2011, That Year So Remote

Image taken from http://www.msnbc.msn.com

In October Laura Pollan left us, in a dark hospital on a drizzly day, in a year, 2011, that had been born already battered. In the early months, the final prisoners of the Black Spring had been released and national and international headlines gave most of the credit to the Catholic Church and Spain’s Foreign Minister, downplaying the struggle of the Ladies in White, the pressure exerted from the street, Guillermo Fariñas’ hunger strike, and the wake of outrage left by the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. April, the cruelest month, brought us the Communist Party Congress focused only on economic issues, preferring the word “adjustments” to “reforms,” and consolidating the power of a blood heir to the Cuban throne.

August, with its dog days and its scarcities, wasn’t very different. “Where are the changes?” many asked themselves. It wasn’t until October that they began to trickle out. We could buy a used car, but not freely associate ourselves with a party nor express ourselves without punishment. Then came the most daring of Raul’s measures: it was possible to buy or sell a home, although the most modest of them necessitated the total wages of 45 years’ work. Something was moving in a society mummified for decades, but so slowly we despaired. In mid-December we learned that more than 66,000 Cubans had obtained the nationality of their grandparents, emigrants from the Asturias, the Canary Islands, Galicia… people kept escaping. The despair is not perceived in the streets as much as in the long lines at the consulates.

The area of land allowed to be given to farmers in usufruct grew, but the price of food grew almost as much. The press spoke of advances, but the reality showed stagnation. Private restaurants invaded every neighborhood with their menus of spicy dishes and their anxiety about whether they would be left to survive a while longer. The mute choir of the National Assembly confirmed that for 2012 the country would need much more money to import the foods that could well be produced on our own soil. And the expected travel reform was kept from us again, for the umpteenth time.

On Saint Sylvester night few homes displayed parties or music, at least in Havana. But I felt relief that the year was ending. Of 2011, with its advances overstated by propaganda and its setbacks silenced, once was enough.

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47 thoughts on “2011, That Year So Remote

  1. Yoani, I am a great admirer of your cause. I have written in the past about president Lula who visited Cuba and proclaimed Cuba as an example of DEMOCRACY. Dilma is no different! They both are communists (they call themselves Socialists). Brasil is going in the same direction as Cuba. False Programs in regards to education, health (people die on the emergency lines at the so called SUS (Public Hospitals). Their equipment is either faulty or non-existant)..yet1..on TV and media they show people smiling..satisfied with their treatment. Well!…in a country where a great majority of people have no or precarious schooling..any social help generates votes.I am not pro Batista or any kind of dictatorship but,,,let´s face it durin his tenure cassinos, tourism was generating income to the Cubans! They lived much better than today! Brasil has to remember that the so called IMPERIALISTS generate the vast majority of jobs in this country. Our government creates new Ministries left and right overpopulated by employees that have nothing to do, not even show up but…get paid! These jobs generate votes!
    I am a great admirer of your cause and bought ” De Cuba com Cariho”. I wish you all the success in the world!
    Otto

  2. Jack Sprat said : “Yoani Sanchez is a creation of the USINT and Batista supporters. She is a total fraud, and her blog is so boring it is doubtful if even her creators in the U.S. government read it before writing their own language under her name. They do not improve the substance much and it is still the most boring and lying piece of crap I have ever seen. Salim Lamrani destroyed her and showed what a child she is in intellectual terms. She is the supreme gusano.”

    YES JACK! AND THAT IS WHY YOU ARE HERE TELLING US THESE IRRELEVANT THINGS! BUT HOW IRRELEVANT IS YOANI SANCHEZ WHEN YOU ARE DISSING HER? HMMM!! INTERESTING!!

    TWITTER ACCOUNTS!

    YOANI SANCHEZ (at) YoaniSanchez : 194,563 Followers
    FIDEL CASTRO (at) ReflexionFidel : 172,260 Followers

    HMM! YOANI HAS ALMOST 22,000 MORE FOLLOWERS THAN THE MUMMY FIDEL! YEP, SHE IS IRRELEVANT! JE JE JE!

  3. Jack, don’t you know that Cuba doesn’t exist? It’s a CIA black op, brother, to distract you from what USINT and Batista are doing in Iceland. Be careful, they’re watching.

  4. Yoani Sanchez is a creation of the USINT and Batista supporters. She is a total fraud, and her blog is so boring it is doubtful if even her creators in the U.S. government read it before writing their own language under her name. They do not improve the substance much and it is still the most boring and lying piece of crap I have ever seen. Salim Lamrani destroyed her and showed what a child she is in intellectual terms. She is the supreme gusano.

  5. So, the team “yoani”. ready to live up to your hypocrisy and continue to ignore my questions, or are you going to start answering them?

    Because I would have a few questions to repeat for you to answer.

    You know, the ones that you keep avoiding and turning the deaf ear to.

    No doubt a child of Spanish immigrants, who only lived less than 9 years in Cuba (although I do not believe that for a second, since the copy and paste genius has proved himself to be a poor and unskilled wannabe Castro’s press agent) will come up with more “accolades” to fool naive and unsuspecting readers, but there are many, way too many intelligent and informed people oth here who aren’t even laughing at all these stupid attempts to ake a case for your “righteous” campaign against your own country.

    So, the team “yoani”? Whay is it going to be? More hiding, or are you going to find the courage to answer some serious questions, and risk to be unmasked as cheap mercenaries of your white “gods” employing you to fight their war to impose “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” on your own people, now that we all can see how catastrophically useless that system really is?

    I’m waiting. So do my questions.

    So do millions of people who think you are fake “revolutionaries” paid by foreigners to destroy your own country.

  6. THE PETITION IS CLOSE TO 1000 SIGNATURES IN TWO DAYS!! LA FLACA IS CONFRONTING THE CASTROFASICSTS HER WAY WITH INTELLECT AND COURAGE, NO VIOLENCE IN HER DEMEANOR OR WORDS! SHOWING THE WORLD COMMUNITY THE HYPOCRISY AND FASCIST BEHAVIOR OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY IS MORE POTENT THAN ANY FIRE ARM!

    CLICK LINK BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION TO ALLOW CUBAN BLOGGER YOANI SANCHEZ TRAVEL TO BRAZIL! We ask the Presidente of Brazil Dilma Roussef along with the government of Cuba so that YOANI SANCHEZ can travel to Brazil and RETURN Cuba, without any risk to the her personal freedom and physical person as well as her family and friends.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/yoani-sanchez-no-brasil

  7. I’ve just read on a important brazilian news website that you made a video asking the brazilian president to help you to go to Brazil, so you can be there for the preview of a documentary you’re part of, is that right? If yes I wish you good luck with that and I hope you’ll find a way. I wish I could help.

  8. Simba, hard to predict, here’s my election analysis:

    You can vote for Raul, or you can vote for Raul. And if you like neither, you can vote for Raul. Then again, you can always vote for Raul. And if you hate them all, you will still vote for Raul, even if you don’t show up to vote.

    But if I was a gambling man, I’d bet on the Communist Party led by Raul to win the next election.

  9. Simba Sez: I wonder which candidate the Cubans will vote into office in the next Great Leader election?

  10. Un Hun said: “Practically most of the Cubanos who post here are close to the US republican ideals, which they don’t accept as right wing ideals nor as self-serving nor as harmful and they do no accept responsibility for Cuban history ”

    Un Hun! YOU ARE CLAIRVOYANT? YOU CAN READ MY MIND? DO YOU HAVE ONE OF THOSE LINES YOU CALL FOR TELLING ME MY FUTURE? HATE TO TELL YOU BUT IM A REGISTERED DEMOCRAT, VOTED FOR OBAMA AND WILL VOTE FOR HIM MOST LIKELY IN THE NEXT ELECTION! JE JE JE!

  11. Τhat’s right UnSoricel, even if some of us are communists and socialists, we’re all part of the right-wing US Republican diehard clique because we don’t think Yoani was in Miami a few weeks ago, or because we think Cubans should eat well and have freedom of speech.

    Your writing has improved over the last few months. Does your school also offer courses in logic?

  12. San – thank you for saying what you think and setting Cuba in a larger context that many of us see! By various means, some of us have tried to do the same in order to engage in open debate with the guys who post here – maybe with view to inform debate there in Cuba… The result is almost always the same, this blog is a one way street where anything remotely different in opinion is rejected and refused as misguided, by a clique who just gangs up together to demonise the individual.

    The only excuse for such action is that one has to contend that life in Cuba is terrible so that ‘any change’ would be a change for the better. Obviously that may not be quite true for many (poor) people as seen in former communist countries, since freedom may be the last thing Cubanos would actually get. But then again freedom remains a beautiful idea that every human spirit craves for and should fight for and Castro is an oppressor of freedom that created an anachronism in Cuba not a healthy society.

    Practically most of the Cubanos who post here are close to the US republican ideals, which they don’t accept as right wing ideals nor as self-serving nor as harmful and they do no accept responsibility for Cuban history – Castro or Che is guilty of everything. Any talk of sharing and caring is seen as left-wing or communist propaganda talk from an agent of the state!

    Thank you for saying that Yoanni’s blog feels narcissistic in some respect, a thought I shared here as well in more than one form, only to incur ‘the wrath’ of their clique. Apparently Yoanni is a saint, should be seen as such and not as a human being. Apparently we should all pray to her or at least acknowledge her as the future saviour of Cuba when we are on this blog, and never argue against the wave.

    There is however hope that Yoanni and others in Cuba may take on board other points of view too and so adjust or understand better the position they are in, both internally and internationally – so don’t be disappointed by the reaction of these Cubanos.

    For the clique here I have no hope, they would never accept there is a different world out there as much as they can’t accept that Cuba after so much suffering should get a better deal out of change than what they are suggesting or what they sell i.e. change at any price as long as it is inline with their (US republican) ideals.

  13. GUESS THEY SENT SOME OF THE “BIG YOANI DEFAMATION GUNS” WITH THIS san! WHO SPEAKS SANS SENSE!

  14. EXCELLENT ARTICLE!

    FORBES MAGAZINE: Our Man In Cuba – Firsthand Reporting From Havana – Larry Olmsted, Contributor

    But why exactly? Does Cuba have any unique charms to offer that other island nations in the Caribbean cannot compete with? Does it have better fishing, beaches, food, or hotels? Or is it merely because people are told they cannot go that makes it so compelling?I do not have a strong personal opinion as to whether or not we should legalize travel to Cuba (technically it’s the spending, not the travel itself, that is now illegal). However, I do have a strong opinion as to whether it would matter. There seems to be an omnipresent belief that an absence of American tourism dollars somehow keeps the citizens of Cuba poor and disadvantaged, yet since few Americans visit, few realize that Cuba already has a thriving tourism sector – the single biggest contributor to its economy. But all the Euros and Pounds and Canadian Dollars flowing into this beach and rum driven economy do little to improve the lot of the average citizen, who is put down and impoverished by his or her own government, and even if they somehow had money, they cannot even enter the stores that actually sell things – these are reserved for those with foreign passports. I find it hard to believe that with all the tourists visiting now, sending more would somehow make the government less corrupt.
    My personal impression of Cuba was one of profound disappointment and it left me depressed, but that years ago was at the height of tensions and when Fidel Castro was still firmly in power. Since we appear closer than ever to normalizing relationships in the foreseeable future, I thought it prudent to take another look at our nearby neighbor, this time through the eyes of a friend and fellow journalist, Michael Patrick Shiels, whom I often refer to as “The Imus of Michigan,” where his statewide drive-time radio show covers politics and current events, and where he has repeatedly been voted Michigan Broadcast Personality of the Year. Shiels visited Cuba just a few weeks ago as part of an officially sanctioned governmental and business delegation from Michigan, and I am honored to be able to directly present his impressions of a country few of us get any firsthand information or feedback on (You can read more of Shiels’ travel writing at his site, Travel Tattler). Here is Cuba in Michael Patrick Shiels’ words:
    ‘There are two classes of people here. The government caters to the tourists, but doesn’t care about us,’ she said. When I asked her if that bothered her, she answered, in Spanish, ‘How could it not?’ She mentioned that some of her friends would soon set sail in an escape attempt for the freedom of Florida by boat, so I inquired as to whether she planned to go? ‘No, no,’ she said wide-eyed, making a biting motion with her fingernails. ‘Tiburon (shark), chomp chomp!’”

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

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/01/05/our-man-in-cuba-firsthand-reporting-from-havana/

  15. @san

    Yoani is trapped in Cuba and can rarely read her own blog, much less travel to Miami. You are confusing her with someone else. You seem to have a lot of hatred in you, while Yoani preaches peace and reconciliation.

    If you think Little Haiti and East LA are “poor”, you’ve never seen poverty in your life. Just because someone is richer than you, it doesn’t mean you are poor, and just because police stopped you on the street one day, doesn’t mean you have no freedom. If you want to see poor slaves, visit Cuba one day. Finally, I have many black Cuban friends and they all want communism to end, Yoani speaks for all races and religions in Cuba.

    If you open your heart and mind, you could learn something here. Freedom and equality are universal values.

  16. san, you do your credibility no good with ridiculous claims about seeing Yoani in Miami a few weeks ago. Makes it hard to take any of your other opinions at all seriously.

    I’m really at a loss to understand why some people have the need to make excuses for a repressive dictatorship by attempting to claim the US is no different. The US has many faults and shortcomings, but the systematic abuse of the fundamental human rights of its citizens is not one of them.

  17. I really find Yoani Sanchez’s blog to be really narcisistic in her desire to incorporate the Time Magazine definition of an entire generation as “generation Y.” Though Yoani has her own definition for the Y generation it is one that denotes sarcasm and broad humor. This then prompts me to wonder why would anyone simplify their crusade by appropriating a generic label from a mainstream US magazine that in itself is right winger propaganda.

    Yoani’s comments often come through as right winged and dogmatic. She states that she lives in Cuba though I saw her in Miami a few weeks ago. Speaking to students at one of the most elite locations of art. Maybe Yoani did not know she was in a place that had gentrified and displaced an entire Black and Latino community of Miami but she sure didn’t mention any of those realities in her talk about the tragedy of Cuba’s politics today. Where was the criticality in purpose I wondered when she sat with the De La Cruz art collectors, hosting her visit? Yoani spoke of the silenced majority, she spoke of censorship, she spoke of the government brutality and lack of democracy and freedom… I looked out the window and thought she was speaking about the USA. Maybe not many bloggers USA or the De La Cruz USA but more like Liberty City, Overtown, Little Haiti, Wynwood, Opa-Locka, Bedstuy, East LA, Inglewood, Newburgh, Harlem, Baltimore, Richmond etc..

    Yoanis’ words felt more true about our community where 7 Black men were gunned down in an 8 month period and ignored by a white Cuban chief of police. Yoani’s words came more visibly true when she spoke of internet censorship as millions of Americans are constantly prayed upon by Government surveillance without their knowledge while walking in Harlem streets. Being searched in subway platforms on the way to work while being Black or Latino. Yoani’s reality of her own experiences are traumatic but not exclusive to one generation or one letter or even to one Nation. Yoani is speaking from a Cold War perspective which has never ended in Miami Cuban politics. Miami politics is exclusively geared to benefit White Cubans not dark skinned Cubans or anyone else. This triumph stands as an example of how a small community can rise above dominance and make a difference. Unfortunately, the Cuban communities rise also ignored the other groups who still struggle to this day to be seen as human beings. Miami’s Black community, Central American immigrants and other economically crippled communities around I-95.

    Maybe Yoani should take a closer look at her constituents here in Miami and see how they live. How their rage, for a Cuban Government that has been constantly under a Cold War threat by the “mightiest and wealthiest country in the world,” dictates through hipocrasy and double standards for some and not others. The self righteousness of Cuban politics in Miami are not exclusive to Miami but a reality in most US States governed by individuals whose constituents are a few and not the many.

    Lastly, We should be cautious when we break out in song about Havana’s newspaper editors and the politics of the blind hearted. Need we say much when The New York Times, Time Magazine and Miami Herald create right winged propaganda to dictate single minded ideologies towards the masses. Thus creating not a broad concept of US conditions in America or abroad but promoting intolerance and ignorance for people to consume. It is no wonder people watch Fox News, it is a distraction from reality but now a reality that caters to generations of people who seem hopeless. Why is this? Yoani? Maybe you can answer this question?

  18. Humberto, when international prizes include a cash award Yoani should have the right to accept the money just like any other award recipient, and then decide what she wishes to do with the money. My recollection is that some of the prizes Yoani has won for her writing have involved modest cash awards though nothing on the scale of the Nobel Prizes for example.

    In my opinion, the Havana Times article was reasonably fair. It certainly was not defamatory.

  19. “DEMOCRACY UNDER STRESS”: The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy 2011

    Electoral democracy, for the most part, remains firmly entrenched in Latin America, but media freedoms have been eroded in recent years in several countries. Aside from Cuba (the only state in the region without any independent media), Venezuela has been the worst offender. The failure to uphold press freedom in some countries in the region in part reflects inadequate oversight bodies—a symptom of broader institutional weaknesses in Latin America. The executive remains very strong in many countries, the legislature is comparatively weak in many cases and most judiciaries suffer from some degree of politicisation.

    COPY AND PASTE LINK TO BROWSER IF NOT ACTIVE!

    http://www.eiu.com/Handlers/WhitepaperHandler.ashx?fi=Democracy_Index_Final_Dec_2011.pdf&mode=wp

  20. IT IS VERY EASY TO COUNTER THIS FIDEL CASTRO DEATH RUMOR! HAVE HIM LIVE ON CUBAN T.V.!! WHY IS THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT NOT DOING THAT? BECAUSE FIDEL IS DEAD AND THEY ARE BUYING TIME TO SET NEW REPRESSION TACTICS, PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

    “They should double-check their ‘information’ before blaming someone for no reason,” Fernandez told CNN late Wednesday. “I wrote about that when the topic was already trending and my tweets were mostly jokes. I didn’t start anything.”
    A look at Fernandez’s Twitter activity shows that the offending tweet was in fact not his, but a retweet, or copy, of someone else’s tweet.
    An online search showed that a tweet claiming that a publication called Cuba Press had confirmed Castro’s death began to circulate on January 2, but the originator of that message was impossible to pinpoint.
    The hashtag #FidelCastro, used to identify the topic of a tweet, on that day became one of the most popular tags, known as a Trending Topic.
    According to Cuba Debate, the “frustration” of Cuba’s enemies to assassinate Castro “has led some to try (to kill him) in the virtual world with the hope of accomplishing what more than half a century of criminal attempts have failed to do.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/05/world/americas/cuba-castro-twitter/index.html

  21. CHECK OUT THE SUBTLE, BUT VERY OBVIOUS ATTEMPT AT DEFAMATION BY THE EDITOR OF HAVANA TIMES Circles Robinson MENTIONING MONEY$ TO DESCRIBE YOANI’S LAURELS! ALWAYS THE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ SIGNS IN FRONT OF ANY COMMENT ABOUT YOANI BY THE APOLOGISTS AND CASTROFASCIT AGENTS! HE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO MENTION THIS NEWS BECAUSE OF INTERNATIONAL INTEREST! HE DOES NOT ALLOW ME TO COMMENT WITH MY USUAL ARTICLES IN HAVANA TIMES, GUESS HE IS AFRAID OF MY INFORMATION! JE JE JE! I HOPE YOU READ THIS CIRCLES! AND WHY DID YOU NOT PROVIDE A LINK TO THIS BLOG??

    HAVANA TIMES :Yoani Sanchez Makes New Plea to Exit Cuba- by Circles Robinson

    Jan 5 — Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez says she and the rest of the Cuban population are virtual prisoners due to the mandatory exit visa the government requires in order to leave the island.

    Sanchez has won several hundred thousand dollars in prizes for her writing on the Generation Y blog but has been unable to attend the awards ceremonies in a host of countries.

    In her latest attempt to travel from Cuba, Sanchez wants to attend a premiere next month in Bahia, Brazil of a documentary about journalism in Cuba and Honduras. The blogger participated in the Cuban segment of the film.

    Sanchez, 36, says she been denied an exit visa to travel off the island 19 times in less than a decade, despite not having a criminal record.

    The government controlled media has portrayed Yoani as a dangerous enemy of the Cuban revolution but no charges have ever been brought against her.

    In a new tactic to try and get the Cuban authorities to budge on her exit permit, Sanchez made a You Tube video plea to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, trying to get that country’s leader to intercede on her behalf with the Raul Castro administration in Havana.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=59164

  22. YOU GO FLACA! LET THE CASTROFASCISTS SHOW THEIR TRUE COLORS AND INTENTIONS!

    THE GUARDIAN UK: Cuban blogger appeals to Brazil’s president for help to leave Cuba – Dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez has issued a video plea after being denied permission to leave the country since 2004

    The dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez – famed for her outspoken online critiques of the country’s communist regime – has issued an appeal to Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, to help her leave the Caribbean island.
    Sánchez, a Havana-based writer who has been accused by Cuban authorities of conducting a “cyberwar” against the government, has not been able to leave the country since 2004 because of migration rules that require Cubans to receive government permission to travel.
    She has now been invited to the Brazilian state of Bahia in February for the screening of a documentary about press freedom in Cuba and Honduras in which she features.
    But speaking to the Brazilian television channel Record this week, Sánchez said she expected her latest request for an exit permit would again be declined without “high-level intervention”.
    Sánchez told Record she had “exhausted all of the options inside my country to get them to allow me to travel”.
    In the video appeal to Rousseff, posted on YouTube, Sánchez called on Brazil’s first female president to intervene.
    “Please help me,” said the blogger, who says it is her 19th attempt to get travel permission from Cuban authorities. “Through this small video I want to send a very respectful [and] very humble message … to the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.”
    “Unfortunately I am forbidden from leaving my own country – I have not committed any crime.”
    Referring to the time Rousseff spent in jail during Brazil’s military dictatorship, Sánchez said: “I know very well that she has felt first hand … what excessive control and repression is.”
    “I have done everything that is within my reach but the wall of control, the wall of censorship, the wall which stops me travelling freely and returning to my island seems not to move,” said Sánchez, whose supporters have also created an online petition calling on Rousseff to intervene.
    Before Christmas, activists had hoped that Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro, would announce major changes to the country’s migration laws, particularly the rule that means Cubans require exit permits to travel abroad.
    But while Castro, who officially took over from his brother as president in 2008, announced pardons for nearly 3,000 prisoners, those hoping for a loosening of travel rules were disappointed.
    “The migration reforms … were not announced again,” Sánchez says in her video appeal to Rousseff. “In the 21st century … we are forbidden from leaving and entering freely our country.”
    Sánchez has earned international plaudits for her blog, Generación Y, on which she publishes regular critiques of the Cuban authorities, often secretively posted from internet cafes.
    In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the world’s 100 most influential people. The magazine’s profile, written by the American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, described her “feisty dedication to the truth”.
    “Under the nose of a regime that has never tolerated dissent, Sánchez has practiced what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot: freedom of speech,” Hijuelos wrote.
    But while the blogger’s supporters view her as a standard-bearer for press freedom, Cuban authorities have accused her of conducting a Washington-backed “cyberwar” against the island’s communist regime.
    In a recent piece for Foreign Policy magazine, the Cuban blogger said that while many foreign correspondents in Havana feared expulsion if they offended authorities, social networks were helping independent journalists get the message out.
    “Opening the world’s eyes to the real Cuba … no longer requires a wire service dispatch; it can be done with a cell phone,” she wrote.
    Meanwhile, Cuban authorities have vented their anger at a Twitter user whom they accused of starting a wave of online rumours this week claiming that the former president, Fidel Castro, had died.
    An article posted on the state-run Cubadebate website pointed the finger of blame at a tweeter called @Naroh.
    In the story, entitled: “New lie against #FidelCastro fails on Twitter”, the website claimed that after the rumours began “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries, aided by some media, immediately started to party.” Responding to the allegations that he had started the hoax, Naroh tweeted: “Cuba is blaming me for killing Fidel Castro on Twitter. Can I now consider myself a Twit-star?”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/05/cuban-blogger-appeals-brazil-president

  23. Simba Gay said: “I’m grasping at straws, again. I think, I need to shout but my Caps Lock is not working.”

    SIMBA GAY! MY CAP LOCKS WORKS DANDY! JE JE JE!

  24. LIBERDADE, UM DIREITO HUMANO. LIBERTY: HUMAN RIGHT LIBERTAD: DERECHO HUMANO

    CLICK LINK BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION TO ALLOW CUBAN BLOGGER YOANI SANCHEZ TRAVEL TO BRAZIL! AND FOR THAT MATTER ALL CUBAN CITIZENS! FREEDOM OF TRAVEL FOR ALL!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/yoani-sanchez-no-brasil

    We ask for the interference of Presidente do Brasil Dilma Roussef next to the government of Cuba so that YOANI SANCHEZ can travel to Brazil and RETURN Cuba, without no risk to the freedom and physical integrity in such a way its as of its family and friends. We ask for that the governing of CUBA in such a way guarantee its trip of way there to Brazil as its return CUBA.

    Pedimos a interferência da Presidente DILMA ROUSSEF junto ao governo de Cuba para que YOANI SANCHEZ possa vir ao Brasil e REGRESSAR a Cuba, sem nenhum risco à liberdade e integridade física tanto sua como de sua família e amigos. Pedimos que os governantes de CUBA garantam tanto a sua viagem de ida ao Brasil como sua volta a CUBA.

    Pedimos la interferencia de la presiente Dilma Rousseff del gobierno del Brasil al lado del gobierno de Cuba de modo que YOANI SÁNCHEZ pueda viajar al Brasil y a la VUELTA Cuba, sin ningún riesgo a la libertad e integridad física suya y de su familia y amigos.

  25. I’m grasping at straws, again. I think, I need to shout but my Caps Lock is not working.

  26. Thanks “Help”, that explains things. I thought there had to be a reason because the place is so fertile and their diet is so appalling, everything loaded with sugar to make up the calorie content.

  27. I MUST WARN DAMIR THAT TOO MUCH “GRASPING” WILL ALSO BLIND YOU!

    WASHINGTON POST: Baffling Blindness Afflicts Thousands in Cuba- Medical Researchers Believe Nutrition May Be Partly at Fault- By Sandy Rovner – June 1, 1993,

    A mysterious epidemic has afflicted the vision of thousands of Cubans in the past 18 months, prompting increasing international attention and medical investigation. The disorder, which is not fatal, has affected mostly adult men and caused some cases of blindness. In addition to the vision problems, it has also caused loss of sensation in the arms and legs. At the request of the Cuban government, two international teams of scientists, one organized by the New York-based international vision organization Project Orbis, the other by the World Health Organization, spent from five days to two weeks in Cuba recently. The teams were made up of neurologists, ophthalmologists, nutritionists and virologists, including Nobel laureate Carleton Gajdusek from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. They took cultures, examined patients and debriefed Cuban scientific experts but came to no firm conclusions about the ailment.
    There is a general consensus, some of the scientists said, that widespread malnutrition, caused by Cuba’s deteriorating economy, plays a major role in the illness, as does some toxic agent—possibly in homemade rum—that has not been identified. The scientists also agree that the pattern of the epidemic’s spread shows no sign that it is contagious. For example, one doctor who would not allow his name to be used said, “there are very few cases in the same family; very few cases among children; no cases in high schools, which, in Cuba, are boarding schools; and only one case in the army—a general.” Moreover, no foreigners in Cuba have contracted the illness, the doctor said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE

    http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles%20and%20Notes/Cuban%20blindness%20disease.html

  28. Micki, almost all the alcohol in Cuba is moonshine, it costs pennies. Even the Cubans who get sent dollars will often buy the moonshine because it’s so cheap, only the rich and tourists buy the state rum.

    John, about the laziness and power of the state, a trend everywhere in the world unfortunately. But in Cuba, I don’t think it’s just that they’re used to the state doing everything, or the money, it’s that they’ve been punished for years for trying to help themselves, so many people gave up.

    You might find the following hard to believe, but I know poor Habaneros who tried to grow vegetables years back and they were arrested for being “capitalists”. After the opening-up they tried growing vegetables again, at great effort, and they had their vegetables stolen. They then tried again somewhere else, and they had their vegetables stolen again. It’s very hard to keep what’s yours in Cuba, the place is so crowded and the minute any neighbor or stranger sees you have something they want it. So the ones who need to grow their own food find it very hard. The ones who have more money don’t need to grow anything, but they sometimes do or just head to the local peso market.

  29. I must admit that I have Cuban friends here that have family in Cuba and more then half of them have told me themselves that a large part of their family back home are alcoholics which confuses me cause if they don’t have money for food how do they have money for alcohol? Im not trying to funny but I don’t understand that, is alcohol cheaper then food? or is it that they choose to drink to temporarily forget the hell hole they live in? (Hell hole meaning to communism they live under not the island itself).

  30. Cuba Libre: ARE YOU CRAZY? I just read #7, it must be a joke. In a country where you do not have the human right to do as you please with your own life, where you do not have the freedom to express what you feel, where children are being brain washed rom the moment they enter school, etc, really? ha ha ha, that comment must be a not so funny joke. Don’t insult the thousands that have died in that stretch of water in search of freedom.

  31. What motivation is there to work or study? Bust their butts studying or working for a measly $15 or so a month that the Castro’s feel like throwing at them? Work or study? What would the major be: a masters in peasantry ?? Though I am a person who has been working since I was 14 yrs old, if I lived in the situation they live I would be lazy too, I would live 24 hrs a day trying to figure out how to get the heck out of that hell hole, maybe I would consider studying to be a swimmer so I could swim as fast as I humanly can to the US and thats the truth, heck with that.

  32. Simba Sez: John in #13, I’m curious. Honestly I have no idea, but would Cuban citizens have access to seeds, and other necessery things to even grow a garden? Do they have the right to grow a crop, if only a garden, and then use it? Would the crop not be the property of the government to do with as they see fit? What would be the odds that others would steal the vegetables before the owner got to them? Why work for nothing?

  33. I don’t agree with Cuba Libre on anything except what he says about people helping themselves. I also noted far too many young fit people, ambling around all day, sitting in doorways doing nothing and getting into the rum at night. Why aren’t these people working, or studying? I spent 2 weeks in Miramar and walking around the streets of this pleasant suburb with quite pleasant houses and gardens. I didn’t see anything of use growing in those gardens. Why isn’t every inch of these gardens bursting with tomatos, citrus trees, vegetables and everything else that it’s possible to grow? There’s a terrible lazy apathy all over Cuba. It’s the same in all communist countries. If the “state” doesn’t do it for you, it doesn’t get done.

  34. TWEET, TWEET!! BOO!! AND THE CASTROFASCISTS JUMP! JE JE JE! ONLY A FASCIST STATE IN FEAR OF LOOSING CONTROL THRU SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERNET WOULD ACT THIS WAY! JE JE JE! THE COUNT IS OWN FOR THE DEMISE OF THE CASTRO DYNASTY/OLIGARCHY!

    NPR: Cuba Criticizes Twitter For Fidel Death Rumor

    HAVANA (AP) — State media on Wednesday accused the social networking site Twitter of helping spread a rumor that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro had died, and criticized anti-Castro expatriates it dubbed “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries” for jumping on the story.

    An article on the state-run Cubadebate Web site accused Twitter of allowing an account holder with the sign-on “Naroh” to start the rumor on Monday from an Italian server, then quickly deactivate the account.

    It said Twitter then helped spread the disinformation by allowing the hash tag “fidelcastro” to become a trending topic. It briefly became the fourth most popular in the world as it drew many more people to the subject.

    The site also accused Twitter of censoring subjects in the past that were in favor of the Cuban government.

    There was no immediate reaction from Twitter. Rumors that a celebrity or other public figure is dead are common on social media sites and can spread quickly because of their nature.

    Cubadebate also blamed anti-Castro expatriates anxious to see Castro’s demise for gleefully furthering the rumor, saying “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries, aided by some media, immediately started to party.”

    Castro, 85, turned power over to his brother Raul in 2006 during an illness that nearly killed him. He is officially retired, though he occasionally publishes opinion columns.

    In recent months, Castro has alluded to the limits of age, but has also taken pride in his longevity. Cuba boasts that along with besting the actuarial tables, the former Cuban leader has survived hundreds of assassination attempts at the hands of his enemies in the United States.

    Cubadebate noted that a false story about Castro’s demise was spread on the Internet and elsewhere back in August. On that occasion, there was even a computer virus embedded in a spam email titled “Fidel is Dead,” which featured a doctored, grainy photograph of the former Cuban leader that appeared to show him lying in a coffin.

    As usual, the Cuban government has declined to make any official comment about Castro’s health. But the former leader hasn’t been silent. On Dec. 31, he sent a get-well letter to a Cuban baseball star that was read over state television.

    Cubadebate on Wednesday reiterated a refrain it used the last time the Castro rumors began, saying that the latest hubbub was spread by “people inventing things in the virtual world that even the CIA could not accomplish in real life.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=144692164

  35. JE JE JE! THE CASTROFASICSTS HATE ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA! THEY CANNOT CONTROL IT! JE JE JE!

    HAVANA — Cuban media has criticized the social networking site Twitter for facilitating the spread of a rumor that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro had died.
    An article on the state-run Cubadebate Web site accused Twitter of allowing a user to start the rumor on Monday from an Italian server, then quickly deactivate the account used. It said Twitter aided in spreading the disinformation by allowing the hash tag “fidelcastro” to become a trending topic, which drew many more people to the subject.
    In Wednesday’s posting, Cubadebate also blamed anti-Castro expatriates, which it dubbed “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries” for jumping on the story.
    Castro, 85, turned power over to his brother Raul in 2006. Rumors of his death have abounded for years.

    http://www.ajc.com/business/cuba-criticizes-twitter-for-1289227.html

  36. Cuba Libre wins the prize for dumbest comment ever on Generation Y:

    “So you see, life in Cuba is like everywhere else in the world.”

    Actually, no, it isn’t. That’s the problem. Many other places have unfettered access to technology, which allows them to do things that the average Cuban could never do. If the restaurant “waiter/manager” who is really an engineer, didn’t like under the Cuban dictatorship, perhaps he could spoil his children and grandchildren without working himself to death. Or perhaps he would be free to travel around the world, a right denied to most Cubans.

    You admire Fidel Castro? That about says it all.

  37. THIS IS JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET TO FIX THE HOUSING PROBLEM IN CUBA! IF THE CASTROFASCISTS WOULD ALLOW THE CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA TO BE ABLE TO BUY HOMES AND FIX THEM UP I WOULD BE MORE HOPEFUL! HOW IRONIC THAT FOREIGNERS CAN BUY HOMES IN THE LAND WHERE I WAS BORN BUT PEOPLE LIKE ME CANNOT!

    WASHINGTON POST: Cuba to give citizens money to fix up, build homes-January 4
    HAVANA — Cuba is launching a plan to subsidize the construction and repair of private homes, an effort the communist government hopes will lead to better use of limited funds and stimulate private enterprise.

    Under the program, citizens will be eligible for as much as 80,000 Cuban pesos ($3,300) in aid to build a family home, though most will get far less.

    Those whose homes have been damaged by hurricanes or other natural disasters will get priority under the plan, which was published into law in the Official Gazette on Wednesday. Recipients of the subsidy will be required to demonstrate economic need, and all funds will be held in a state run bank account to ensure they are spent properly.

    Previously, the government would pay for home repairs without regard to the recipient’s economic situation in a program that was rife with corruption and inefficiency and contributed to a severe housing shortage on the island.

    “This is another step to eliminate unnecessary and excessive subsidies by compensating only those people who need them,” said the Communist Party daily Granma, which also reported on the changes.

    According to government statistics from 2005, the latest available, the island had a shortage of some 500,000 homes to meet the needs of its 11.2 million citizens. Yet in 2010, only 33,000 new homes were built, about two thirds of them by the state.

    The shortage has meant that many live in crowded multigenerational apartments that are crumbling from neglect. Even divorced couples often have trouble disentangling themselves, forced to cohabitate for years because there is nowhere else to go.

    The new plan is the latest in a raft of economic reforms enacted by President Raul Castro over the past year or so. The Cuban leader has legalized a real estate and used car market, and encouraged hundreds of thousands to go into business for themselves. The program comes on the heels of the government’s approval of bank loans for Cubans wishing to start a business or fix up their home.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/cuba-to-give-citizens-money-to-fix-up-build-homes/2012/01/04/gIQAjLeiaP_story.html

    TIME MAGAZINE : Cuban Homes for Sale in New Housing Law- Andrea Rodriguez Thursday, Nov. 10,

    Cuba’s housing crunch is acute. Many extended families are crammed into aging, decrepit houses and apartments that have been subdivided again and again to shelter more and more people. The government acknowledges a shortfall of around 500,000 homes, and some experts say it lacks as many as 1.6 million units of adequate housing.

    Economists caution not to expect too much, too soon. Much of the money for purchases is expected to come from exiles helping relatives back home, but some may be wary of investing while one of the Castros are in office. The exile community has also been hard hit by the economic recession, and may not have that much disposable income.

    “Maybe the expectations are a little overblown to the extent that the situation in South Florida, where most Cuban immigrants are, is not that great right now,” said Sergio Diaz-Briquets, a U.S.-based demography expert who has written about housing in Cuba.

    But Omar Everleny Perez, the lead economist at Havana University’s Center for Cuban Economic Studies, said in a recent interview that some Cubans do have the money: Bank accounts are concentrated among 13 percent of islanders who control 90 percent of the deposits, he said, and some are worth $160,000 to $200,000.

  38. Maybe in the new year people in Cuba will stop whining and complaining about their fate and instead take it upon themselves to make their lives better. In all the cities I have visited in Cuba I have always noticed 2 extremities. One you have the people snoozing in the shade in mid afternoon and start complaining about how little they have and how hard life is. Two, there are the ones dressed in the latest gear with Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses, Nike running shoes and cap, and brand new Tommy Hilfigger jeans and t-shirt.
    The first have their bottle of rum close by and loaf around all day living off what the government allows them each month. The second hustle their asses off trying to sell anything that would earn them some honest money and lots succeed in doing so. Some sell roasted peanuts, some sell flowers, some give you a bird made of palm leaves, and yes some sell you contraband cigars.
    On my last trip I met a man in his late fifties who worked as a waiter at the hotel I was staying at. I got to know him very well and became friends with him. I later found out that he was an engineer who had worked in Russia for his government and was now back in the town he came from. He had the choice of coming back or not, but he chose to come back because he loved his native town and country. Much to my surprise I later found out he was also a manager in charge of hiring people at the hotel. He didn`t have to work as a waiter. He did it cause the tips were good and he could spoil his children and grand-children.
    So you see, life in Cuba is like everywhere else in the world. Life is what you make it. Maybe in 2012 if all Cubans got together and participated to make life better instead of continuosly putting down their government life might be better.
    And to site a man I greatly admire as much as I admire Mr. Fidel Castro,
    “Don`t ask what your country can do for you, ask instead what you can do for your country.”

  39. UnSoricel said: “So Humbertino did you write any little thing about Vraclav Havel the guy who brought freedom and dignity back to his country but did not quite like capitalism as we have it? Oh no, you didn’t Humbertino, that would upset el comandante… everything should be about him after all!! and no positive lesson from others should be heeded as a model!”

    BUT I DID AMIGO!!! SEE PREVIOUS BLOG POST BY YOANI BELOW!

    The Federation of Cuban Women Can’t Reinvent Itself
    COMMENT # 9 – Humberto Capiro – Diciembre 18th, 2011 at 20:13

    REST IN PEACE Mr. Václav Havel !! YOU WERE A FRIEND TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE AND THE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY! YOUR LEGACY WILL ALWAYS SHINE, WHILE THE CASTROFASCISTS’ LEGACY IS A FALLING STAR!

  40. UnSoricel said: “So Humbertino did you write any little thing about Vraclav Havel the guy who brought freedom and dignity back to his country but did not quite like capitalism as we have it? Oh no, you didn’t Humbertino, that would upset el comandante… everything should be about him after all!! and no positive lesson from others should be heeded as a model!”

    BUT I DID AMIGO!!! SEE PREVIOUS BLOG POST BY YOANI BELOW!

    The Federation of Cuban Women Can’t Reinvent Itself
    COMMENT # 9 – Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@) – Diciembre 18th, 2011 at 20:13

    REST IN PEACE Mr. Václav Havel !! YOU WERE A FRIEND TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE AND THE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY! YOUR LEGACY WILL ALWAYS SHINE, WHILE THE CASTROFASCISTS’ LEGACY IS A FALLING STAR!

    http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy/?p=2798#comments

  41. THE CASTROFASCISTS ARE HOPING THAT THIS OIL PROJECT WILL ALLOW THEM MANY MORE YEARS OF POWER! IS VERY INTERESTING THAT THE BRAZILIANS PULLED OUT AND THAT THIS TYPE OF OIL IS MOST LIKELY LOW GRADE THAT TAKE LOTS OF ENERGY AND TIME TO REFINE JUST LIKE THAT OF VENEZUELA! THE CLOCK IS TICKING!

    UPI.COM : U.S. to monitor Cuban oil work – Jan. 4, 2012

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Coast Guard plan to inspect an oil rig leased by Spanish energy company Repsol in Cuban waters, an official said.
    Repsol last year announced plans to drill exploration wells in Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    A group of U.S. House of Representative lawmakers, all of Cuban descent, criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for not standing against Repsol’s plans, which they claim constitutes work “with a state sponsor of terrorism.”

    Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said a team was headed to Cuban waters to inspect the rig this week.

    “The inspection is being conducted to protect the interests of the United States,” she told the Platts news service.

    Michael Bromwich, former head of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said Washington had limited access to certain aspects of Repsol’s drilling program, however.

    Cuba is looking into cutting the amount of oil it imports from Venezuela through development of offshore reserves. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that, as of 2009, Cuba had less than 1 billion barrels of oil reserves.

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/01/04/US-to-monitor-Cuban-oil-work/UPI-90711325686019/?spt=hs&or=er

    REUTERS: Brazil oil company Petrobras has relinquished Cuba oil block- official

    – Brazilian oil giant Petrobras (PETR4.SA) has withdrawn from an offshore oil exploration block in Cuba’s waters that it leased amid great fanfare in 2008, a Brazilian official said Thursday, citing poor prospects.
    Marco Aurelio Garcia, foreign policy adviser to President Dilma Rousseff, told reporters exploratory work off Cuba’s northern coast did not “give results.”

    When asked if Petrobras had abandoned the block, he said: “Yes, that was already decided some time back. Petrobras withdrew from that (block). We’re sorry, but the truth is you have to work with tangible elements and there wasn’t any security of that in this block.”

    The decision appeared to be a blow to Communist-ruled Cuba’s hopes for an oil bonanza from still-untapped offshore fields it says hold 20 billion barrels of oil.

    But Spanish oil company Repsol YPF (REP.MC) is expected to bring a drilling rig to Cuba later this year to drill at least one exploratory well.

    The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated Cuba has about five billion barrels of oil offshore. (Reporting by Marc Frank, Jeff Franks; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

  42. UnSoricel !!! SO GLAD TO HAVE YOU BACK! HOW WAS YOUR HOLIDAYS? IM SAD THOUGH TO SEE THAT YOU HAVE NO REAL NAME AND PICTURE! I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION! WANTED TO SEE YOUR PRETTY FACE AND GOOGLE YOUR NAME TO SEE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN UP TO! NO MATTER, MAYBE NEXT YEAR! BUT AS FAR AS A PET NAME FOR ME YOU SHOULD NOT CALL ME “TOTO”, BEST CALL ME “TOLETE” , FOR ITS CURRENT POPULAR AND ORIGINAL MEANING ! JE JE JE!

    TOLETE MEANING: JE JE JE!

    Organo Viril : Canarias, Cuba, República Dominicana
    Garrote o bastón policial : Canarias, Cuba

  43. Humbertooooo? ..Humbertinooo?.. where are you mammy? still Castro’s press secretary you are?? oh yes of course, old habits die hard! So what’s the old ‘comandate’ paying you for the press monitoring to his name? We all know he loves to see his names in EL papers!…

    I’m back, and still no change though one dickTator less in the world. Same place same people same surreal debates over what size Castro brothers’ shoes are!? Do they wear underwear?? .. God you Cubanos are slow, man, or just plain masochists – you take your time with dictatorship!! I suppose Castro will die of boredom in the end!!!

    So Humbertino did you write any little thing about Vraclav Havel the guy who brought freedom and dignity back to his country but did not quite like capitalism as we have it? Oh no, you didn’t Humbertino, that would upset el comandante… everything should be about him after all!! and no positive lesson from others should be heeded as a model!

    Can I call you ToTo?

  44. ***
    Small steps now. A giant leap when the Castro Brothers die. Cuba Libre en 2012.
    ***
    Pasos chicos ahora. Un brinco gigante cuando mueran los Hermanos Castros. Free Cuba in 2012.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

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