Before the Revolution or During the Revolution?

Photo: Roberto Segre - Taken from vitruvius.com.br

Photo: Roberto Segre - Taken from vitruvius.com.br

The sign is small, peeking out with a certain timidity over the balcony wall several yards above ground. A simple “For Sale” that would go unnoticed if it weren’t that in the apartment next door you can read the same phrase painted on a window. Two floors higher, the neighbors on the 6th floor have been more creative and have hung a piece of acrylic where they include the square feet available, to motivate possible buyers. But the sellers won’t have it easy. The building is ugly, grey, one of those built in the eighties under the “microbrigade” system. Many who read the classified on websites — such as Revolico.com and Cubisima.com — on arriving at the building don’t even knock on the door, because they can see it is one of those behemoths of concrete and bad architectural taste that were constructed during the years of Soviet subsidies.

The variety and quantity of homes for sale seems to exceed the real capabilities of Cuban wallets right now. Many homes have quickly come on the housing market that was banned for decades and, despite the need for housing, lacks the main prerequisite: money to buy them. It’s amazing to see properties for sale for a quarter or a half million convertible pesos, in a country where the average salary doesn’t exceed 20 convertible pesos a month. Hence, the greatest movement in buying-and-selling is taking place in the cheapest homes, which are, therefore, smaller, in worse locations, and in poor repair. Meanwhile, in the luxury residence sector everything goes more slowly, down, at the level of a room in a tenement or an apartment without windows the movement is quite noticeable, especially for all those people in the interior of the country who are taking advantage of the opportunity to get themselves a home, even if it’s just a few square feet, in Havana.

What is also interesting is the stark and pragmatic assessment that is made of each home for sale. The ads have become sophisticated, accompanied by photos and favorable descriptions of the house’s “good water supply,” its magnificent location in a quiet neighborhood, or the possibilities to enlarge it and build on the roof. But there is one qualifier that no one neglects to add if their housing warrants it, and that is “capitalist construction,” if it was built before 1959. There is a clear parting of the waters and implacable divide between that built before the Revolution and that which has risen during it. If the apartment building is from the decades of the ‘40s or ‘50s the price soars, while those apartments built by the microbrigades*, who raised their prefabricated towers during the years of Sovietization, are relegated to an inferior level of offerings. The housing market brings out — with all its toughness — a scale of values that is far from the official discourse and that reassigns a new amount to everything, an objective yardstick for measuring quality.

*Translator’s note: Microbrigades: “Self-help housing” through assigning groups of people from each workplace to build large apartment houses. Yoani, her husband Reinaldo Escobar, and son Teo live in a microbrigade building erected by Reinaldo and others from his workplace.

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80 thoughts on “Before the Revolution or During the Revolution?

  1. a reply to anonimo. the green party presidential candidate was arrested at one of the debates. she has called the 2 main candidates whores. but in my opinion, black whores are better than white ones. obama will win and i predict that obama will win florida too. magic underwear has 40% of the latino vote. does anyone know if the servants at the romney fundraiser were latinos? the fundraiser where he was caught on camera saying that 47% of americans don´t pay taxes and are basically parasites after a free lunch. the american soldiers in afghanistan don´t pay taxes and get a free lunch. the jewish retirees in florida don´t pay taxes if they are dependent on social security and many get a free lunch from a charity. bruce springsteen is on the campaign trail for the working class vote. the iowa farmers like wind generator subsidies. obama will win iowa. the serving class in nevada will vote for obama. the cannabis vote will win colorado for obama. etc.

  2. a reply to john bibb who needs one. 1. john kennedy did not leave the white house because he did not believe that a nuclear war was going to happen. 2. it was pointed out in the oval office that cuba was about 800 miles long and mountainous. not a great country for a second, or third, invasion, especially as fidel castro had proven at playa giron that he was a pretty good self taught military commander. 3. krushchev got american missiles out of turkey when he withdrew soviet missiles from cuba. 4. soviet missiles in cuba were nikita´s idea, not fidel´s. 5. whatever the good and the bad of the castro regime, no country needs foreign domination or direction from the godfather of the mafia. 6. a few days before kennedy was shot he had decided to withdraw troops from vietnam. if kennedy had lived and continued on that course then vietnam would have been a better place even if dominated by marxist economists for awhile. the afghan war was round 2 of vietnam. the afghan war was a great idea, until the world trade center was a pile of rubble with dead and missing banksters. ¨the best laid plans of mice and men often gang astray.¨ robert burns.

  3. the bulgarians, like the spanish before them, are making money hand over fist by selling holiday houses and apartments to mostly brits with a cold climate but the food is not as bad as it used to be. i had a lady friend in habana who wanted me to buy her a house but i have no idea of prices. does anyone know the price range of various kinds of houses and apartments? i was more inclined to pay for the equipment for a business and let her buy her own. i am not a charity. a dutch company in eindhoven has a fold up or pop up hotel room which would be similar to a small house on rooftops or in gardens of existing houses. it can be erected in 5 minutes. i have tried to find the name of the company again but i can´t find it with google. if there is no patent it would cost about $2,000 or a bit more made in china but the regime might prefer a monopoly on imports. i am not sure but i think that the cuban army has a monopoly on all imports. is this true? marxism has destroyed all initiative. there is a website called strawbales.com it is about how to build your own house from straw or hay. they have a new model teepee now. there´s adobe. you just need a few boxes to stuff with mud a a bit of cement in mud makes it stronger. most american states have banned trash houses probably for building materials companies. bottles make good bricks. hay and adobe are not suitable for areas that flood. the dutch have garden sheds at their vegetable allotments on the edge of cities which are really small houses. 2 or 3 garden shed kits joined together would be a substantial house. after an earthquake in china the government put up steel frame houses with styrofoam in the squares or rectangles. just L steel rods bolted together. that gave me an idea for a kit home. steel L rods with thick plastic sheets in the squares or rectangles packed in a compact box, made in china. with plastic corrugated roofing with an insulater on the underside. cuba has a housing shortage and these are some ways to solve the problem. in some areas the kit houses would have to be on concrete or steel or wooden posts above the flood level but without some wind protection they would be blown away in hurricanes. nets or trellises provide protection, a surprising amount of protection from wind and sea. beached ships have been protected from breaking up before refloating by a net or trellis. fruit trees can be protected by trellises. a net similar to a golf driving range net around a houses would protect it from high winds. a cheap plastic house could be improved later with stucco or even bricks outside if money was available. a steel and styrofoam house, which lasts 2 years, could have stucco added. the baroque or neo-classical houses in old havana are just brick and stucco that is supposed to look like marble in roma. in fact, in rome, brick buildings had a marble facade added by augustus caesar, trajan and other caesars. ¨i found rome in brick and i left it in marble.¨ augustus.

  4. So, post 77, just like the team “yoani” pretends to have the “truthful” information about the state of Cuban property market.

    And the source is

    usanian website!!!!

    The author of the below article has never been to Cuba and yet, he writes about the property market as if he’s the top authority on the subject!!!

    What an arrogant ar@e.

    Oh, yes, surely, there’s someone who would try that as an argument in Cuba too. More precisely in La Habana. But when you actually LOOK at those

    O L D (capitalist construction) buildings, you quickly realise what is the true meaning of the “capitalist construction” phrase.

    And then compare it to the apratment of the pin-up granny nail-biter, who has confirmed to be living in a Jugoslav-designed building, although the “friendly” translator would love you to believe her lie that the dried apricot lives in a self-build building…

    Liar after liar. And they fall into the holes of their own lies without even realising how st***d they make themselves to look.

    Hey, “friendly” translator, how are the Spanish lessons? Taken ANY yet? cia ran out of funds for this decade s still using others to do the translations for you?

    And while we are on your lies, where’s the tooth, or the hole in the dried apricot’s mouth where the fallen comrade tooth used to hang out?

    ANd have you finally sorted yourlies, I mean stories…, so that we can read more of your lies about the tooth loss that never happened?

    Go for it, liars. Except for 1 and a half pioneers here posting under a dozen or so different nicks, no one really believes this craft you are vomiting incessantly.

    Oh, and creating more fake profiles and making them “like” the dried old peach (or was it an apricot…?) is so transparent and desperate attempt to buy a ticket to the institution for mentally disturbed…

  5. ***
    HI HANK–#57. I was a 21 year old student when the Cuban Missile Crisis occured. I was studying for a difficult exam and wondered if I would finish university. Or if I would be drafted into the Army to fight in Cuba. Some students decided not to study. They went to the bars and got drunk instead of studying any more!
    ***
    I studied and passed the test–but it seemed that nuclear war would occur in a few days more. It seemed very dangerous–and now we know it was far worse than we thought at the time! Millions of people were very close to death. Thanks to the Russians, Fidel, and Che.
    ***
    And the deal President Kennedy made with the Russians protected Castro and sold Cubans into communist slavery for the next 50+ years. Very bad history–we know the truth now.
    ***
    Hola Hank–#57. Estuve un estudiante de 21 anos de edad cuando el Crisis de Cohetes Cubanos occurio. Estuve estudiando por un exam muy dificil y estuve pensando si ibo terminar la universidad. O si el govierno iba ponerme en el Ejercito a peliar en Cuba. Unos estudiantes decidieron ir a las cantinas a borracharses en lugar de estudiar mas!
    ***
    Estudie y pase el examen–pero parecia que guerra nuclear pasaria en unos pocas dias mas. Paracia muy peligroso–y ahora sabemos que fue mucho mas malo que pensabamos al tiempo! Milliones de seres estaban muy cerca a la muerte. Gracias a los Russos, Fidel, y Che.
    ***
    Y el arreglo que el Presidente Kennedy hizo con Los Russos protejo Castro y vendio Los Cubanos al esclavitud communista por los proximos 50+ anos. Muy mal historia–ahora sabemos la verdad.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  6. Pingback: Thursday open thread | PoliticalDerby

  7. If the capitalists bankers don’t win then the capitalists bankers would win!! good luck!! it is a joy to see the 2 party democracy at work!! Shouldn’t it have been outlawed sometime ago… since in principle 2 parties mean one good – one bad .. with nothing in the middle… no spectrum… Probably not in the US where it is easy to forget people cannot focus on more, than one idea one dogma split between good and bad!!

    In some respect communism was more honest if not fair, you had 1 party that you either loved or you completely hated them and wanted them gone… here, if the capitalists bankers don’t win then the capitalists bankers would win!! making a joke out of true choice and perverting the meaning of what politics could achieve for the people!!

  8. If the capitalists bankers don’t win then the capitalists bankers would win!! good luck!! it is a joy to see the 2 part democracy at work!! Shouldn’t it have been outlawed sometime ago…Probably not in the US where it is easy to e

  9. OK, since you insist on making a fool of yourself, I’ll let you in on a little secret: other parties are on the ballot when one votes for president of the United States. Don’t tell anyone, I wouldn’t want to ruin your storyline.

  10. Police arrest US presidential candidate Jill Stein at debate site
    http://rt.com/usa/news/police-…..ebate-589/
    I should remind some of the ‘faces’ that even in Poland there were 2 parties under communists… if the communist didn’t win the communists would win.. a bit like in capitalism.. If the capitalists bankers don’t win then the capitalist bankers would win!! good luck!

  11. Exactly my point… that’s the joy of democracy in Eastern Europe to be soon in Cuba… USAnian style democracy!.. everybody dance now to the corruption song that plays loud from accross the pond. If you don’t dance to it bad things happen…So 1% (or less in Romania) make the money others go home and get frustrated year in year out and watch tv (22 years of that)… a bit like communism only with more food on the table (if you got the money) and better tv programmes sort of…

    Imagine my grandfathers waited for the Americans after WW2… they never came… now they did.. and everybody is revisiting that idea that was imprinted on 2 generations as being wrong cos we got very little out of it… including MrO’s missile shield on our land to upset the bear… and the bear never forgets nor he forgives such thing.. So what’s next… Romania will be the next Cuba of the East once the Russians get the upper hand … and they will… and we don’t have the nice beaches… More???

  12. In Romania, reports of vote fraud mar election
    Admin – Nov 25, 09
    November 25, 2009 (Press TV) – After Romanians went to polls to help their country emerge from a political and economic crisis, the election becomes overshadowed allegations of vote fraud.

    The complaints of vote fraud were lodged by leading political parties, including the center-left Social Democrats (PSD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the center-right Democrat-Liberals (PD-L).

    Meanwhile, certain media outlets reported instances of electoral fraud.

    The reports come while the controversial presidential election failed to produce a winner and a runoff vote pitting center-right incumbent Traian Basescu against Social Democrat Mircea Geoana is scheduled to be held on December 6.

    One report put Basescu’s votes at 34.1 percent, compared to 30.9 percent for Geoana while another report said Basescu won 32.8 percent, compared to 31.7 percent for Geoana.

    Turnout from the 18 million eligible voters stood at 53.52 percent — lower than that of the 2004 presidential election.

    In what heightened concerns about vote fraud, Romanian police arrested a number of voters who were caught attempting to photograph their marked ballot with mobile phones.

    The move is common in vote buying, in which the voter later presents the photo as proof of his vote for the proper candidate.

    There were also other reports of massive voter-buying operations by all three major parties in the country.

    While Romanian police had set up checkpoints across the country to block buses carrying “election tourists,” many cars were stopped as they were to ferry paid-off voters to the polls.

    Such reports of vote fraud come as under Romanian law people are not restricted to voting in their own home district. Special booths were installed in most polling stations to allow voting by people who are away from home.

    http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/in-romania-reports-of-vote-fraud-mar-election-3087

  13. Let us remain on the “property” subject.

    Here, I bave a suggestion: Since the team “yoani” have amassed around half a million of CUCs, why not buy some of those apartments and give them to the needy?

    You have the money, the apartments are dirt cheap, and there are many CUBANS who need a place to live in!!!

    It’s a win-win deal!!

    You wold show that you do, really, care about yor Cuban countrymen. Not about your own personal enrichment.

    Yeah, as if a hypocrite, a traitor, a terrorist with no balls and a slave to her white “gods” would do something like

    T H A T!!!!

    It is ONE thing to lie about being concerned for one’s compatriots and entirely OTHER thing actually proving it!!!

    Only the wannabe dictators claim to have their compatriots, the “small” people, interest in their sight. And only dictators never deliver on their claims and promises.

  14. I am still searching for that violent attack on the terrorist and traitor, and obviously mentally unstable, criminal’s

    O W N

    description of what happened with the tooth and why did she

    N O T

    mention it

    AT ALL.

    NOT A SINGLE WORD!!!

    Instead, the “long version” article states clearly there was

    NO PHYSICAL VIOLENCE!!!

    So, the only other possibility left is the rotten tooth that just came out while the traitor terrorist was all by her own self.

    But then, there’s a lot of rot in the traitor… The internet is littered with, mostly subconscious, confessions of her own delusional wet daydreaming.

    It is no longer fun to dismantle the team “yoani’s” bullshift. There’s just

    WAY too much of it to have time to enjoy blowing it into the pieces. Luckilly she doesn’t have the internet on which she hangs 24/7 somehow, otherwise she would be “posting” even more often…

    The rubbish and bullshift, of course.

  15. Not that proof matter with the stars and stripes brigade that have exchange Cuba hisotry for an Americanised version of what happend. After all we’ve seen people denying the obvious in front of them – so it can be done by anyone and human being are liar some are even patological..

    Here it is one clear proof democracy is so strong, debate so encourage in the US and multi-party elections a reality! NOT…
    Police arrest US presidential candidate Jill Stein at debate site
    http://rt.com/usa/news/police-jill-stein-debate-589/
    I should remind some of the ‘faces’ that even in Poland there were 2 parties under communists… if the communist didn’t win the communists would win.. a bit like in capitalism.. If the capitalists bankers don’t win then the capitalist bankers would win!! good luck!!

  16. And just to kick you in the balls one more time, here’s another

    L I E by the terrorist traitor team “yoani”:

    *Translator’s note: Microbrigades: “Self-help housing” through assigning groups of people from each workplace to build large apartment houses. Yoani, her husband Reinaldo Escobar, and son Teo LIVE IN A MICROBRIGADE BUILDING ERECTED BY Reinaldo AND OTHERS FROM HIS WORKPLACE.”

    THE PIN-UP GRANNY HAS RECENTLY CLAIMED TO LIVE IN A

    JUGOSLAV-BUILT BUILDING!!!!!!!

    And there are other lies unravelled in the above “translator’s note”.

    SUddenly, her husband R. Escobar actually HAS A WORKPLACE!!!

    A FAR CRY FROM LAST YEAR’S CLAIMS TO BE VILIFIED, UNABLE TO FIND A JOB AND TO HAVE TO LIVE FROM “PRIVATE CLASSES” OF (MIND YOU COMPUTERS/WEB DESIGN… HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) AND A HUSBAND

    N O T

    WORKING

    (he had supposedly lost the job because of his wife’s treacherous and terrorist activities)DUE TO POLICE AND GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION, if we were to believe him and her sying these and many other delusional stu***es on youtube)

    LIARS AND HYPOCRITES!!!!!

  17. Theodore Darlymple is one self-deluded and dishonest “observer” of a
    P A R T of reality in Cuba. A subjective and politically blinded liar who is falling to mention the fact that

    M O S T of CUBA

    is clean, well maintained and kept in order. In fact, MUCH of La Habana is very green well maintained!!!

    He’s failing to admit that the

    M A I N reason for dilapidated look of many buildings in Habana Vieja is due to the fact that these buildings were not intended to be used but to be left to fall apart on their own in the midst of the Cold War imposed on CUBA by the nazist gulag usa through assets freezing, refusal to pay for reparations and damages nazists inflicted upon Cuba and refusal to hand over Guantanamo.

    When the conflict grew out of all proportion due to stupidity of the nazists up the North, and building materials became scarce, people were given the option to move into the vacant buildings as an option to the growing problem that, strangely, even the team “yoani” acknowledge timidly: the increasing lack of new housing.

    But, it was NOT purely Cstros’ fault. It all started with the nazist economic blockade.

    The same blockade the team “yoani”, again strangely,

    DID ACKNOWLEDGE!!!

    And in the best traitors form,

    SUPPORTED!!!

    So much about whose side are the traitors and terrorists, by the way!!!

  18. And the bullshift about the salaries in Cuba I have addressed already, two weeks ago.

    An inettligent person knows that the numerical comparison, such as the one above, proposed by the team “yoani” just doesn’t work. And for two reasons.

    The first is the lack of comparison of buying power. The second is the intentional misrepresentation and disinformation by the bandits of the team “yoani”. What they are

    N O T telling to those who have never been in Cuba is that the government is paying many salaries at least half in CUCs. And the minimum payable is 16 CUCs from what I have seen since the last year.

    So the minimum salary is around 32 CUCs.

    While that may sound little, and for many it is, the buying power is still quite strong and an average family can still live on it.

    And let us not forget what I have already said two weeks ago, a truck driver earns on average 1000 Cuban peosos, CUPs, a nurse in a medical centre aroud 800. Taxi drivers earn min 1600 CUCs (convertible pesos). Waiters take on average 700 CUCs per month during the high season, which in the most remote places lasts 4 months and in major cities all year round La Habana, Cienfuegos, Santiag, and now even Holguin is coming out as a new destination.

    But, let us return to one simple fact: the government is

    S H A R I N G

    the profits with the people an it is paying them in CUCs.

    Is the “democratic” nazi gulag usa doing that?

    No, it’s too busy paying out diresctors of failed corporations that have never been profitable in the first place and have always lived off the working and tax-paying people.

    And waiters in the usa too live exclusively off the tips for their “salares are barely above the “minimum wage” limit.

    Nobody can live off the minimum wage in the usa nazist gulag.

    But what would this “self-thaught” little ignorant from Cuba know about the world and the life in the big smoke. She ran away from “freedom” and “democracy” and “prosperity for all” as soon as she saw it, back to evil and opressed CUBA!!!!!!

    Someone, explain to her what IS the big smoke…

  19. Theodore Dalrymple writes of the ruins of Havana in his article about the dilapidated city falling apart: “The city is like a great set of Bach variations on the theme of urban decay. The stucco has given way to mold; roofs have gone, replaced by corrugated iron; shutters have crumbled into sawdust; paint is a phenomenon of the past; staircases end in precipices; windows lack glass; doors are off their hinges; interior walls have collapsed; wooden props support, though not with any degree of assurance, all kinds of structures; ancient electrical wiring emerges from walls, like worms from cheese; wrought ironwork balconies crumble into rust; plaster peels as in a malignant skin disease; flagstones are mined for other purposes. Every grand and beautifully proportioned room—visible through the windows or in some places through the walls that have crumbled away—has been subdivided by plywood partitions into smaller spaces, in which entire families now live. Washing hangs from the windows of what were once palaces. Every entranceway is dark, and at night the electric lights glimmer rather than shine. No ruination is too great to render a building unfit for habitation: Havana is like a city that has been struck by an earthquake and its population forced to survive among the wreckage until relief arrives.”

  20. And let us talk about more of the mindless propaganda from a mindless brains:

    “there is one qualifier that no one neglects to add if their housing warrants it, and that is “capitalist construction,””

    Firstly, there’s absolutely

    NO SOURCE of information for the statement.

    Secondly, the statement is presented as what it really is: an invention of a disturbed mind. No real numbers to give any form to the statement are given either.

    This is

    N O T journalism.

    This is plain, simple and rather st**id attempt to peddle more of propagandistic nonsense that has got nothing to do with the facts and truth.

    It IS true that SOME apartments and houses will contain the “capitalist construction” description, but the number of such advertisements is

    M I N U T E

    in comparison with the total number of advertisements.

    And the role is quite different to what the traitor and terrorist team “yani” would love you to believe.

    It actually stands for

    ” O L D ” construction. Over 50 years O L D.

    Naturally, the evil-minded criminals like the team “yoani” bandits would jump to an opportunity to claim what is not there to be claimed.

    Hypocrites tend to do that.

  21. And just to kick you in the balls one more time, here’s another

    L I E by the terrorist traitor team “yoani”:

    *Translator’s note: Microbrigades: “Self-help housing” through assigning groups of people from each workplace to build large apartment houses. Yoani, her husband Reinaldo Escobar, and son Teo LIVE IN A MICROBRIGADE BUILDING ERECTED BY Reinaldo AND OTHERS FROM HIS WORKPLACE.”

    THE PIN-UP GRANNY HAS RECENTLY CLAIMED TO LIVE IN A

    JUGOSLAV-BUILT BUILDING!!!!!!!

    And there are other lies unravelled in the above “translator’s note”.

    SUddenly, her husband R. Escobar actually HAS A WORKPLACE!!!

    A FAR CRY FROM LAST YEAR’S CLAIMS TO BE VILIFIED, UNABLE TO FIND A JOB AND TO HAVE TO LIVE FROM “PRIVATE CLASSES” OF (MIND YOU COMPUTERS/WEB DESIGN… HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) AND A HUSBAND

    N O T

    WORKING

    (he had supposedly lost the job because of his wife’s treacherous and terrorist activities)DUE TO POLICE AND GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION.

    LIARS AND HYPOCRITES!!!!!

  22. Help,

    We probably would not be here talking about this if the lunatic castro had had his way. You’re right, the more I read and learn about these guys — che guevara, the castro brothers and their enablers — I realize that they are all on the same level as Charles Manson and Jim Jones, or worse. Apparently, even Khrushchev recognized this.

  23. Hank, great article, thanks. I’d love to know the answers too. Scary to think the Soviets ever told Fidel they’d hand over control of nuclear weapons, can you imagine the consequences?

  24. Help,

    From the previous string, thanks for responding to my question. According to the article below by Juan Tamayo, the order Castro gave to Carlo Lechuga (his U.N. ambassador) to announce that Cuba had tactical nuclear weapons was “quickly recalled.” Would love to know how the original order was given and what made castro recall that order.

    Secret nukes: the untold story of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    By Juan O. Tamayo The Miami Herald

    It was October 1962. The Missile Crisis had just been defused when Khrushchev, eyeball to eyeball with JFK, blinked. But 100 tactical warheads remained on the island – and the U.S. had no clue.

    The Cuban Missile Crisis had just ended, with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s promise to President John F. Kennedy on Oct. 28 1962 that he was withdrawing his strategic nuclear weapons from the island.

    But nearly 100 smaller Soviet nuclear warheads were also in Cuba, unknown to the U.S. government at the time and for decades into the future.

    Fidel Castro wanted desperately to keep them.

    Had Castro prevailed, Cuba would have become a nuclear power. And if Kennedy had known that Khrushchev had all but lied on Oct. 28, the hawks in Washington might have won their push for an all-out U.S. invasion of the island.

    Instead, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan, sensing that the “hothead” Castro could not be trusted with any nuclear weapons, got them out of Cuba after telling him that Soviet law did not permit the transfer of nuclear weapons to other countries.

    “It is a pity. And when are you going to repeal that law?” Castro asked Mikoyan during a tense meeting on Nov. 22, 1962, according to a new book by his son, Sergo Mikoyan, and researcher Svetlana Savranskaya.

    It’s been 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct. 16-28, when the world came closer than ever to a U.S.–Soviet nuclear war and nightmarish terms like Armageddon and “mutually assured destruction” — MAD — became almost real.

    Research in recent years has shown the crisis impacted a broader swath of the world than previously known, said James Hershberg, editor of the book series published by the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

    Moscow’s concessions to Kennedy likely pushed North Korea to launch its own search for nuclear weapons, one study showed. Another argued that it led North Vietnam to step up its armed campaign against the south.

    But Sergo Mikoyan’s book, The Soviet-Cuba Missile Crisis, focuses on the crisis in Havana in November of 1962, as his father jawboned with Castro to clean up the loose ends of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    “The headline here is just how close Cuba came to being a nuclear power,” said Hershberg, whose book series includes the Mikoyan work.

    The book includes 50 Soviet government and Mikoyan family documents, including official notes from the Mikoyan-Castro talks. Sergo Mikoyan died in 2010 and Savranskaya, a researcher at George Washington University’s National Security Archive, completed the book.

    The tale essentially starts after Khrushchev tells Kennedy Oct. 28 that he will withdraw from Cuba the “weapons which you call offensive” — Soviet R-14 and R-12 missiles with nuclear warheads and ranges of up to 1,550 miles, and medium-range IL-28 bombers, aged but still capable of carrying nuclear bombs.

    What Khrushchev did not reveal was that 98 tactical nuclear warheads also had been deployed in Cuba for the Luna and FKR-1 missiles, both coastal defense weapons deployed essentially to destroy a possible U.S. invasion armada.

    In the weeks leading up to the Missile Crisis there had been conversations between U.S. and Soviet officials about the Soviet Union sending Cuba weapons so that it could defend itself, according to documents released Thursday from the archives of Robert F. Kennedy, then the attorney general and an advisor to his brother.

    But with the United States apparently unaware such weapons had nuclear capabilities, the tense exchanges between the two Cold War powers centered on the removal of weapons “capable of offensive war,’’ not the weapons that could be used to repel a possible U.S. invasion.

    On Oct. 20, 1962, a surprise U.S. air strike to take out the strategic missiles — an option that some advisors thought would ultimately lead to a full-scale invasion — was still under discussion, according to the RFK papers. But President Kennedy had reservations about the potential loss of thousands of lives — including those at U.S. missile sites in Turkey and Italy if the Soviets chose to retaliate, and an Oct. 22 memo about the drawbacks of a surprise air strike also noted it might be perceived “as a Pearl Harbor in reverse” and spark retaliatory strikes by local “Soviet” commanders of the Cuban missiles.

    So even though the United States public breathed a sigh of relief that the Missile Crisis was over on Oct. 28, Khrushchev ordered Anastas Mikoyan — the No. 2 in the Soviet hierarchy, its top foreign troubleshooter and a Castro friend since 1960 — to Havana in the first days of November for a critical assignment that would last three weeks and included multiple objectives:

    • Assure Castro that JFK had promised he would not invade Cuba;
    • Smooth his anger over Moscow’s failure to consult him on the negotiations with JFK;
    • Push him to accept inspections to confirm the removal of the strategic weapons;
    • Urge him not to shoot at U.S. spy planes overflying the island;
    • Settle the issue of the tactical warheads;

    What’s more, the Soviet-Cuba oral agreement in the summer of 1962 for the deployment of all the nuclear weapons to the Caribbean island had included a promise that Cuban troops would control the tactical warheads after receiving training.

    Castro was indeed fuming. Moscow’s withdrawal of its missiles would leave him without any real deterrence against a U.S. attack, just 18 months after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and amid at least one confirmed CIA plot to assassinate him.

    The Soviet ambassador in Havana reported that he had never seen the Cuban leader “so distraught and irate.” And when Mikoyan pushed too hard on one issue, Castro shot back, “What do you think we are. A zero on the left? A dirty rag?”

    Initially, Mikoyan and the Soviet military favored allowing Castro to keep the tactical nukes for self-defense, according to the younger Mikoyan.

    But on Oct. 27, Castro sent Khrushchev a cable all but urging a preemptive nuclear strike on U.S. targets. And on Nov. 19 he ordered his U.N. ambassador, Carlo Lechuga, to announce that the tactical warheads were in Cuba. That order was quickly recalled.

    “Mikoyan understood then that the Cuban tail was quite capable of wagging the Soviet dog,” Savranskaya wrote in a postscript to the book. “What became clear to Mikoyan … is that the Soviets could not really control their Cuban ally.”

    The issue of the tactical warheads came to a boil on the night of Nov. 22, when Mikoyan met for more than three hours with Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and three other senior Cuban government officials at the Presidential Palace in Havana.

    “Is it true that all the tactical nuclear weapons are already removed?” Castro is quoted as asking Mikoyan in notes of the meeting taken by the Soviet delegation. Mikoyan replies that Moscow “has not given any promise regarding the removal” of the tactical weapons. “The Americans do not have any information that they are in Cuba.”

    Castro pressed on. “So then the weapons are here? And no assurances were given regarding their withdrawal?” Mikoyan replies, “Not about the weapons.”

    Castro says, “Therefore then the weapons are here.”

    Later in the notes, Castro returns to the tactical weapons, asking, “Doesn’t the Soviet Union transfer nuclear weapons to other countries?” Mikoyan replies that there is “a law prohibiting the transfer of any nuclear weapons, including the tactical ones, to anybody. We never transferred it to anyone, and we did not intent to transfer it.”

    Castro insists. “Would it be possible to leave the tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba in Soviet hands, without transferring them to the Cubans?” Mikoyan says no, because the 42,000 Soviet troops in Cuba were technically only “advisers.”

    Minutes latter Castro again returned the tactical nuclear weapons. “So you have a law that prohibits transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to other countries? It is a pity. And when are you going to repeal that law?” he is quoted as saying in the notes.

    Mikoyan dodges the question. “We will see,” he says.

    Sergo Mikoyan, who accompanied his father during the first few days of the Cuba mission, wrote in the book that it’s not clear whether such a law really existed. Perhaps it was a secret policy of the Soviet leadership, perhaps a convenient lie.

    The younger Mikoyan argues that the “old men” who ruled the Kremlin in the early 1960s essentially saw in Cuba a young and virile socialist revolution that needed Moscow’s support.

    The “romantic” Khrushchev sent nuclear weapons to defend Havana from U.S. attacks and did not fully realize the risks, he noted. Moscow’s military was more pragmatic, and the Cuba deployment doubled the number of Soviet missiles that could hit U.S. territory.

    But by the time Mikoyan wound up his mission to Havana, the book noted, Moscow viewed Cuban leaders as “hotheads who were preparing their country to die in the fire of a nuclear confrontation with the United States in the name of world socialism.”

    Published jointly by the Woodrow Wilson Press and Stanford University Press, the book is based partly on Sergo Mikoyan’s Russian-language book Anatomy of the Cuban Missile Crisis, published in 2006.

    Anastas Mikoyan’s wife of 43 years, Ashkhen Lazaranova, died during the first days of his three-week mission to Havana, but he stayed on the Caribbean island until he had completed his tasks and left on Nov. 26.

    A few days later, Mikoyan met with presidential advisor John J. McCloy, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson and Charles W. Yost, Stevenson’s deputy, to discuss the details of the agreement ending the Missile Crisis. A summary of that conversation notes that Mikoyan was “clearly influenced by commitments to Castro to make a strong case on Castro’s behalf; he also seems to be motivated by the burden that Cuba represents to the USSR.”

    Mikoyan died in 1978 at age of 82 of natural causes.

    Sergo Mikoyan, who served as personal secretary to his father, was one of Moscow’s top Latin America specialists and served as editor of the journal Latin America, published by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

    The U.S. government knew in 1962 of the deployment of the Luna missiles and suspected they carried nuclear warheads, but would not learn the full details of the tactical weapons until a conference in Havana in 1992, on the 30th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, attended by U.S., Soviet and Cuban delegations.

    That’s when Soviet General Anatoly Gribkov, army chief of operations during the missile crisis, revealed that Moscow had deployed nine nuclear tipped Luna in Cuba to be used against any U.S. invasion force.

    “The United States had no idea the warheads had made it to the island — missiles without warheads aren’t so dangerous,’’ said Philip Brenner, an American University professor who attended the conference.

    Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who also attended the meeting, was so taken aback, said Brenner, that he “had to hold on to a table to steady himself after he learned that.’’
    But Gribkov, like Khrushchev, was not telling the full truth. In fact, there were 80 nuclear tipped FKR-1 cruise missiles, 12 nuclear warheads of the Lunas, also known as FROG missiles, and six nuclear bombs for the IL-28s.

    Sergo Mikoyan wrote that all the tactical warheads left Cuba Dec. 1, 1962,on the cargo ship Arkhangelsk and arrived Dec. 20 in the Soviet port of Severomorsk.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/13/v-fullstory/3049063/secret-nukes-the-untold-story.html

  25. Hey, speaking about those barrios the team “yoani” pretend to complain about above, why not shouw us the videos and photos from your own apartment, “unemployed” family?

    They are already all over youtube, anyhow. I had posted these links in my article a few months back where the team “yoani” confessed to live in a “Jugosla-build” building.

    The apartment is tall, wide, bright, functional, and

    OVERLOADED WITH THE LATEST FURNITURE, LARGE LCD TV’S, MUSIC EQUIPMENT, LARGE LOUDSPEAKERS, COMPUTERS, YO NAME IT.

    Should have stayed in Spain or Switzerland, in one of those

    SMALL, DARK and

    O V E R P R I C E D

    apartments where in 50m2 they had to live!!!

    And pay for everything!!!!!

    Unlike in communist Cuba!!!!

  26. “yoani”, the traitor and domestic terrorist has been already a number of times in Bahamas, as she herself had confessed in the post about Bahamas airport.

    So, more delusions from the team “yoani’s” pioneers.

    And deranged propaganda about the subject they have got

    NO KNOWLEDGE AT ALL.

    The subject being

    C U B A !!!!!!

  27. And just to kick you in the balls one more time, here’s another

    L I E by the terrorist traitor team “yoani”:

    *Translator’s note: Microbrigades: “Self-help housing” through assigning groups of people from each workplace to build large apartment houses. Yoani, her husband Reinaldo Escobar, and son Teo LIVE IN A MICROBRIGADE BUILDING ERECTED BY Reinaldo AND OTHERS FROM HIS WORKPLACE.”

    THE PIN-UP GRANNY HAS RECENTLY CLAIMED TO LIVE IN A

    JUGOSLAV-BUILT BUILDING!!!!!!!

    And there are other lies unravelled in the above “translator’s note”.

    SUddenly, her husband R. Escobar actually HAS A WORKPLACE!!!

    A FAR CRY FROM LAST YEAR’S CLAIMS TO BE VILIFIED, UNABLE TO FIND A JOB AND TO HAVE TO LIVE FROM “PRIVATE CLASSES” OF (MIND YOU COMPUTERS/WEB DESIGN… HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) AND A HUSBAND

    N O T

    WORKING 9 he had supposedly lost the job because of his wife’s treacherous and terrorist activities)DUE TO POLICE AND GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION.

    LIARS AND HYPOCRITES!!!!!

  28. Of all of the reforms brought in by Raul Castro, abolishing exit permits is potentially the one that could potentially most advance the cause of civil liberties in Cuba. The true test will come in January when Yoani arrives at Havana Airport with only passport and airline ticket in hand to travel overseas and then attempts to return to Cuba some time thereafter after collecting her latest international award. If all goes smoothly, this will indeed be a meaningful step forward for civil liberties in Cuba.

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