I Pity the Fallen Bureaucrats

figura_con_paraguasI don’t feel sorry for the fallen bourgeois.
And when I think they will make me feel sorry,
I clench my teeth and close my eyes.
Nicolás Guillén

I hadn’t seen him for years. Almost five years. We had gone to the movies together when I was seventeen and they were showing the film “JFK” on the big screen at the Yara. The first notes from his guitar sounded in the living room of our house, on a day I still remember. He evoked, also, collecting cigarette butts off the floor in those hard years to make a cigarettes wrapped in the fine paper from the phone book. We laughed, because even though those were times of scarcity – great scarcity – we had the luxury of forming part of an incredible group of friends, all creative, supportive… rebels. Later our roads diverged, as so often happens. His father was well placed in the power structure, and the family didn’t want anything to do with those “crazy protestors on the 14th floor.” The last time we met he was driving a new model car and was already living in Vedado.

A few days ago he called. Affable and affectionate as ever, he tried to approach, with words, a friendship that distance and lack of contact had weakened. He said his father had been ousted in one of the anti-corruption purges. They didn’t put him in jail, but they made him retire early before ending up in court. The whole network of favors, influence and relationships cultivated over years of rubbing shoulders with officials and ambassadors, collapsed. Someone who had been a confident man fell into an emotional crisis, some neighbors stopped greeting him, and his colleagues at the Ministry turned their backs. He went from being the star on his Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, to being a target of control by its chief of surveillance.

As if that wasn’t enough disgrace, our old friend told us that in this midst of all this turmoil his father had been diagnosed with cancer. Now he’s in treatment and “has to stand in line for chemotherapy like any other patient… no privileges now,” the voice on the phone confirmed. He barely has enough money for gas and his wife has all of a sudden grown old. I felt badly for his family, sad, but I reflected that now they themselves are experiencing – and for very different reasons – what those “crazies on the 14th floor” have suffered for years. The stigmatization, the look over the shoulder, the caustic laugh of the informers, the helplessness. All that aside, I confess that I pity the fallen bureaucrats.

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20 thoughts on “I Pity the Fallen Bureaucrats

  1. Here’s a bit of R E A L I T Y from Cuba:

    Oh. look!!! The markets are full of food, people are fell feed and look all these new and flashy cars. Is THAT the REAL CUBA?

    We thought the team “yoani” said, they are starving, there’s no food and the only fruit are a few of imported oranges once in a while (the team “yoani” posted that lie about a year ago, claiming how Cubans LONG for a bit of fruit, and there’s no meat to buy anywhere)…!!!!

    More certification of their lying nature. Bunch of usanian terrorists and warmongering criminals.

  2. THIS ARTICLE IS MORE THOROUGH AND WRITTEN BY A CUBAN NOT A BRIT!

    HAVANA TIMES : The (Non) Right of Cubans to Travel -Haroldo Dilla Alfonso-February 1, 2010-
    The situation in Cuba concerning the freedom to travel is unfortunate. What I’m describing here is not for Cuban readers (who are all too familiar with this issue), but for those who are unaware of the matter and are forced to accept the information of those who close their eyes to this flagrant civil rights violation, a veritable wedge driven between the Cuban nation made up of both émigrés and those residing on the island.

    Above all, travel for Cubans is not a right, but a legal privilege. It is a condition that can be granted or rescinded. It is a revocable concession by an unappealable power and is without a defined judicial framework.

    In all cases, the departures of these people imply considerable fees that can end up in well excess of US $500, an immense sum for a population with exceedingly depressed wages that average $20 a month. In short, to leave, each person must be able to pay for a letter of invitation, a passport and an exit permit.

    On top of this, once in the destination country, the traveler must make payments to the Cuban embassy in that country a sum that varies each month they remain in that country, which is a highly uncustomary practice. This sum fluctuates between $40 and $150 a month.

    There are no laws or clearly written regulations covering these processes; rather, there are arbitrary and discretionary practices that mix starkly fascist reins of political control with mercurial motivations of the worst kind. In this way, the Cuban government denies a right that it alternately sells to those who can afford it.

    But we must pay them, and pay them well, so they can continue reproducing their power with the same parasitic style they’ve displayed over the last fifty years.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=18972

  3. THE TITLE SHOULD BE SHOULD BE “LEAVING THE ISLAND PRISON OF CUBA”!

    BBC NEWS: Leaving Cuba: The difficult task of exiting the island – By Sarah Rainsford

    Cubans need permission to leave their island. And if they stay away too long, they can’t come back.

    A year ago, President Raul Castro pledged to “update” the country’s migration laws and allow freedom of movement. So far, the restrictions remain in place.

    But as parliament prepares for the first of two annual sessions on Monday, Cubans are daring to hope that change might finally be imminent.

    In Havana, they form long queues every morning outside the city’s emigration offices. Clutching bundles of documents and photographs, many arrive well before the gates open at 08:00 to ensure an appointment.

    The official noticeboard in the grounds of the Vedado district office is covered in yellow papers, detailing the many rules and regulations.

    Would-be travellers need a letter of invitation from the person they want to visit (fee: $200, £128) and permission to leave their place of work. For graduate professionals, that means a letter signed by a minister. They also need $150 for the exit permit, more than seven times the average monthly salary.

    Government critics can be refused permission to travel. Highly-valued professionals, like doctors, face extra restrictions.

    Reform hopes
    “As far as I know, Cuba is the only country with these rules. They shouldn’t exist,” argues Yenier Prado, who had to wait four months to get his exit permit.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18933175

  4. Another sign the cia and their inside traitors and terrorists are running out of lies to post!!!!!

    Rediculous alredy thy are, but this is one of the best signs the team “yoani” are well and truly down and out. The defeat screams from the very title “I pity the fallen bureaucrats”.

    The team “yoani” have for a few years been looking for a good issue, for a ‘golden bullet”-type of a post that would make them even just a fractionally relevant, yet the wanted and sought issue, and the post, just kept evading them.

    And this one above is no different either.

    What to expect when your whole life and existence is built on lies that someone else told you to believe in!!!!???

    One day the team “yoani” want a “some kind of pragmatic capitlaims” in Cuba, the next they complain about foreigners “taking over the businesses”. One day these same foreigners are their white “gods” who do, and should, drink Cuban coffee, while smoking Cuban cigars and having their way with Cuban women, the next the foreigners are “privileged” and a “menace” to Cuban people!!!!!!

    And all this panic and fray among the few and far inbetween people, who still support this team of traitors and terrorists who should taste some of their own “some kind of pragmatic capitalist democracy” and be taken to the firing squad as it is the practice in their white “gods'” own nazist gulag usa for treason and co-operation with foreign governments hell-bent on destroying the country, is summarised in this short and poorly conceived and written post.

    This imaginary person is first a loved friend, then a well-placed individual in the power structure, then a fallout from that structure, then a pitied fallen bureaucrat.

    Get a grip losers. Your lies are so st***d NO ONE BELIEVES them. Give us the name of this “person”!!! Who is that fake and imaginary “once a friend-now a fallen bureaucrat” who you once cared for and now pretend to pity.

    Just like the rest of your imaginary and impossible stories, this one lacks even the basic credibility.

    And given the authors, no credibility can EVER be established.

    Ergo, you are bunch of criminals, terrorists, traitors of your own country (if anyone of you actually IS a Cuban in the first place), and liars of the worst kind.

  5. FOX NEWS LATINO: Water treatment system in Cuba worries authorities – July 20, 2012

    The status of Cuba’s aging, inadequate water treatment system greatly concerns the National Hydraulic Resources Institute, or INRH, state television reported.

    INRH President Ines Maria Chapman referred to the matter in a report to the National Assembly.

    “A lot of problems have piled up that need fixing,” including the deterioration from years of exploiting the water system without adequate maintenance and a culture of “wastefulness” in the use of water, she told lawmakers.

    She also said that every year Cuba loses more than 1 billion cubic meters (35 billion cubic feet) of water through leaks in the aging mains and connections inside the home, and compared that volume with the capacity of Zaza Reservoir, the biggest on the island.

    With regard to the water system’s infrastructure, Chapman said that the nation currently has 240 reservoirs and 805 micro-dams, 16 large pumping stations, 2,416 aqueducts and more than 22,500 kilometers (14,000 miles) of pipelines.

    Water supply covers 94.5 percent of the population of 11.2 million inhabitants on the island, she said.

    She also said that the greatest water-supply problems exist in rural areas, where only 38.6 percent of the inhabitants are connected to the system.

    Chapman said that 6 percent of Cubans must get their water from cistern trucks, mainly due to the effects of drought and damage to pumps. EFE

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/07/20/water-treatment-system-in-cuba-worries-authorities/

  6. The Shoring up of Old Havana Extends to Vedado

    HAVANA TIMES — The shoring up of buildings for years while waiting some construction miracle to return them to their former glory was a procedure that was first put in use by the revolutionary government in the early 1970s in the Old Havana district.

    The leaders of the Revolution were so busy constructing socialism that they barely had time to establish a culture in which they returned the elegance of a cornice or prevented the deterioration of a grand capital city.

    It was not until 1994 that the Office of the Historian of the City became operational. This is an institution led by Eusebio Leal which has been operating as a legal entity almost independent of the Cuban government.

    This lack of maintenance has resulted in the existence of dozens of braced buildings in Vedado. The worst part of this is that almost all are occupied by residents waiting for a miracle, one that will allow them to move into a house in standard physical condition or, at least, to be away from their “home” when its collapse occurs – which apparently is the fate of “buildings” in which they live.

    The shoring up of numerous buildings shown here evidences itself as an inescapable reality, the arrival of bracing has come to the most important residential area of Havana: Vedado.

    Another heroic achievement of the Revolution! After 53 years, they have recognized the need to shore up the crumbling buildings the people are forced to live in. Next up: repairs! When they get around to it.

  7. Is this a sign? I think this is a sign…

    After decades, Cuban crocodiles born at DC Zoo

    Two endangered Cuban crocodiles have hatched at the National Zoo in Washington.

    The hatchings are considered genetically valuable because their mother, Dorothy, was caught in the wild. Dorothy is thought to be 55 years old and zookeepers figured she had stopped laying eggs years ago.

    But when they discovered she had laid eggs, they took great care to incubate them for months. Only two of the eggs hatched successfully, the first Cuban crocs to do so at the zoo in nearly 25 years.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/20/2904291/after-decades-cuban-crocodiles.html#storylink=cpy

  8. CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Steep hike in customs fees leaves many Cubans fuming – Marc Frank – July 19, 2012

    HAVANA (Reuters) – A sharp increase in customs duties has angered many Cubans and cast a shadow over market-oriented reforms on the communist-ruled island advocated by President Raul Castro. The move, which raises fees many times over in some cases, is expected to ratchet up prices and decrease the availability of imported merchandise. It also threaten to bankrupt some of the tens of thousands of mom-and-pop businesses that have sprung up in recent years. This always happens. Every time there is an opening for any kind of business they look for a way to close it,” she said in a telephone interview.

    SHORT-SIGHTED

    Economist Juan Triana, during his weekly Thursday spot on Cuba’s Radio Taino, termed the measure “short-sighted.For a few months customs revenues may increase, but in the long-term I think they will decrease,” he said.Triana said the new duties would “drastically reduce the availability of goods and increase prices for a population “that is already hard-pressed to make ends meet.The new duties not only increase fees but also stipulate Cubans traveling abroad more than once a year will have to pay them in a local dollar equivalent called the Convertible Peso (CUC), worth 24 times the pesos they earn from the state.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-19/news/sns-rt-us-cuba-customsbre86i1g8-20120719_1_customs-duties-steep-hike-cubans

  9. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: ‘Roberto’ and other tales of the Cuban economy – Ask any self-employed Cuban how she came to possess the goods she’s selling, and she might tell you they came from ‘Roberto,’ a euphemism indicating the goods are stolen, writes a guest blogger. – By Melissa Lockhart Fortner

    Ask a self-employed Cuban how she came to possess the goods she is selling, and she might tell you that they came from “Roberto.”

    The euphemism indicates that the goods are stolen, and given the scarcity of many products and the unreliability of state retail stores in Cuba, many new entrepreneurs in Cuba are struggling to cobble together their businesses and turning to alternative – and under-the-table – economic strategies. In fact, the channel of goods coming into the country from family, friends, and mules is estimated to have ballooned recently to more than $1 billion per year. This should be no surprise to the state, since Cubans lack access to a wholesale market by design. But these informal imports, currently running under the radar, are about to face a 100 percent tax that will go into effect in September.

    Related: Think you know Latin America? Take our geography quiz!

    In the course of the ongoing economic overhaul by the Cuban state, new challenges are indeed arising every step of the way. The path in this case is easy to trace.

    The Cuban government lays off workers from the public sector in order to eliminate its inefficiencies and encourage a private sector to develop.
    The country does not have the mechanisms to support a new private sector, however, so those new entrepreneurs are forced to get creative. They start acquiring more goods through informal channels in order to maintain their supply.
    In this (true) scenario, the Cuban state misses out on any kind of revenue from those “imports”. So the government slaps a 100 percent tax on this kind of trade, which looks more like an effort to stifle the informal trade altogether than an attempt to get in on the spoils.

    The problem is that Cuban small business owners will be left in a lurch if this is not coupled with the natural counterweight policy – that is, creating a clear way for entrepreneurs to get the goods they need through official channels – which would allow the Cuban state to earn some revenue from the private sector trade while still generating viable conditions for small businesses in the private sector to operate.

    I suspect that sounds too much like capitalism.

    But with 387,000 Cubans now self-employed (out of a total island population of 11 million) and a state goal to add another 240,000 private-sector jobs this year, policies that make the lives of private sector entrepreneurs and employees more difficult seem counterintuitive.

    The Cuban National Assembly is set to meet on Monday. Here’s hoping we see a good plan.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2012/0720/Roberto-and-other-tales-of-the-Cuban-economy

  10. RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE: Cuban rock: protest with limits – By Sergio Acosta -July 19, 2012

    From Porno para Ricardo to Extraño Corazón: New groups have emerged in recent years whose rebel music is a step too far for the authorities. Banned from performing in public, they make use of the internet to spread their sound. Gorki Águila and his group Porno para Ricardo (Pornography for Ricardo) are probably the best known example. Borges Triana believes the regime will not be prepared to accept Porno para Ricardo any time soon. “Gorki Águila’s group is very interesting,” he says, “because his music is extremely sexual and his lyrics are very erotic. His music is punk and this genre has always been very irreverent, offensive and countercultural”. The group steadily became more and more radical and openly opposes the Cuban political system but, “in Cuba, there’s no space for political dissident, even less so for dissidents who say the whole system is rotten.”

    Rock music has always been a vehicle to express social and political rebellion, and that’s also true in Cuba. Cuban rockers do have to tailor their rebellion to stay inside the limits of what the authorities will accept, but those limits are surprisingly flexible.

    “I believe rock musicians chronicle what is going on in society,” says Javier Rodríguez, whose band Extraño Corazón (Strange Heart), founded in 1992, is one of Cuba’s most popular. Rodríguez claims that music can express love as well as hatred, and can also be “a way of expressing opposition to things that are happening in society. In our music, we voice the feelings of thousands of young people.”

    Changing attitudes
    Rock music was heavily censored and restricted in the 1960s and 70s, but musicians continued to perform underground. It wasn’t until the 60s’ generation had matured that the regime was prepared to authorise performance spaces for them. Rock and jazz were seen as anti-revolutionary expressions of Anglo-Saxon culture according to journalist and Cuban music critic Joaquín Borges Triana, “At the beginning of the revolution, people viewed them as ideological expressions that were harmful to the revolutionary process. In the 1980s, when the revolution was well and truly established, the authorities opened up the rock scene. This is also when the new generation that had been born in the 60s burst on the scene.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/cuban-rock-protest-limits

  11. WATCH OUT FOR OUR LITTLE CUBANITO-AMERICANO GYMNAST DANELL LEYVA AT THE UPOMING OLYMPICS IN LONDON & SEE HIM KICK “BUMS” AT THE U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS AT THE LINK BELOW! FIDEL IS SOOO JEALOUS HE DOES NOT HAVE HIM ON HIS TEAM! JE JE JE! SUFREEEE MOMIA!!!!!

    YOUTUBE: Danell Leyva 2012 USA Gymnastics Trials – Key routines from the 2012 USA Gymnastics Trials.

    Danell Leyva (born Danell Leyva Gonzalez on October 30, 1991 in Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba) is a Cuban-American gymnast. He is the 2011 U.S national all-around gold medalist and the 2011 world champion on the parallel bars.
    Not only a good all-arounder, he is known to be a specialist on Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar, having his own signature move (jam-dislocate-hop to undergrips) on the latter. He is also famous for the theatrics of his coach/stepfather during routines Leyva is competing.
    He has a sister, Dayanis Mesa, who is a Spanish television host.[1]His stepfather and coach, Yin Alvarez and mother, Maria Gonzalez (his biological father, Johann Leyva, lives in Spain), were both members of Cuba’s national gymnastics team. Gonzalez and Leyva defected to Miami when Leyva was a year old.[2]. Alvarez defected by swimming across the Rio Grande to the United States while his team was competing in Mexico. Together, Alvarez and Gonzalez opened a gym in Miami several years later, and they married in 2001.[3]

  12. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: URGENT ACTION-PROTESTERS DETAINED WITHOUT CHARGE
    Ladies in White Niurka Luque Álvarez and Sonia Garro Alfonso, and Sonia’s husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, are believed to have been detained without charge since March.

    On 17 March in the Cuban capital, Havana, the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) were demonstrating peacefully to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 crackdown on dissidents, when 18 of them were arrested and taken to police stations across the city. All but Niurka Luque Álvarez, were released a few hours later.

    The following day, Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, and her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, were arrested at their home in Havana: around 50 police forced their way into the house and fired rubber bullets at them. According to her sister, Sonia Garro Alfonso was wounded in the foot by one of these bullets.

    Since then the two women have been sent to various detention centres, and are now held in Guatao women’s prison in the outskirts of Havana. Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González is being held in Havana’s Combinado del Este prison. Both women are reported to be in poor health. Sonia Garro Alfonso was suffering a kidney problem before her arrest that may require surgery. According to her daughter, Niurka Luque Álvarez regularly suffers epileptic fits. The women are allowed visits every week, and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González every two weeks.

    Although all three have access to a lawyer, it is not clear what they have been charged with. Relatives told Amnesty International that the authorities have accused Sonia Garro Alfonso of attempted murder and public
    disorder, but none of them has been formally charged. They have yet to be told if or when they will be put on trial. They think they were arrested because of the visit of the Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba in March 2012 and their activism with the Ladies in White, and that it is intended to intimidate other government critics.

    Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
    1. Calling on the authorities to charge Niurka Luque Álvarez, Sonia Garro Alfonso and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González with internationally recognizable criminal offences or release them immediately;
    2. Asking them to ensure that anyone charged is given a fair trial in compliance with international standards;
    3. Urging them to cease immediately the harassment and intimidation of Ladies in White and other citizens who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.

    PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 AUGUST 2012 TO:

    CLICK LINK FOR WHERE AND TO WHOM THE APPEALS SHOULD BE SENT TO!

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/018/2012/en/2a5df867-39a5-4c7f-8579-70ef73869cce/amr250182012en.pdf

  13. THE HIGHEST COSTS OF TRAVEL PER AVERAGE SALARY PROBABLY IN THE WORLD! THIS CASTROFASCIST MAFIA OLIGARCHY SHOULD POINT THE FINGERS TOWARDS THEMSELVES WHEN THEY ACCUSE CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA AS A “MAFIA”!!

    HAVANA TIMES: Cuba-Travel: Conforming with the Possibility – Dariela Aquique

    For Cubans, traveling (like many other things) is only a possibility. Possibility is the ability or the option to doing something possible. It indicates a circumstance that may occur, but doubt is implied. Possibility and probability are synonymous to the degree that they both contain uncertainty.As we know, Cuban immigration laws have been atypical for half a century. The requirements that a Cuban who wants to travel must meet are onerous. These include:

    1 – receiving a mandatory letter of invitation, the price is between 150 and 200 convertible pesos (CUCs), in the equivalent amount in US dollars or euros. [100 CUCs is roughly $110 USD]

    2 – obtaining a passport, costing about 55 CUCs.

    3 – requesting permission to leave (the “carte blanche”), which costs 150 CUC.

    4 – paying for a medical checkup (in cases of permanent relocation outside of the country, especially in the US), which costs around 400 CUCs.

    5 – paying the departure tax or “pase a bordo” (which must be paid at the airport) 25 CUCs.

    These are only the requirements of the Office of Immigration (Oficina de Inmigracion y Extranjeria); which are added to other requirements and other costs (such as certifications of birth, marriage, divorce, criminal background checks, military discharge, documents from the Office of Housing, etc.), with each case according to the proposed type of travel, whether temporary or permanent.

    Usually the processing time of the bureaucratic paperwork takes longer than it should, forcing Cubans who are eager to travel to come up with certain monetary “gifts” for the employees of these offices in order to expedite the processing. The final approval, whether this is to visit relatives or tourism, is subject to the discretion of the immigration authorities – meaning that their response is not always positive.

    The government claims to be working on the relaxation of the current immigration policy that prevents citizens from freely leaving the island. However, nothing concrete has been proposed with respect to this, despite this being one of the reforms most wanted by the population.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=74639

  14. In Cuba, journalists working for state media are also bureaucrats. The story of the former Granma journalist is an interesting bookend to Yoani’s post.

  15. I pity the poor bureaucrat
    Who sold his soul to the State
    Who believed that this transaction would
    Permit him to insulate
    That the State would protect and nurture him
    And guarantee privilege
    Not realizing that it also could
    Nudge him over the edge

    I pity the poor bureaucrat
    Bereft now of his power
    Who’s now upon the other side
    Of the State’s ivory tower
    Who must now forage from trash cans
    Like other citizens
    And not receive a sure reward
    For his intelligence

    I pity the poor bureaucrat
    Whose pride’s been ground to dust
    Who gloried in “because I can”
    And now does what he must
    Bereft of desk and rubber stamps
    He wanders through the night
    I pity the poor bureaucrat
    Who now mourns his lost might

    —not Bob Dylan, and not “I Pity the Poor Immigrant”

  16. THE CASTROFASCISTS HAVE TO ADMIT SOONER OR LATER THE REAL NUMBERS OF THIS CHOLERA EPIDEMIC. THEY CANNOT ESCAPE THE AGE OF INTERNET, INFORMATION, YOUTUBE, TWITTER ETC!

    JAMAICA OBSERVER: Cuba confirms cholera cases reach 170 – July 18, 2012
    HAVANA, Cuba (CMC) – Cuban health officials have confirmed 12 new cases of cholera, bringing the total to 170, with eight new suspected cases in the south-eastern province of Granma, where the epidemic reportedly began.

    Officials said three people have died in the outbreak that started about two weeks ago.

    Epidemiologist Ana Maria Batista said that 27 people were hospitalised over the weekend alone with diarrhoea and vomiting, the key symptoms of the disease.

    Batista said more general cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, which spike every summer with the rains and heat, rose from 5,680 on Saturday to 6,002 on Sunday.

    Deputy Director of Provincial Transportation José Mendoza González has advised residents to put off unnecessary travel in order to avoid spreading the disease.

    Cuban officials have repeatedly assured since early July that the cholera outbreak was under control and that the rising number of confirmed cases was because laboratories need a week or more to confirm a diagnosis of cholera.

    But dissidents and independent journalists have alleged that the cholera death toll stands at five to 15.

    They have also reported cholera cases in Havana, Santiago de Cuba and other parts of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island.

    Cuba’s Health Ministry said few cases have been reported outside of Granma, but noted that all were people who had been in the province.

    The ministry announcement was only the national government’s second comment on the epidemic since July 3, when it confirmed three deaths and 53 cases caused by the bacteria Vibrio Cholerae.

    Hundreds of Cuban doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are working in Haiti, where an outbreak of cholera has killed more than 7,000 people since 2010.

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cuba-confirms-cholera-cases-reach-170

  17. YOTUBE: CUBAN FILM : La muerte de un burócrata (Death of A Bureaucrat) – Spanish only

    The Cuban Death of A Bureaucrat involves the demise of an inventor, who had developed a machine to mass-produce statuettes of Cuban hero Jose Martin. Unfortunately, the inventor is buried with his union card in his pocket. Unable to collect any pension money without that card, the widow attempts to exhume the body. Her hands tied by red tape, the widow is forced to rob her husband’s grave. These morbid proceedings are treated as hilariously as any slapstick two-reeler or French bedroom farce by director Thomas Guttierez Alea. In tweaking the nose of Cuba’s bollixed-up government, Alea condemned his film to the censor’s scissors, though Death of A Bureaucrat was released intact outside of its own country. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, ( Dec. 11, 1928, Havana, Cuba— April 16, 1996, Havana), Cuban film director. After earning a law degree in Cuba, he studied filmmaking in Rome (1951–53). A supporter of Fidel Castro, he helped develop Cuba’s film industry after 1959 and made the Communist regime’s first official feature film, Stories of the Revolution (1960). Later he worked within the restrictions of the regime to satirize and explore various aspects of life in postrevolutionary Cuba in such internationally acclaimed films as Death of a Bureaucrat (1966), Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), The Survivors (1978), and Strawberry and Chocolate (1993).

  18. N.Y. TIMES: Regulators and HSBC Faulted in Report on Money Laundering – By NATHANIEL POPPER

    While HSBC is accused of moving money into the United States from North Korea and Cuba, the most extensive problems involved accounts in Iran. An independent audit, paid for by HSBC, found that the bank facilitated 25,000 questionable payments involving Iran between 2001 and 2007. In some cases, HSBC executives counseled Iranian financial institutions on how to evade the filters of American regulators, the report says.

    CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE & ORIGINAL PDF!

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/scathing-report-details-money-laundering-problems-at-hsbc/

    UNITED STATES SENATE: PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS – Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

    U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History – (b) Transactions Involving Cuba starts on p. 169

    Internal bank documents indicate that, from at least 2002 through 2007, HBUS processed
    potentially prohibited U.S. dollar transactions involving Cuba. HSBC affiliates in Latin
    America, in particular, had many Cuban clients and sought to execute transactions on their behalf
    in U.S. dollars, despite the longstanding, comprehensive U.S. sanctions program and the OFAC
    filter blocking such transactions.965
    In August 2005, a month after HSBC Group issued its new GCL policy barring HSBC
    affiliates from engaging in U.S. dollar transactions in violation of OFAC prohibitions, HBUS
    circulated an email identifying correspondent relationships that would be affected.966 The email
    stated: “An overriding observation is that the revised policy will most significantly impact the
    Cuban and Sudan correspondent bank relationships.” It also observed: “For Sudan and Cuba,
    most of our business is conducted in USD and the discussions already initiated with the affected
    banks will dictate the extent of our ongoing relationships.”967
    In September 2005, HSBC Group Compliance head David Bagley told HSBC Group
    CEO Stephen Green that they had closed “a number of USD correspondent relationships with
    Cuban … banks.”968 On October 3, 2005, Mr. Bagley sent an email to Matthew King, then head
    of HSBC Group Audit, that Mr. Green was “particularly concerned” about ensuring the 2005
    GCL was “properly and fully implemented across the Group.”969 Mr. Bagley asked Mr. King to
    use HSBC’s internal audits to help gauge compliance with the new GCL. Mr. King relayed the
    request to various HSBC auditors and, in response, learned from HSBC Mexico (HBMX)
    Compliance that the OFAC list had not been fully integrated into HBMX’s monitoring system
    and would not be for another six months, until April 2006.970 HBMX reported that, pending the
    systems integration, it had set up “manual controls” in several divisions to implement the new
    GCL, but “no automated means exists to ensure that these controls are properly being carried
    out.”971 HBMX explained further that its “greatest exposure” was “the volume of business
    historically carried out by HBMX customers with Cuba in US dollars.”972
    Mr. King responded that the HBMX transactions raised two sets of concerns, one with
    respect to the U.S. dollar transactions involving Cuba being run through HBMX’s correspondent
    account at HBUS, and the second with respect to non-U.S. dollar transactions being “transmitted
    through the HBUS TP gateway,” referring

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