the spot in front of the USSR for the most pumped up athlete.

    However, the usa is still leading the “free” world, and is the first country when it comes to both the use AND production of steroids.

    What WAS your point anyway? Cuba is the evil chemical laboratory that produces steroid-laden athletes? Just like the team “yoani” (this fake character is getting annoyingly ignorant by the fraction of every second…), you are barking on a wrong tree.

    Clean up your own houses first all of you, THEN abstain from preaching to OTHERS.

    THAT is the real democracy.

  12. While I am holidaying In Cienfuegos with my wife, the same old sewreage losers are still eating the vitamins from the source…

    The weather is beautiful, the streets are fresh and crisp, the people are great. Except an odd anti-Castro loser yakking against Castros, while begging for money from gringos, his, or her, white gods.

    These few are pathetic, and are the true face of the “dissidents” in Cuba.

    If I were Castros, I’d give them a free ride to the north, and freely let them jump and swim for it. But, once in the sea, there would be NO return to Cuba.

    See what happens then…

    Well, there’s always Iraq or Afghanistan who might take you in!!!

    Ok, enough for today, the breeze from the sea is luring us for a midnight scuba dive.

    Oh, almost forgot: eat your dissidents’ underwear. Cuba is beautiful and serene. Only, YOU will never live to see it!!!

    HAHAHA!!!

    Ok, buzz off now. You have vasted enough of my time for one month.

  13. Help, Don’t jinx it! They’re probably vacationing on the beaches of southern France. But just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….. you-know-who will vomit up 3 excruciatingly long an inane rants. Hope it stays all quiet on the western front.

  14. Filmmakers Carlos González and Pablo Rodríguez made this important 2003 Czech documentary with interviews with dissidents prior to the March 18 crackdown knows as The Black Spring and with their relatives after their arrests and summary trials. Takes a look at the Varela Project as well.

    YOUTUBE DOCUMENTARY: “La Primavera Negra de Cuba” The Cuban Black Spring- part #1 (English sub-titles)

    COPY AND PASTE LINK IF NOT ACTIVE!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfKW7ZJyDgc

  15. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE THAT SHARING THE CUBAN PEOPLE’S STORIES CAN GET RESULTS!

    FORBES MAGAZINE: The Cuban Political Prisoners Deserve a Cuban Spring -James K. Glassman, Contributor – 11/03/2011

    In March 2003, the Cuban regime rounded up 75 journalists, librarians and human peaceful dissidents and quickly hustled them off to prison for lengthy terms on bizarre, trumped-up charges.

    For example, Normando Hernandez, who had been writing articles on CubaNet since 1999, was found guilty of reporting on the health, education and judicial systems and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Jose Luis Garcia Paneque, a surgeon who was hounded from his profession for his political beliefs, was sentenced to 24 years, with 17 months of it in isolation. Ill with pneumonia and a cyst on his kidney, his weight dropped to 90 pounds. Regis Iglesias, a poet, received an 18-year sentence.

    All of the 75 Cubans were released by 2010, a few months after an international outcry over the death of imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo. But the releases did not come until many of those jailed in the spring of 2003 — including Hernandez, Paneque and Iglesias — had spent more than seven years in prison, in terrible conditions for alleged crimes that amounted to nothing more than the exercise of “the most elementary of human rights, especially as regards freedom of expression and political association,” as the European Union put it, in a statement denouncing the prosecutions.

    For these three and many of the others, however, the privations did not end with release from prison. They were exiled to Spain, where they were denied basic liberties customarily accorded political refugees. In a column in the Wall Street Journal on June 13 of this year, Mary Anastasia O’Grady criticized the Spanish government for “assisting the Cuban dictatorship to disguise the deportation as ‘liberation.’”

    Among the readers of the column was former President George W. Bush. The three ex-prisoners learned of his interest, and, on Tuesday, they fly to Dallas to tell their stories to a packed assembly at an event sponsored by the Bush Institute.The Cubans were accompanied by Jose Maria Aznar, former president of Spain, and Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White, secretary general of the European People’s Party, the pan-European center-right organization that has been looking out for the welfare of the exiles as the Spanish government has shirked its responsibility.

    The sad fact is that much of the world is either consciously ignoring or is blissfully unaware of the brutality and repression being exercised by the Cuba regime against citizens simply asking basic freedoms. While global attention has focused on the Arab Spring and the liberation of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, a Caribbean island has remained for more than 60 years in the grip of a family that has destroyed its economy and stripped its people of the most fundamental rights.

    What’s the answer for Cuba? Start with an intensification of international pressure on the regime. Certainly, the attitude of the Spanish government will change later this month if, as expected, the Socialist government so friendly to the Castros is defeated.

    But international pressure won’t increase unless the world hears the stories of brave Cubans like Dr. Paneque, who told the rapt audience in Dallas about the hell of solitary confinement in a tiny cell. He said that his life would never be the same. You could see the emotional scars.

    The Castro brothers probably expected that the experience of prison would chasten or silence the released dissidents – those in Spain or the United States or still in Cuba. But it has not. Hernandez, Paneque and Iglesias remain defiant. They’re telling tales of one of the most repressive governments in the world. “We must seek the truth,” said President Aznar on Tuesday, “and make known the lies of the regime.”

    Change in Cuba also requires that freedom-loving Americans – especially high officials — to lend their moral support. Aznar reminded the audience that freedom “will never come from appeasement and complacency.”

    COPY AND PASTE LINK IF NOT ACTIVE! FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesglassman/2011/11/03/the-cuban-political-prisoners-deserve-a-cuban-spring/

  16. There’s been a lack of stupid comments lately. Is there a party congress going on or have they all gone into real estate?

    “…moving will no longer be subject to government approval”

    A very progressive move on the part of Castro the liberator. A man ahead of his time.

    We the oppressed proletariat of America can only envy the life of Cubans who can now move without government approval. Provided of course they have oppressed family in America who are willing to send them oppressive US dollars.

  17. I HATE TO BE THE DOUBTER, BUT THIS LOOKS LIKE A WAY FOR THE CASTROFASCISTS TO GET MONEY FROM FEES AND TAXES FROM THE SALES OF THESE HOMES. NOW WHO WILL BE ABLE TO BUY THESE HOMES? THE POLITICAL ELITE, THE MUSICIANS AND THOSE WHO MAKE MONEY OFF THE TOURISM MARKET! BUT MOST OF ALL WILL BE THOSE WHO HAVE RELATIVES ABROAD WHO WILL SEND THEM MONEY TO DO SO. BUT FOR ME THE BIG QUESTION IS, WILL “THE MUMMY” AND “LA CHINA” BACKTRACK ON THIS CHANGE? MOST LIKELY, AS THEY HAVE DONE IN THE PAST. IS VERY CYNICAL THAT THOSE WHO LEFT CUBA FOR DIFFERENT REASONS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PURCHASE HOMES IN CUBA, EVEN THE ILLEGAL ALIENS IN THE U.S.A. CAN BUY A HOME IF THEY QUALIFY FOR A LOAN!

    N.Y. TIMES : Cubans Can Buy and Sell Property, Government Says- By DAMIEN CAVE – November 3, 2011
    MEXICO CITY — Cuba announced a new property law Thursday that will allow citizens and permanent residents to buy and sell real estate — the most significant market reform yet approved by the government of Raúl Castro, and one that will likely reshape Cuba’s cities and conceptions of class.

    The new rules, which affect residential property only, will go into effect Nov. 10, according to Cuba´s state-run newspaper. The official article said more information would be forthcoming, but the bundle of released details confirm that the new law represents a major break from decades of socialist housing policy.

    It states that moving will no longer be subject to government approval, that owners will be able to have two homes (a residence and a vacation home) and that purchases, sales, donations and trades will be recognized even in cases of “divorce, death or permanent departure from the country.”

    The last item, depending on the fine print, could lead to a wave of sales and migration as Cubans unload property and use the proceeds to flee. But experts and Cuban residents — who have anticipating the law for months — say its implications are likely to be much more far-reaching. In a country defined by limited change for more than 50 years, the law will likely open a Pandora’s box of benefits and risks.

    On one hand, billions of dollars in property assets that have that have been essentially unvalued or undervalued and locked in place would be available for sale.

    Economists on the island favoring freer-market changes have said the country’s other reforms — making room for small businesses, and private agriculture — have been limited by lack of internal demand, and some experts have argued that home sales could free up the capital needed to jumpstart the island’s seized economy. At the very least, they argue, it will likely lead to a wave of renovation.

    “With a housing market, suddenly people have some wealth and that’s a stake in the economy that generates activity,” said Ted Henken, a Latin American Studies professor at Baruch College in New York. He added: “This is a very positive step in the right direction.”

    Yet there are also significant social concerns. Mario Coyula, Havana’s director of urbanism and architecture in the 1970s and ‘80s, said that wide-scale buying and selling will lead to a “huge rearrangement” in Havana and other cities as wealthy Cubans move to better areas.

    The limit of two houses per owner appears to be an effort to limit the accumulation of wealth, and absentee landlords. But because the island has a shortage of housing supply — with many families and even divorced couples continuing to live together for lack of a better option — critics say that any displacement could raise the prospect of homelessness for some.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/world/americas/cubans-can-buy-and-sell-property-government-says.html

  18. east germany they all were on the juice help by there country some did even know they were on it probly cuba juice too

  19. Not having been born during the Berlin Olympics, the most extreme example I can recall of a totalitarian country pumping out “world class athletes” was the former East Germany. In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the East Germans won more gold medals than the USA finishing behind only the former Soviet Union.

    The twisted logic of totalitarian countries believing that diverting scarce national resources to athletic success somehow vindicates their political system in the eyes of the world (or their own citizens) is captured well by Yoani’s blog posting.

  20. i call for embargo by cuban american against cuba government holiday strike for cuban people shut down the country just stop work cuban america can talk freely in america and to there family back in cuba there is enough people that it can work big shot in cuban government need the people too not like cuban people have a future so they can not loose viva shut down viva stop the madness

  21. UNCOMMON SENSE : CUBA: 354 arrests, 354 examples of how in October nothing changed in Cuba – Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    The Cuban secret police in October carried out at least 354 politically motivated arrests of anti-communist activists, according to the Centro de Informacion Hablemos Press news agency and human rights organization.

    The monthly total is the third-highest so far this year, surpassed only by the 486 arrests in September and the 440 arrests in February.

    For the year, CIHPRESS has recorded 3,022 arrests — more than twice 1,499 arrests recorded in all of 2010.

    The Castro regime doesn’t put a priority on providing an accurate count of its repression so there is no way to tell the accuracy of CIHPRESS’s estimate. If anything, its count probably reflects only a fraction of the repression and oppression in Cuba.

    But CIHPRESS’s number is important because each arrest, each detention, each beating of a pro-freedom activist represents the vile nature of the Castro regime and how despite the best wishes of those who refuse to acknowledge the reality of Cuba today, nothing has changed.

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/uncommon-sense-for-a-free-cuba-and-more/354-arrests-354-examples-of-how-in-October-nothing-changed-in-cuba/302354713111182

  22. ARREST OF DISSIDENTS HAVE INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY. HERE ARE SOME NUMBERS FROM CIH PRESS:

    JAN. = 181 SEPT. = 486 OCT. = 354 TOTAL = 3022 IN 2010 = 1499

    AFP : Award-winning Cuban dissident ‘detained and beaten’

    HAVANA — Guillermo Farinas, a leading Cuban dissident and winner of the European parliament’s top human rights prize, was arrested and for the first time beaten in detention, said his mother and activists.

    Farinas, who won the Sakharov rights prize in 2010 after going on a 135-day hunger strike to press for the release of political prisoners, had gone to a hospital in Santa Clara to visit another dissident on a hunger strike, said his mother Alicia Hernandez from Santa Clara.

    “According to what I was told by someone who was with him, he was on his way in and (state agents) told him no, and there was some kind of melee and they arrested him,” Hernandez told AFP.

    One of the agents “held him kept him in place, while another beat him. They have him in the police unit,” she added, noting: “They had never before physically abused him.”

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Farinas, who had gone to visit dissident Alcides Rivera, was still being detained at 0001 GMT Wednesday.

    Farinas, 49, also a dissident journalist who has pressed for a free press and against Internet censorship in Cuba, was also detained in September when he tried to take part in a street protest in Santa Clara, a city east of Havana.

    He has launched more than two dozen long hunger strikes in over 15 years, in an ongoing, bold confrontation with the Americas’ only one-party Communist government. Farinas, who has said he is willing to die for the cause of Cuba’s political prisoners and opposing censorship, has been mentioned as a possible Nobel peace prize candidate.

    Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata died in Cuba on February 23, 2010 on the 85th day of his hunger strike.

    Zapata’s death at the age of 42 drew global attention to the plight of political dissidents, and the human rights situation, in Cuba.

    Farinas was awarded the Sakharov prize last year following the February death of fellow dissident Zapata.

    He ended the protest when President Raul Castro authorized the release of 52 political prisoners — out of a group of 75 arrested in 2003 — on the heels of talks with senior Roman Catholic Church clerics in Havana.

    Farinas was the third Cuban to receive the Sakharov prize, after dissident activist Oswaldo Paya in 2002 and the 2005 award to the Ladies in White, a group of women whose dissident husbands are jailed.

    A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro’s revolution, Farinas distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.

    The Cuban government, which skirts the issue in its official media outlets, still denies holding any political prisoners; it says they are mercenaries in the pay of the United States.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j-Z1YbnMfBmbtOCGva9S9nk2xFFA?docId=CNG.d4b30578e8a49c8ec0ad0ca4de91d278.81

  23. GREAT INTERVIEW AND IMAGES OF OUR YOANI! In Spanish only.

    YOUTUBE : Yoani Sánchez: ‘Si hoy hubiese elecciones en Cuba ganaría la apatía’

  24. Totalitarian regimes always transform sport (and any social activity) in a political aid to support the idea of a supposedly superiority of their system over democracy…… Fascist Germany, USSR, China, North Korea and Cuba spent huge resources to fabricate sport champions and present them as an achievement of their tyrannies and a prove of the superiority of tyrannies over democracy. In democracy athletes have to make them self and does not account with other help than the one all other citizens can account, in spite of this we can see that the differences of results in sport between democracies and totalitarian systems are almost inexistent.

  25. In the U.S., we are propagandized by mass media outlets and their wealthy owners to give taxpayer money to build and support professional sports stadiums and teams, while schools face cuts in amenities like after-hours athletic programs for underprivileged kids, and while our population grows more and more obese and unhealthy.

    Funny how some dynamics can be the same in two countries with very different political systems and histories. In both cases, the needs of ordinary people rate a distant second to the desires of the powerful.

  26. EMBARGO YOU SAY? WHAT EMBARGO? HAS ANYONE SEEN AN “EMBARGO” WAGED AGAINST CUBA BY BIG OLD BAD U.S.A.? PLEASE HELP ME FIND IT!

    VOICE OF AMERICA : More To U.S. – Cuba Policy Than Restricted Trade -Criticism of the embargo obscures the fact that our nation’s dealings with Cuba are in fact multi-faceted and that the financial restrictions are but one element of U.S. policy toward the island nation.

    The United Nations has again turned its attention to the economic embargo that the United States has imposed on the government of Cuba because of its disregard for democratic principles, fundamental freedoms and human rights. In a non-binding resolution approved by a 186-2 vote, members of the UN General Assembly called on the US to end the trade sanctions, calling them a harmful vestige of the long-ended Cold War.

    Debate over the sanctions has flared within the international body almost annually since they were imposed in the early 1960s, when the Castro government seized and nationalized properties there owned by American citizens and companies. Criticism of the embargo obscures the fact that our nation’s dealings with Cuba are in fact multi-faceted and that the financial restrictions are but one element of U.S. policy toward the island nation.

    Sanctions on Cuba are designed to deny its government the material and financial resources it could use to repress its people. Our policy remains focused on protecting human rights, ensuring fundamental freedoms and improving the well being of the Cuban people.

    The US has repeatedly reached out to the Cuban people to promote the free flow of information to, from and within that country by, among other things, easing restrictions on travel and remittances and other forms of people-to-people contact. Meanwhile, the US is the leading supplier of food and humanitarian relief to Cuba. Last year alone we sent more than $370 million in agricultural products, medicine and medical devices, wood and humanitarian items to Cuba. Private donations allowed under U.S. policy totaled $861 million. The U.S. Department of Commerce approved almost $4.7 billion in export licenses to Cuba in 2010.

    Taken together, this outreach hardly constitutes an effort to isolate and hurt the Cuban people. Indeed, the US remains strongly committed to supporting their right to freely determine their future, despite Cuban government efforts to deprive them of that right for more than half a century.

    http://www.voanews.com/policy/editorials/More-To-US—Cuba-Policy-Than-Restricted-Trade–133034753.html

  27. north korean soccer players were funny crying to evil leader gitmo should be open up for tourism viva mouth revolution

  28. YOUTUBE: CUBA: DAMAS DE BLANCO, PALMA SORIANO, DOMINGO 9-10-11. – Cuba: Ladies in White, Palma Soriano, Sunday 9-10-2011

    COPY AND PASTE LINK TO BROWSER IF NOT ACTIVE!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmOrVO6Zqwg&feature=player_embedded#!

    THESE BRAVE WOMEN ON CUBA’S ORIENTE PROVINCE HAVE OPENED ANOTHER FRONT OF THE WHITE LADIES IN THE PROVINCE OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA. IN THIS VIDEO YOU CAN SEE A GROUP OF THESE BRAVE WOMEN LEAVING THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF PALMA SORIANO TOWARDS THE CATHEDRAL IN SANTIANO DE CUBA WHEN THEN THEY ARE ARRESTED BY THE MILITARY POLICE OF THE CASTRO GOVERNMENT WHO WERE FOLLOWING THEM IN THIS CLANDESTINE VIDEO THAT SOME DISSIDENTS WERE ABLE TO RECORD IN THAT CITY. THESE WOMEN ARE HEROINES AND THEY NEED YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT! DONT ABANDON THEM! OFFER ANY HELP YOU CAN!

    ESTAS VALIENTES MUJERES DEL ORIENTE DE CUBA HAN ABIERTO OTRO FRENTE DE LAS DAMAS DE BLANCO EN LA PROVINCIA SANTIAGO DE CUBA. EN ESTE VÍDEO VEMOS A UN GRUPO DE ESTAS EJEMPLARES MUJERES SALIENDO DE PALMA SORIANO HACIA LA CATEDRAL SANTIAGUERA Y SON DETENIDAS POR LOS MILITARES CASTRISTAS QUE SE VEN DETRÁS DE ELLAS EN LAS IMÁGENES QUE PUDIERON TOMAR ALGUNOS OPOSITORES PACÍFICOS DE ESTA CIUDAD. ESTAS HEROÍNAS NECESITAN DE TU SOLIDARIDAD Y APOYO ¡¡¡NO LAS DEJES SOLAS!!! ¡¡¡BRINDALE TU APOYO!!!

  29. IMAGES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS!NEGLECT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE PEOPLE IS THE NORM IN THE “SOCIALIST PARADISE”!

    VIMEO VIDEO : Paraiso (The Cuban Paradise)- by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

    COPY AND PASTE LINK TO BROWSER IF NOT ACTIVE!

    //vimeo.com/28024540

  30. MONEY FOR SPORTS VICTORIES IN ORDER TO SHOW THE WORLD POWER AND PRESTIGE! BUT BACK HOME IS ANOTHER STORY! AND WHY IS IT THAT SO MANY ATHLETES LEAVE? IS THE GLORY NOT ENOUGH? NO, BECAUSE THEY ARE FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN USED BY THE CASTROFASCISTS WHEN THEY ARE OFF THE WORLD SPOTLIGHT!

    BASEBALL DE WORLD: Chasing Dreams: Cuban Baseball Defectors – Part 1- January 15, 2010.

    CUBA – The pursuit of fame and fortune in the Major Leagues resulted in a record number of Cuban baseball players defecting in 2009. And, while hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman has garnered most of the attention, the newest addition to the Cincinnati Reds may not be the the best prospect to escape the baseball-crazed island nation this past year.
    According to the Cuban baseball website, CubanBall.com, nearly 200 players have defected since 1980. Although just a small number of would-be big leaguers have struck paydirt, the majority of defectors have enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their baseball skills.

    http://baseballdeworld.com/2010/01/15/chasing-dreams-cuban-baseball-defectors-part-1/

  31. THE MOST EXPENSIVE USED HONDA CIVIC FOUND IN CUBA! WHY? BECAUSE IS ALL ABOUT THE CASTROFASCISTS GETTING A BIG CUT OF THE MONEY THE CUBAN PEOPLE GET FOR SELLING AND BUYING THESE USED CARS WHICH IS NOW “LEGAL”!! OF COURSE IS THE “GUSANOS” ABROAD WHO PUT UP THE MONEY! SHOW ME THE MONEY FIDEL!! WHAT A MAFIA!! I MEAN SOCIALISM!!

    NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: In Cuba, A Used Car Is No Bargain- by Nick Miroff

    What may be the most expensive Honda Civic in the world can be found in Havana. There’s nothing especially luxurious about the car: It’s a red 2005 model, with 60,000 miles on the odometer.

    But what is special about this Civic is that there are few like it on the supply side of Cuba’s used car market. And that’s why Acela Claro says she’s had plenty of interest, even though she’s offering it for $65,000.

    “I’ve been getting calls and emails from as far away as Madrid,” Claro says. She adds that the inquiries are coming from Cubans as well as foreigners on the island who want a newer car.

    Until a few weeks ago, there was no way to legally transfer ownership of a vehicle like this. The only cars that could be freely bought and sold were those built before 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power. That’s why there are still nearly 60,000 classic cars on Cuba’s streets, but few late-model Hondas. Bringing in a new car requires special government permission and a 100 percent import tax, but Claro still says the U.S. embargo is the reason she’s asking so much.”Our country is so blockaded that we can’t just bring in anything we want,” Claro says. “That’s why a car like this doesn’t cost the same as it would [in the United States].”

    The Cuban government has long treated car ownership as a privilege and a reward, not a right. Doctors, military officers and exemplary workers got the chance to buy one from the state, often at subsidized prices.

    But since Cubans couldn’t legally sell their vehicles, they learned to do everything possible to keep them on the road.

    Nelson Ramos, a car enthusiast and former economist in Havana, says cars in Cuba are “like members of the family.”

    “Cars stay in the family forever. And you take care of the car, you fix the engine, and we probably have the best mechanics in the world,” Ramos says. “This is probably the only country in the world where you don’t have a junkyard for cars. We simply get the wreckage and put it on wheels and drive it again.”

    There’s always been a black market for used cars in Cuba, and even now, the best way to find vehicles is though illegal brokers or by going online.

    Over slow dial-up Internet connections, Cubans who know how get around government censors can shop on Craigslist-style classified sites like Revolico or Cubisima. The prices are stunning. A 2006 Hyundai Accent is priced at $40,000. A 1993 Volkswagen Jetta, $20,000. In a country where the average wage is still around $20 a month, only Cubans with relatives abroad or lucrative private businesses can pay such a fortune. But they do.

    Waiting for passengers outside the Havana bus terminal, cab driver Pedro Cantero shows off the green Russian Lada his father was allowed to purchase in 1980 as a reward for cutting so much sugar cane. Cantero says the battered sedan is still worth nearly $10,000 today in Cuba, even more than when it first rolled off the Soviet assembly line.

    “We’re happy about the new change, because it removes an unnecessary restriction,” Cantero says. “I’m going to take better care of the car knowing I can sell it if I need to.”

    But before any car owners in the U.S. start calculating what their used vehicles might sell for in Cuba, they should keep in mind that between the U.S. embargo and Cuba’s own restrictions, neither government would allow it.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/10/31/141858419/in-cuba-a-used-car-is-no-bargain

  32. Good article Yoani. The best circuses I saw were the North Korean, Chinese, and Soviet. But no bread for the people.

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