The Jogging Class


Sunrise on 5th Avenue. The cars traveling fast and on the diplomatic license plates white letters stand out against a black background. The trees of the central promenade display their pruned leaves and the former Soviet embassy looks like an Excaliber stuck — without architectural pity — in Havana’s chest. It’s not hot yet, but some are already sweating as they run along the boulevard. Wearing Adidas, bottles of water, and white earbuds. A blue sky — but with a touch of exclusivity —  hangs over the largest sports area of the city, which begins just beyond the tunnel under the Almendares River. A race track for the social class that has already accumulated pounds, but that prefers to jog outdoors, not on a treadmill in the gym.

A meet-and-greet place that is also called the Avenue of the Americas, with its source of sirens at one end and its luxurious mansions on both sides. At that corner the retired colonel and the new corporation manager have just run into each other and talk about the weather, their children… how beautiful the morning is. Here comes an official’s daughter, with a childhood friend with whom she shared games and barbecues. Also, just crossing the street — carefully — the white-bearded poet with his purebred dog. And the actress who has returned from touring Europe joins the early morning calorie-burning procession. Because by ten in the morning the sun will want to offer them a free sauna, and none of them will be outside any longer.

Compared to the rest of Cuba, 5th Avenue stands as a rarity. And not because such urban beauty is scarce on this Island, not at all, because even the destroyed mansions of Central Havana maintain some of their former beauty. What is strange is this case is not the perfectly trimmed trees, the intact white granite benches, or the mansions with fences and gardens, but the people themselves.  The most anomalous thing that strikes the eye is the behavior of these passersby who jog or walk their pets. There is a touch of comfort in them, an attention to their bodies and attire, a tranquility derived from the lack of daily annoyances. They are like some caricature of the bourgeoisie that official discourse tried to make us hate from the time we were little. But, there they are, with their relaxed trot, their athletic clothes, and those extra pounds gained through privilege that the diversion of resources or power have given them, behind our backs, and on our backs.

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177 thoughts on “The Jogging Class

  1. So, where are the answers on my questions the team “yoani”?

    Still scared to death to answer my questions?

    No surprise there.

  2. GUESS THE CASTROFASCISTS AGENTS ARE TRYING A NEW TACTIC! A TOUCHY-FEELY APPROACH SPAM! GUESS IS WORTH A SHOT, THEY HAVE TRIED MANY WAYS BUT FAILED TO CAUSE DISRUPTION AND TO TAKE DIALOGUE IN THIS BLOG SECTION IN OTHER DIRECTIONS!

  3. I WONDER IF THE EVERYDAY CUBAN WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY GOLF IN THIS FACILITY! JE JE JE! MAYBE THEY CAN PAY IN PESOS?? MAYBE THEY CAN GET THE CLUBS ALSO FOR LESS THAN $20? OR MAYBE THEY CAN ALSO BUY SOME OF THAT REAL ESTATE FOR $20 PER MONTH?? VIVA EL COMUNISMO!!! VIVA!! JE JE JE! I MEANT CAPITALISM WITH A LOT OF OLIGARCHY THROWN IN COURTESY OF THE CASTROFASCIST FAMILY!
    YOUTUBE: Punta Colorada Cuba Golf Marina 3D 17 06 11

  4. Symbol of the key in Cuba’s coat of arms may be related to gate of west key,which was the island north of Cuba cllecting bones of dead bodies…and thedead body is put in a box,cube and is symbol of underworld,sunset…which rises,reborn in east like Mal-asia,Thai-land etc in South Asia where is the east gate…other key,silver,moon….and you find many towers there built too

  5. I assume Damir and Cube Libra are bona fide ignoramuses and Marxists, but can’t be sure of anything on the internet. I’d love to know what the orders are in Havana with regard to this site.

  6. John, he’s either doing it as a joke or following orders or both. he won’t stop. he’s been posting his graffiti here for years.

    Saboteurs of free speech like che/anton/viva, and the bona fide nutcases and ignoramuses like Damir and Cube Libra, make up Fidel’s army in the “battle of ideas”

    It would be fun if we could comment on one of their websites.

  7. How much more of this drug addled, incoherent nonsense do we have to get on this blog? Generation Y, Che, cut the crap and get off the site if you can’t write anything sensible, or in English.

  8. …in the new millenium the world will change as Obama said…
    Cuba flag is with the Y shape like generation Y or Yoani and many other Y..s
    Cuba is like a cubic shape stone…but for what rituals…sacrifices…or is a corner stone…or a capstone…so what is going to open in Cuba…some 3 dimension or stargate….and aliens will land or what?…Some revelation will take place maybe

  9. VIA TWITTER OF @OLPL Orlando Luis Pardo
    +Rocker Gorki Aguila and graffiti artist El Sexto arrested in Havana Saturday 11pm in full view
    + Gorky resisted the attack and wanted to fight in self defense and yelled his civilianattacker shouting: DOWN WITH FIDEL & STOOL PIGEON
    + A man assaulted Gorky in his building today and warned him that HE WOULD MESS HIM UP if he continued with his provocations. Gorky resisted …
    + Porno Para Ricardo suffered threats and asaults all day Saturday 25 so they would stop their provocations q, it was at the home of musicians Renay and Gorky.
    + URGENT! Gorki Aguila of Porno Para Ricardo arrested and graffiti artist El Sexto in middle of street G, Vedado, about 11pm by mob @ idolidiadaria
    + URGENT! Arrested musician Gorki Aguila of Porno Para Ricardo and graffiti artist El Sexto in middle of street G, Vedado, about 11pm, by civil mob.

    +Gorki y El Sexto arrestados en plena Habana sabado 11pm
    +Gorki se resistio del ataque a traicion y quiso fajarse en legitima defensa y ofendio a su agresor de civil y grito: CHIVATON y ABAJO FIDEL
    +A Gorky lo asalto un hombre hoy en su edificio y le advirtio QUE LO IBAN A DESPINGAR si seguia filmando provocaciones. Gorki se resistio…
    +Porno Para Ricardo sufrio todo el sabado 25 amenazas y asaltos para q dejaran las provocaciones, fue en casa de musicos Renay y de Gorki.
    +URGENTE! Arrestados Gorki Aguila d Porno Para Ricardo y grafitero El Sexto en plena calle G, Vedado, sobre 11pm por turba @idolidiadaria
    +URGENTE!!! Arrestados musico Gorki Aguila de Porno Para Ricardo y grafitero El Sexto en plena calle G, Vedado, sobre 11pm, por turba civil.

  10. Obama signs with sun …rising or setting…had been copied the Cuba’s coats of arms to show they are friends….but why on top of the russian tower…stick buildingis not a hat…like the santa claus…red like mushroom or p..head?

    Similar erected …p..towers,pillars…are build everywhere in this sex mentallity planet…but why?

  11. HAY DIOS MIO QUE GENTE TAN BOBA!! YEAH, THAT MEANS YOU CHE!

    The area associated with Cuba has been lived on in excess of thousands of years through Amerindian peoples the Taíno and Ciboney. The actual Taíno had been considered to be mainly farmers while the Ciboney had been hunter-gatherers. The actual name Cuba actually is derived from the Taíno word cubanacán, which means “a central place”.
    http://www.cubano1.com/category/history/

  12. Cuba is an island 11,000+ sq.m with a popullation 11+ mill. = 11:11
    and has a jacobin-freemasonic coat of arms simmilar as in the russian tower in Havana…united sticks with one up or top of tower…pyramid…lighthouse

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coat_of_Arms_of_Cuba.svg

    cuba means cupola or top head,hat,dom…and comes from jews-arabs of Spain (sun,water,two mountains,key,jujuba tree) and also relate with word cubit as arm measure=52,3-9 cm (1959-2012) and it is related with measures between sun-earth-mars,roal cubit and is related with Platos cub=6 squares,8 corners,12 lines where w8th centre creates doublecross,stars; 6 and 8,14… and 3 dimensions like cube shape of the pyramide stones,tablets,ark,,room etc

  13. Griffin, what I meant is the last thing they want want is honest open government, which is why I put Canada or Chile in last place. Far from perfect, but still less corrupt than Russia or China.

    Yes, it’s all about power. I hope there are enough honest people in Cuba to prevent the worst. The dissident movement gives Cuba hope.

  14. The falling Old Tree…full info and story is here;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life\

    and maybe has to do also somehow with the Christ’s Thorn Jujube trees;
    The Christ’s Thorn Jujube is considered a sacred tree in Israel. When the tree reaches its 40 th year, the saints sit under it; therefore, the saints will destroy anyone who dares to cut down the tree or one of its branches.Here some info;

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1277088/

  15. Help,

    Um… rather than Canada? How does Canada fit in a list with Chile, Russia and China? Chile was only briefly with a Marxist govt, but Canada never was.

    Castro wants to transition from a Stalinist past to a stable oligarchy like China. Russia was the lesson on what not to do. The Castro regime is struggling to find a way to keep the game rolling, keep the perks & privileges coming, but not risk loosing power. Never loose power!

    They never believed in the “Revolution”!as anything
    More than a path to power.

    Power. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about.

  16. Cuba is now a colony of Spain again and so is all south America as North America and the Common Wealth are all the colonies of England. EU is run by the kiss of the German-France connection so this trio of the main European powers run together in the west united with all their colonies for 300 years…
    Communism was used like another opposite hand of putting in the net all colonies.

    What about Russia and China? They are also financed and used to colonize the rest of the world where now the main world powers and all their satellite colonies as a flock of ship are returning home…which is Rome,but not the old small empire but the big world empire…And the story ends here and this was the story of the old world tree which did collapsed and the last thing to come out is the root which is the Middle East and Iran and that root will come out too so the tree is all down…fallen as Babylon;gone as old rainbow…The new one is coming or the Sun..!

  17. Griffin, I think the old days are over, not even Raul believes in them. And if he still does a bit, his fellow communists don’t and many want him gone.

    These modest reforms mean a lot more than people think, they mean socialism is completely finished in Cuba. The same small reforms were seen in East European countries before Gorbachev and in China right after Mao. They only seem small to us, they are huge to a hard-boiled communist like Fidel or Che or Mao.

    The only question concerning Raul is how he saves face and power while Cuba becomes capitalist. He probably prefers a future like China rather than Russia, and a future like Russia rather than Chile or Canada.

    If Raul is successful, he can still peddle his anti-Americanism to his Che-loving foreign admirers even if he becomes more capitalist than Walmart.

  18. Humberto,

    Good article. It lays out the threat to the Castro regime when Hugo bites it. This paragraph sticks out,

    But Cuban leader Raul Castro has been pushing modest free-market reforms and just opened the island’s waters to oil exploration. The Spanish oil company Repsol YPF began exploratory drilling last month but it would take at least three years to produce commercially viable crude if the drilling proves successful.

    First thing: they’re not free market reforms. As Prof. Betancourt explained, these are tightly controlled commercial exercises designed to capture foreign exchange for the regime.

    The second part about oil is very interesting. If the deposits pan out, Cuba will find somebody willing to invest in developing them. So the question will be: will the joint venture run smoothly and fund the regime survival, or will new found affluence destabilize the economy and drive a process of political liberalization, or will the cronies succumb to the temptation and fleece the foreign partners as they have before?

  19. EXCELLENT ARTICLE! WORTH THE READ!

    BOSTON GLOBE: Chavez’s beneficiaries gird for lost aid – By Frank Bajak

    LIMA, Peru—Millions who have never set foot in Venezuela have a stake in the physical and political survival of Hugo Chavez as the once-indefatigable leftist strongman submits to surgery in Cuba for removal of a tumor he says is likely malignant.

    Those most tied to Chavez’s fate inhabit Nicaragua and Cuba, which have received billions of dollars in gifts, long-term loans and cut-rate oil from Venezuela. Both countries have taken limited steps to soften the blow if Venezuelan aid were to end.
    Polls have shown Capriles within striking distance of Chavez, and political analysts say his chances of unseating Chavez are apt to improve if the 57-year-old president’s condition worsens.
    “I’m scared,” said Pedro Iglesias, a 72-year-old retiree living in gritty central Havana. “I don’t want to think of what could happen here if something bad happens to Chavez. It would be terrible for us.”
    The communist Caribbean island nation depends on Venezuela for two-thirds of its oil, analysts say, and cash flow from Venezuela for services such as doctors and sports trainers amounts to some $5 billion a year. That accounted for about 15 percent of Cuba’s economy in 2008, the last year the island nation published figures.
    Without the aid, Cuba might need to severely tighten food rationing and suffer through lengthy power outages as it did two decades ago during the “Special Period” after the dissolution of its previous patron, the Soviet Union.
    Cuban officials have refused to comment on how they would adjust to an end in Venezuelan assistance.
    But Cuban leader Raul Castro has been pushing modest free-market reforms and just opened the island’s waters to oil exploration. The Spanish oil company Repsol YPF began exploratory drilling last month but it would take at least three years to produce commercially viable crude if the drilling proves successful.
    Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank, said Cuba’s reforms “are in part an effort to anticipate a possible reduction or cutoff.”
    “The Cuban government is very well aware of the risks that their economy faces with the loss of Venezuela,” Pinon said.
    “Cuba’s government is in Chavez’s pocket,” tweeted famously gutsy Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez on Friday as Venezuela’s president flew to the island. “There’s speculation here of a possible second Special Period if Chavez’s health worsens.”
    Pinon said it would be “catastrophic” for Cuba if it were forced to pay market prices for oil because the island would have to cut back on food imports. Cuba imports about 70 percent of its food.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE

    http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2012/02

  20. WHY CUBA REMAINED A COLONY WHILE LATIN AMERICA BECAME INDEPENDENT: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CURRENT ‘TRANSITION’.
    by Roger Betancourt

    Summing up, Cuba is again at a critical historical juncture. In this one the current economic situation is forcing the introduction of significant reforms that improve civil liberties associated with economic activities without much change in political rights. Prospects of an oil bonanza materializing in the next few years, however, lessen the need for further economic reforms and increase the incentives to repress political rights.

    Racial differences provide a persistent social cleavage accentuated by a more recent one between the Diaspora and the non-Diaspora. Ironically, blacks are likely to feature prominently in the leadership of a move toward a democratic market economy. Unfortunately, incentives toward remaining a nondemocratic ‘mixed’ market economy suggest that this path toward ameliorating racial discrimination is unlikely to arise out of the current ‘transition’.

    Meanwhile the antagonistic special relation with the US provides a convenient setting for evolving to a nondemocratic ‘mixed’ market economy. Just as it happened 200 years ago, the choices made at this critical juncture are likely to affect outcomes long afterwards. In the current juncture, however, one notable outcome of the joint operation of these three factors is delay in the enjoyment of the political rights and civil liberties associated with democracy by Cuban citizens. (Ibid., 20-21).

    http://www.lcbackerblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/roger-betancourt-on-psychology-of.html

  21. ANother quote front he paper by Betancourt, (see link below in Humberto’s post):

    Cuba’s economic ‘reforms’ are at a standstill or in clear retrogression and so are the economic
    benefits that the majority of the population could derive from economic reforms. This outcome is not an accident, but the result of a conscious attempt by the Cuban leadership to maintain absolute political control. It seems to have two basic policies in the economic realm. One is adopting economic mechanisms that yield control of foreign exchange for the leadership, which allows them to buy the support of the elite that makes-up its power base and throw some crumbs to the rest (in dissident circles the crumbs are known as la jabita, la merienda and la propina). The other one is rejecting mechanisms that provide permanent and independent access to wealth creation for anyone that is not a member of the nomenclature, and even to some who think they are members. The end of February
    1999 brought us a law, promulgated by the Cuban government, designed to eliminate the little political space that existed for internal dissent. Not surprisingly this law, which is known in Cuba as “La Ley Mordaza”, played a role in leading to the recent condemnation of Cuba’s human rights violations by the UN.

  22. FORGOT WHICH OF THE ALIAS/AGENTS/APOLOGISTS COMMENTED THAT THERE WERE NO MORE BALSEROS IMMIGRATING FROM CUBA! PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING!

    HERALD TRIBUNE: Coast Guard repatriates 13 Cuban migrants – Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.

    KEY WEST, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard has repatriated 13 Cuban migrants who were intercepted south of Key West.

    Coast Guard officials say the group was taken Friday to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba. They were initially spotted in a boat by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft on Sunday.

    A Coast Guard boat took the migrants on board. They were later transferred to the cutter Nantucket to be returned to Cuba. They were given food, water and basic medical care.

    Under U.S. policy, most Cubans who make it to dry land are permitted to remain. Those intercepted at sea are generally returned to Cuba.

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120225/APN/1202250648

  23. Humberto,

    That is an excellent paper on the role & scope of economic reforms in Cuba. The analysis is dead on: the limited reforms are not aimed at liberalizing the economy, but at fleecing gullible foreign investors.

    Given the fact the Cuban Army holding company is now the largest corporation on the island, with their fingers in every pot, the purpose of the “reforms” is regime survival.

  24. Help, it does seem that “anton/Che/generation y” are one & the same person. These several names all write the same sort of comments, with run on sentences and nutty ideas and obsessions. And that’s the key right there: the compulsive flood of speech and magical thinking are hallmarks of a manic episode. They ought to take their meds and leave this blog alone.

    From now on, I will scroll over those comments and stick to the topic. I suggest other serious commenters do the same.

  25. Yoani is the best and must be loved and respected..not stoned or beaten.
    The problem is not embargo,the outsiders…but insiders; lazyness,parasites,hypocrites

    There are few peasents who work hard in Cuba and the rest of 11 millions do nothing but sit,dance,sleep somewhere in an office,shop or in the army and is paid doing nothing…and that eat the country from inside as a cancer…destroy Cuba.

    The conclusion is that both systems communism or socialism and capitalism are cancers who destroy the humanity…where only 10 % work,but the rest are lazy,useless eaters…doing nothing.They just eat the fruits and the tree as all parasites do…and they are against the tree blooming and disifecting, saving it

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