More Than Just a Cable

latencies-to-cuba-annotated

Our parliament met in December. A diverse conglomeration of ages, social backgrounds, races and genders… but with a single political affiliation. More than six hundred deputies who say they represent a nation, when in reality they only speak in the name of one ideology. The pantomime of plurality, with statistics designed to impress, given the number of women, youth, mixed-race or workers within it, but not with diversity of thought. A rainbow with seven bands of the same color. Or almost, because the palette contains only red and olive-green. But it is not precisely this tame group of individuals applauding in the Palace of Conventions that I want to write about today, but the fiber optic cable between Cuba and Venezuela.

When Maimir Mesa, Minister of Telecommunications and Information, issued a report to the National Assembly last month, not a single word was published about the Alba-1 cable. Since August 2012, the newspaper Granma said today, the submarine tendon was active for “voice traffic corresponding to international telephone service.” This means that when Mesa spoke before parliament, he already had information to give and preferred to withhold it, to hide it from us. Why? Perhaps out of fear that with that announcement he might stoke the excitement so many of us have to be connected to the Internet. Better to hide the details from us because he knows no information strategy other than secrecy. “The less they know the better,” seems to be the currency of our leaders.

But this world is a mere handkerchief, a baseball, a sour orange, and teensy. A few days ago the American firm Renesys announced (here and here) it had detected latency in the Alba-1 cable. First it was traffic in just one direction, which later balanced in the coming and going of kilobytes. The cable was alive, awake. Two years after arriving on Cuban soil, at a cost of $70 million and a thousand miles in length, the long fiberoptic serpent started to work. We had to learn, as so often happens, through the foreign media. Only when the news was already everywhere did the official press confirm it this morning in a brief note. A note that also warned that “the commissioning of the submarine cable will not automatically mean that the possibilities of access will multiply.”

The truth is, I no longer believe anything. Not the passive National Assembly, nor a minister who practices secrecy, nor the official journalists who were in that session of parliament and didn’t report on the absence of such an important topic, nor a newspaper that only publishes when its silences are uncovered. Much less do I believe in the character as true citizens of all those thousands of Cubans who have remained silent and have been satisfied with the least access to the Internet of any country in this hemisphere.

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86 thoughts on “More Than Just a Cable

  1. Help,
    Prison labor is always a bad idea regardless of country or economic system. In the U.S an inmate works for 23 cents an hour. That’s a slave wage in a country where minimum wage is $7.25. I agree that the planned economies implemented by communist countries including Cuba have not worked out. If they have been economies truly based on Karl Marxes theories, well that is debateable. Karl Marxes theories have been linked with communism for so long that I think most people have not bothered with studying and understanding what he actually wrote. In the wake of the financial crisis his economic theories have been given greater thought, George Magnus of UBS comes to mind http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/give-marx-a-chance-to-save-the-world-economy-commentary-by-george-magnus.html Regardless of -ism an economy needs a bit of greed to work. Question is how much. Not everyone is equally skilled at making money and people skilled at making money are not all “good guys” or good for society. That group of people who are good at making money range from artists,inventors and entrepeneurs to polluters, exploiters, fraudsters and criminals. From the J.K. Rowlingses to the Bernie Madoffses of the world.
    So how much the activities of these 1%ers should society allow? And how much of their wealth should they be allowed to retain? The U.S. a nation that prides itself on individualism and entrepeneurship have had to rethink their economic system once in the times of the robber barons and if you listen today there seems to be a rethink on the way again. The problem in a nutshell is how long in a game of monopoly where a player owns all the streets do the rest of the players stop playing and/or up-end the board and start a new game? For a social contract to be stable there needs, in my view, to be redistribution of wealth aswell as anti-monopoly laws or players who are not winning will stop playing and/or break the social contract and forge a new one, violently if need be. Cuba needs economic reforms to be competitive, I agree, but they don’t have to be on the terms of the IMF, World bank or any other established international ruleset. Correa in Ecuador did his country a great favor by not playing by the rules and managed to bring down their foreign debt and gget more money for their natural resources. A russian style crash change of economic system would not benefit Cuba. Imagine how pissed off people would be if Miami Cubans decended like vultures and bought every square inch of the island for vacation homes or whatever. You would have a new revolution within a generation. A more gradual opening of the economy would be better with a bias towards resident Cubans. I don’t like fascist systems of goverment either whether they be right-wing or left. Best system both economic and political that is used right now is the nordic model i.m.o A multi-party system with just the right amount of capitalism and socialism.

  2. Guillermo,

    Some American-Cuban politicians hoped the embargo might work, but the fact is it didn’t.

    That doesn’t mean the embargo was wrong, just that the rest of the world is behind Castro and uses the embargo as an excuse to aid Castro more than they would if it didn’t exist.

    Castro profits from the embargo to the tune of many billions of dollars a year.

    There hardly is a US embargo now anyways, as other big US interests want business with Cuba. US medical and agricultural companies export to Cuba and US telecom companies wanted to provide high-speed communications to Cuba but Castro wasn’t interested.

    Let’s assume you like Castro and want to help him and think he should just ignore US patent laws. Well, he can do that all he likes, but nothing can get the Cuban Marxist economy to compete with anyone.

    The problem with your idea is that the Cuban economy is incapable of manufacturing a real mojito, let alone invent a new gizmo. IKEA tried using slave labor in Cuba, but the quality produced by the prisoners was so bad they gave up on that idea.

    China can compete with the West because they became a capitalist economy.

    The only competitive firms in Cuba are run by foreign capitalists. As Castro turns more towards old-style capitalism, like China, they will compete more effectively.

    But then why would a socialist want to support an old-style fascist capitalist state?

    You see the dilemma?

    I’m just against fascist dictatorships, whatever they call themselves.

  3. Help
    If this was true and the embargo only serves to strengthen Castro and his “kingdom” then why does the U.S. persist in enforcing it? Why do the Miami Cubans continue to lobby for it to remain in place? I maintain that Cuba does not have to play by the laws of other countries in regards to patents. Nobody else has. Up until 1836 only americans could apply for american patents for example which meant that everything invented elsewhere could be copied (mainly english inventions). Many asian manufacturers started by copying and indeed counterfeiting western goods and designs. It provided seed capital for moving into becoming legitimate suppliers of components and then to launching their own worldwide brands.
    China today is starting the third stage and launching worlwide brands even though much capital is still raised by copying and counterfeiting as evidenced by this news article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18155293. Even the U.S miltary has fake chinese components embedded in it’s systems :).
    I would not recommend competing with Asia in electronics. But IT-services, especially hosting and datawarehousing, and pharmaceuticals are very doable i.m.o.

  4. Guillermo,

    The embargo has always been an asset, first with the Soviet Union, and now with the rest of the world.

    Billions of dollars have come into Castro’s kingdom from “anti-embargo” groups.

    And Castro sucks billions of dollars a year from Venezuela because Chavez loves Castro’s anti-American charade.

    Plus countries like China go easy on Cuban debt because of Castro’s anti-American charade.

    So the embargo is very profitable for Castro.

    Though Cuba is outside your “US trade hegemony”, it is within Chinese and Brazilian and Arab and Canadian and Spanish trade hegemony, so it has to play by the laws, including patent laws, of all those countries if it wants to keep profiting from their business.

    Also, software pirates don’t need Cuba, they have China and dozens of other countries where they work profitably.

    Have you ever been to Cuba? They can’t even fabricate a real mojito.

  5. I’ve never understood why Cuba doesn’t turn the embargo into an asset.
    The U.S. is clamping down hard on counterfeit goods whether they be pharmaceuticals, designer handbags or DVDs.
    On the net they clamp down on filesharing, torrent sites and clouddrives.
    Why not use your status as a country outside of the U.S trade hegemony and start providing much needed goods and services to the world?
    With your excellent doctors and researchers you could duplicate and sell pharmaceuticals to poorer countries who cannot pay the excorbitant prices that the big pharma monopoly asks for their products. This would also give other countries an economic incentive to break the embargo and trade with Cuba as pharmaceuticals are high value products. Use market forces against the U.S. It would also bring much needed cash to Cuba.
    With high speed internet through a cable to Venezuela, Cuba could become a safe haven for internet projects that are currently out of favor with the U.S like wikileaks, torrent sites, file sharing sites, cloud drives etc. Besides being a source of income it could also be a propaganda coup if you get sites like wikileaks.
    There are also software projects and bioprojects that you can’t research and develop right now because of stupid, insane patent laws that would also benefit from having a safe haven to escape from draconian U.S. laws.

  6. The Man! THE AMERICANS, BAD OLD U.S.A.! SHOULD I LOOK SOME OTHER BOTTOM OF THE BARREL DISTRACTION PLOYS FOR YOU DEAR? THOSE ARE OVERUSED AND REDUNDANT!

  7. What happens in Cuba is SHAMEFUL. Socialism Sucks and Cuba is proof of this. Viva las DAMAS DE BLANCO. Viva Los ALDEANOS and Viva el RAP CUBANO.

  8. LOS ALDEANOS CUBAN DOCUMENTARY : “Viva Cuba Libre: Rap Is War” (trailer)

    MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SCREENINGS:
    Regal South Beach Cinemas
    Sat, Mar 02 – 3:30 PM & Sat. Mar 09 – 9:00 PM
    In a small town outside Havana, two young brothers are beaten and arrested in their own home and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for listening to rappers Los Aldeanos, who are banned by the government. We follow the intermingled stories of the Cruz brothers and the band they love. From the streets of Havana comes the sound of struggle and the voice of a new revolution – Los Aldeanos.

  9. The Man on #74!! ESTAS METIO COMINGO?? ME GUSTA! I LIKE IT!!

    VICTIMS OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION- Cases up to January 25, 2012
    This work documents loss of life and disappearances of a political or military nature attributed to the Cuban Revolution. Each documented case is available for review at The Cuba Archive and substantiated by bibliographic/historic data and reports from direct sources. Due to the ongoing nature of the work and the difficulty of obtaining and verifying data from Cuba, the following totals change as research progresses and are considered far from exhaustive. Cuba Archive is currently examining additional cases -most are expected to be added to this table.

    Cuba Archive’s Truth and Memory Project is documenting deaths and disappearances resulting from the Cuban revolution and studies transitional issues related to truth, memory and justice. This project seeks to compel people and nations to help Cubans peacefully attain their rightful freedoms, foster a culture of respect for life and the rule of law, and honor the memory of those who’ve paid the highest price.

    Non-Combat Victims of the Castro Regime: Work-in-progress-Documented Cases
    Total = 10,500
    “Balseros” (estimate to 2003) = 77,833 victims drowned at sea

    http://cubaarchive.org/home/images/stories/1.25.2012_update.pdf

    International law and other considerations on the repatriation of Cuban balseros by the United States – By Maria C. Werlau – August 2004

    In essence, these voyages “are inherently dangerous and regularly result in injuries and deaths during voyage attempts on both homemade vessels and boats used by migrant smugglers.”7 It has been estimated that in the last four decades over 70,000 Cubans of all ages may have perished at sea trying to escape

  10. Try to focus _man comes_

    Which part of burning and machine-gunning lepers and their families to death do you consider a Castro “good cause”

    Unless you think My Lai was a good cause.

    No Cuban soldier has ever been punished for machine-gunning lepers or their children, or raping and killing civilians, etc

    They’ve only been punished for talking about it.

    You learned about My Lai through the free American press, do you understand that?

    That’s why Cuba needs a free press, so future Cuban soldiers will no longer get away with burning, machine-gun and raping civilians, including children.

  11. What would seem like an absolute no brainer to most rational people, must become a political issue for the man. Of course, no one wants to live in poverty, BUT, if you do find yourself in those circumstances, for whatever reason, would you rather your child starve to death, or die of easily preventable (with vaccines), diseases, or would you rather live in poverty in a country where the “safety net” provides these things? Duh.

  12. Does _man comes_ like the burning of lepers and their families or their machine-gunning? Or is it the poison gas?

    Which one is his favorite Castro “good cause”?

    No Cuban veteran I’ve talked to believes Castro had any “good cause” in Angola, but what do they know.

    Armchair socialists and CastroIsGod dot com can inform us of so much more.

  13. If _man comes_ is interested in Castro’s “good cause” in the jungle, here’s a witness:

    BY NATIONAL POST AUGUST 22, 2006

    Re: Counting Cuban Atrocities, letter to the editor, Aug. 18.

    As a former United Church of Canada missionary to Angola, I can attest to Cuban atrocities even more horrific than those mentioned by letter-writer Andrew Galloway.

    In 1975, the Cuban army arrived in Angola to support the Russian-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). They first went north and turned their guns on Holden Roberto’s National Front for the Liberation of Angola, then wheeled around south to attack Jonas Savimbi’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Eventually, after destroying our central mission station in Dondi, they arrived at the Kavango Leprosarium. After ordering all of the lepers, their families and their helpers into their huts, they set fire them on fire, burning everyone to death. Any who emerged were machine-gunned. This was attested to by one of our pastors, who saw it all from the bush where he was hiding.

    Ten years later I travelled to Jamba, UNITA’s capital in the southeastern part of the country. I was taken to a camp occupied by hundreds of survivors of Cuban poison-gas attacks. Nerve gas, when it does not kill outright, leaves the victim with a mind that has been completely addled and, at times, limbs that no longer function. It was the most horrific sight that I have ever witnessed.

    Now that Fidel Castro is reaching the end, it is my fervent wish that he burn in Hell.

    John Hart, Mississauga, Ont.

  14. LISTEN The Man REGARDING #73! I WILL CONTINUE TO DO MY EDUCATIONAL WORK HERE AND YOU CAN CONTINUE TO REPEAT “The Bad Old USA” DISTRACTION PLOY AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WISH! BUT I WILL CALL YOU ON IT AS AS MANY TIME AS YOU USED THAT SAME OLD TIRED TRICK DEAR!

    GROUND REPORT: While some seek better lives abroad, others stay out of a sense of loyalty. – By Carlos Rodríguez

    Cuban athletes who leave the country in search of better careers abroad frequently cite a lack of support and poor rewards.

    “I wouldn’t criticise an athlete who decides to leave the country to seek a better future,” said a young athlete at the Giraldo Córdova Cardín sports training centre, who did not want to be named. “Looking forward to years representing a country that isn’t your own is more satisfying than representing the country you were born in.”

    He added, “When I get an opportunity, I’ll be going.”

    The sportsman claimed that team selection for international events was often more about political reliability than ability.

    Another young athlete cited the case of runner Dayron Robles, who won the 110 metre hurdles at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He was then involved in a two-year battle with the national Olympic body and the Cuban sports institute, over outstanding payments worth 40,000 dollars.

    Robles eventually won his case, but the young athletes said that if a big star like that had to fight so hard to get what was due to him, then “What can I hope for?”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.groundreport.com/Politics/Cuban-Athletes-Immersed-in-Race-to-Leave/2951012

  15. “It’s a great honour for me,” the 81-year-old said. “We accept it [the presidency] with a commitment to work for peace, justice, and understanding between all our peoples. We will act in full compliance with international law and the United Nations’ charter.” – RAUL CASTRO (La China)

    “LA CHINA” RAUL CAN SAY THIS WITH A “STRAIGHT” FACE BECAUSE OF ALL THE BOTOX ON HIS FACE! THE “STRAIGHT” TERM IS LEFT TO YOUR INTERPRETATION!

    MIAMI HERALD: Raúl Castro takes over CELAC presidency amid criticism – Cuban leader Raúl Castro calls it a “great honor” to take over the presidency of CELAC, a grouping of Latin American and Caribbean countries. But many criticized the move. – By Gideon Long

    Chile — Cuban leader Raúl Castro was sworn is as president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States on Monday even though his regime is clearly at odds with the organization’s stated aims — the promotion of democracy, free trade and free speech.

    The irony of Castro’s appointment was not lost on human rights campaigners, who say his government has suppressed its people for decades.

    “I think it’s a disaster, a very serious mistake and a setback for the region,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of the New York-based Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization.

    “It sends a message from the governments of the region that they couldn’t care less about the poor human rights record and the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba,” he told The Miami Herald.

    At the end of the summit, the leaders approved a 48-point “Santiago Declaration” in which they reaffirmed their commitment “to the universality and indivisibility of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

    Critics of CELAC say that if it really believes in the importance of human rights and democracy it should take a tougher stance against Cuba, where the Castros have been in power for 54 years. They also accuse the organization of hypocrisy for inviting Cuba to the summit while effectively excluding Paraguay on the basis of its dubious democratic credentials.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/28/3205223/raul-castro-takes-over-celac-presidency.html

  16. Griffin,

    You’re welcome. I did not know John Lee Anderson wrote a defense of Che. That is vile and nothing I support. Thanks for letting me know.

    In spite of that, his New Yorker article is fascinating because it documents aspects of the fiasco that is Chavez’s Venezuela which I have never read or heard of before. The Tower of David, malandros, invasores, pranes, motorizados and colectivos–what an absolute breakdown in society. Reminiscent of the Road Warrior movies Mel Gibson made in the early 80’s. Total anarchy, with billions of dollars in oil wealth floating around to boot. What a mess.

  17. IM SURE THIS STORY IS NOT GOING TO GO WELL FOR MANY OF THE EXTREME FRINGE OF THE CUBAN EXILE COMMUNITY, BUT THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY! I REMEMBER MY FIRST TIME IN CUBA AFTER A 40 YEAR ABSENCE! VERY SURREAL BUT FAMILIAR AT THE SAME TIME!

    CNN: Cuban travel reform a home run for baseball star who defected – By Patrick Oppmann,

    A star pitcher in Cuba, Contreras was part of a team that won Olympic Gold, was named the Cuban athlete of the year three times and, in the 1999 game between Cuba’s national team and the Baltimore Orioles, pitched eight shutout innings. Fidel Castro, himself once an avid pelotero, nicknamed Contreras the “Bronze Titan.” In 2002, he defected while playing in Mexico.

    After years of barely scraping out a living playing in Cuba, Contreras was signed by the New York Yankees for $32 million.

    Sports stars who left Cuba for mega-salaries abroad were considered traitors by Cuba’s government. If they abandoned the island for the lure of playing in the majors, they could be barred from their homeland, never to see friends and family again.

    That was until January, when authorities instituted long-hoped-for reforms, lifting many of the restrictions on Cubans who wanted to travel abroad and return to the island.

    Sports stars and government officials will still need special permission to leave. But for the first time, high-level defectors like Contreras are allowed to come back.

    He is the first sports star to test the new law.

    “Already, in the plane, I was crying. This is something big that I had waited 10 years for,” Contreras told CNN as Cuban fans lined up to snap photos with him on cell phone cameras.

    “It’s years of pain that can’t be erased, but I always had the hope that some day,” he said.

    While other sports stars who left Cuba said they were uneasy about returning — afraid they could still be banned or might even be imprisoned — Contreras couldn’t wait. His mother was ill in a hospital, and he said he had been homesick every day he was away.

    Other Cuban players who had defected, like Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, complained that Cubans who live abroad still needed to ask the government for a visa to return.

    But Contreras said it was an important sign that the door had finally been opened to allow defectors to come back.

    “They shouldn’t be afraid, and (sports stars who defected) will keep continuing to return,” he said. “It’s the dream of anyone who lives outside Cuba, to be able to return and be with your family and the fans here.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    edition.cnn.com/2013/01/28/world/americas/cuba-baseball-defector-returns/index.html

  18. Anónimo!!! YOU GOT A GREAT FUACATAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! MY FRIEND! AND THIS IS NOT A COME ON I SWEAR! JE JE JE!

  19. Oh look, Romania and Croatia are two of the countries that possess drones.

    Table 2: List of Countries reported by US GAO to posses drones.
    Algeria Egypt Lebanon Singapore
    Angola Estonia Libya Slovakia
    Argentina Ethiopia Lithuania Slovenia
    Australia Finland Malaysia South Africa
    Austria France Mexico Spain
    Azerbaijan Georgia Morocco Sri Lanaka
    Belarus Germany Netherlands Sweden
    Belgium Greece New Zealand Switzerland
    Botswana Hungary Nigeria Syria
    Brazil India Norway Taiwan
    Bulgaria Indonesia Pakistan Thailand
    Burundi Iran Panama Trinidad & Tobago
    Canada Israel Peru Tunisia
    Chile Italy Philippines Turkey
    China Ivory Coast Poland Uganda
    Colombia Japan Republic of Korea Ukraine
    Croatia Jordan Romania UAE
    Czech Republic Kazakhstan Russia United Kingdom
    Denmark Latvia Serbia United States

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/mapping-drone-proliferation-uavs-in-76-countries/5305191#GAOlist

  20. The Man on #75!! STILL SCRAPING THE “BAD OLD U.S.A.” THEME, FROM THE BOTTOM OF THAT BARREL?? TISK TISK! AND Damir! HUGO CHAVEZ AND THE CASTROFASCITS DECIDED TO FORM “CUBAZUELA”, “VENECUBA” OR ANY VERSIONS OF THE “NEW COUNTRY” SO THAT TOPIC IS FAIR GAME DEAR! YOU ARE WELCOME TO COMMENT IN LIU OF THE NAZI GULAG RANTS!

  21. A BEAUTIFUL SONG TRIBUTE FROM ONE POET TO ANOTHER! RARE PICTURES OF JOSE MARTI, HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS! AWESOME! LYRICS BELOW!

    José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895) is the Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban Freemasons. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, and is referred to as the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.[1]” He also fought against the threat of United States expansionism into Cuba. From adolescence, he dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba and intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans; his death was used as a cry for Cuban independence from Spain by both the Cuban revolutionaries and those Cubans previously reluctant to start a revolt.

    YOUTUBE: Polo Montanez – “Homenaje a Martí” del album “Memoria” – Esta canción fue escrita e intepretada por el desaparecido Polo Montañez, (El Guajiro natural) en el año 2.001

    Have ya un tiempo debí escribirle/ una canción/ a ese Maestro,/ al intelecto,/ al gran pensador./ La calle Paula lo vio nacer/ y allá en Dos Ríos cayó después/ el que cultiva la rosa blanca en el corazón.

    Oh, oh, oh, oh,/ Nené traviesa,/ entre tantas cosas hechas por él/ como la bailarina española,/ baila muy bien/ Príncipe enano,/el camarón,/ camaroncito que se encantó./ Los zapaticos de rosa de Pilar/ a la niña enferma le dio/ Martí coraje, Martí valor/ a ti Maestro, gran pensador,/ va mi canción./ Martí del monte, Martí del sol/ hecho de fuego, sangre y sudor,/ Revolución.

    Oh, oh, oh, oh,/ Oh, oh, oh, oh,/ para su amigo Manuel Mercado/ escriba él/ y muchas cartas para Rosario hizo también. / A Rafael Mendive escribió / a ese maestro/ que le enseñó/ que las entrañas del monstruo un día también vivió.

    Oh, oh, oh, oh,/ Martí de carne/ Martí de balas/ sobre un corcel./ Habla de Homero/ y de su Ilíada habló también./ De Guatemala también habló,/ de aquella niña que se murió./ La historia dice que fue de frío/ y él asegura que fue de amor.

    Martí coraje, Martí valor,/ a ti Maestro, gran pensador,/ va mi canción./ Martí del monte, Martí del sol/ hecho de fuego, sangre y sudor/ Revolución./ Los niños guardan La Edad de Oro en el corazón./ Los niños guardan La Edad de Oro en el corazón.

    POLO MONTAÑEZ (June 5, 1955 – November 26, 2002) was a Cuban singer and songwriter.

    Montañez was born Fernando Borrego Linares in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Río, in a farm known as El Brujito. At an early age he worked various jobs including driving a tractor, milking cows, making coal, assisting on the family farm, and as a lumberjack. In his spare time, Montañez would go from house to house singing and later began to sing in local parties and family gatherings.

    In 1994, Montañez formed his own ensemble of family and friends. He quickly became the house act at a resort in the nearby touristic community of Las Terrazas, and in 1999, Montañez signed with European record label Lusafrica after being discovered by one of their directors that was staying at the resort.

    Montañez had his biggest success in March 2000 with his first CD “Guajiro Natural” and the song “Un montón de Estrellas”. He became known as the Guajiro Natural (Natural Countryman) because of his humble personality and songs about the peasant life in Cuba.

    Polo Montañez died on November 26, 2002, six days after being hospitalized in the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital, as a result of a tragic car accident in the Coronela zone near San Cristóbal, Pinar del Río. The Centro Cultural (Cultural Centre) on the main square in Viñales, Pinar del Rio, is named in his memory.

  22. If you want to see the very definition of “plunder,” look up some information on a place called Transnistria. Oh look, it’s right near Romania!!!

  23. In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the American legal system that authorizes plunder. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Professor Steven A. Ramirez, a former Enforcement Attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, about the broken social contract.

    http://ow.ly/hbOv0

    Drown It or Drone It seem to be the best these apologist can do here – not to mention they are loud like American tourists everywhere..

  24. Actually, this site could start moderating comments, not letting them appear until then, and the assh*le would disappear immediately.

  25. “Much less do I believe in the character as true citizens of all those thousands of Cubans who have remained silent and have been satisfied with the least access to the Internet of any country in this hemisphere.”

    More and more on the same vein: I am an authority in the field and I know best … obviously she’s the only one that has character, if not one only protesting in Cuba!… You wonder if MsY will question in the same vein all the pitfalls of democracy or she would settle for a bsJob, BMW and dacha in the country and use self-censorship as excuse – which is the norm in the West…

    Here’s the ongoing CIA series now in its 56 yr *(and it’s not a saga)…in this episode the good AMerican guys have to do bad very bad things in the name of democracy and freedom and we ‘the little people’ are supposed to agree with them or else we are the bad guys:
    CIA’s secret prison: ‘Poland dragging out investigation’

    http://rt.com/news/poland-investigation-cia-prisons-839/

  26. THE CHAVEZ TELENOVELA CONTINUES ON ITS SECOND MONTH! HOW LONG CAN THE WORLD COMMUNITY BUY THIS BAD AND BLATANTLY DECEITFUL SCRIPT!

    ABC NEWS: Venezuela Congress Chief to Visit Chavez in Cuba – By IAN JAMES Associated Press

    The president of Venezuela’s congress said he hopes to return to Cuba this week to see President Hugo Chavez, who is receiving additional treatment nearly seven weeks after undergoing cancer surgery.

    National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello announced his plans during an interview broadcast Sunday, expressing optimism about Chavez’s condition. The president hasn’t been seen or spoken publicly since before his Dec. 11 operation, but Cabello said he was encouraged by Chavez’s recovery when he last saw him about two weeks ago.

    “I hope to go this week, return there to Havana to see the president. And all of us are hoping that, in accordance with the doctors who are treating him, the president can return very soon to Venezuela,” Cabello said in the interview on the Venezuelan channel Televen. “We have hope, and really what we saw the last time gives us great optimism.”

    It was unclear when Cabello planned to make the trip. Other Chavez allies, including Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez and Attorney General Cilia Flores, have also visited Havana multiple times during the president’s long absence. Despite complaints by opponents, Chavez’s inauguration for his new six-year term has been indefinitely postponed.

    The government said on Saturday that during the surgery a “malignant lesion” was removed from Chavez’s pelvis and that his recovery has been favorable. Information Minister Ernesto Villegas also said that Chavez has begun “systemic medical treatment for the fundamental illness.”

    Medical experts consulted by The Associated Press said the government’s latest account of “systemic medical treatment” could mean various types of chemotherapy or drug treatments, depending on the type of cancer.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuela-congress-chief-visit-chavez-cuba-18331212

  27. Incitements to violence and threats against others have always been reasons for which comments, and commentators, can expect to be moderated in this blog. This expectation will be met more frequently from here forward. As there are not enough hours in the day (or night) to continually check every comment… repeat offenders who don’t appear able to control themselves will simply be blocked from commenting.

    YFET

  28. An amazing article in the January 28, 2013 issue of The New Yorker describes the havoc and chaos in Caracas caused by Chavez. Highly recommend it. You’ll probably have to go and buy a copy of the magazine to read the full story, unless you already subscribe, but it is well worth it.

    Letter from Caracas

    Slumlord

    What has Hugo Chávez wrought in Venezuela?

    by Jon Lee Anderson January 28, 2013 .

    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CARACAS about the Tower of David, which is the world’s tallest slum, and the man who runs it, Alexander (El Niño) Daza.

    Hugo Chávez has said that he wants to remake Venezuela into “a sea of happiness and of real social justice and peace.” His pronounced goal was to elevate the poor.

    In Caracas, the country’s capital, the results of his fitful campaign are plain to see. For decades, as one of the world’s most oil-rich nations, Venezuela had a growing middle class, with an impressively high standard of living. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the rest of Latin America and from Europe helped give Caracas a reputation as one of the region’s most attractive and modern cities. That city is barely perceptible today.

    After decades of neglect, poverty, corruption, and social upheaval, Caracas has deteriorated beyond all measure.

    It has one of the highest ho*micide rates in the world; last year, in a city of three million, an estimated thirty-six hundred people were m*urdered, or about one every two hours. The mu*rder rate in Venezuela has tripled since Chávez took office.

    Caracas is a failed city, and the Tower of David is perhaps the ultimate symbol of that failure. The Tower, a ziggurat of mirrored glass topped by a great vertical shaft, rises forty-five stories above the city. It is visible from everywhere in Caracas, which is still mostly a city of modest buildings. The Tower is named after David Brillembourg, a banker who made a fortune during Venezuela’s oil boom, in the seventies.

    In 1990, Brillembourg launched the construction of the complex, which he hoped would become Venezuela’s answer to Wall Street. But he d*ied in 1993, while it was still under construction, and shortly after his de*ath a banking crisis wiped out a third of the country’s financial institutions.

    The construction, sixty per cent complete, came to a halt, and never resumed. Seen from a distance, the Tower gives no indication that there is anything wrong with it. Closer up, however, the irregularities in its facade are clearly evident. In places, glass panels are missing and the gaps have been boarded up; elsewhere satellite dishes poke out like toadstools.

    The whole complex is an unfinished concrete hulk—one in which people are living. Roughly built brick houses, similar to the ones that cover the hillsides around Caracas like scabs, have filled vacant spaces between many of the floors. Only the upper floors are open to the air, like platforms for a great wedding cake.

    Guillermo Barrios, the dean of architecture at the Universidad Central, says: “Every regime has its architectural imprimatur, its icon, and I have no doubt that the architectural icon of this regime is the Tower of David. It embodies the urban policy of this regime, which can be defined by confiscation, expropriation, governmental incapacity, and the use of violence.”

    Discusses the personal history of the Tower’s “boss,” Alexander (El Niño) Daza. Asked how he had become the Tower’s jefe, or leader, he pursed his lips and said, “In the beginning, everyone wanted to be the boss. But God got rid of those he wanted to get rid of and left those he wanted to leave.”

    Describes Daza’s religious conversion, and his plans for improving life in the Tower along socialist lines.

    Describes how life is lived inside the Tower: young men with motorbikes operate a mototaxi service for residents on high floors, driving them from street level to the tenth floor of the attached parking garage, from which they can ascend by rudimentary concrete stairwells.

    Daza has installed a generator-powered water pump, and the Tower has several bodegas, a hair salon, and a couple of ad-hoc day-care centers.

    Writer visits with Daza, tours the Tower with him, and attends a church service at which Daza preaches.

    Describes Chávez’s various programs aimed at helping the poor, and his encouragement of invasión—the taking-over of abandoned buildings by the poor and homeless.

    Writer meets various malandros, or thugs, who exercise power in Caracas’s slums by force.

    Writer visits with the leaders of a few slum-based collectives.

    Describes Venezuela’s extremely dangerous and overcrowded prisons, where the cultura malandra has flourished.

    For the writer, it was difficult to tell whether Daza was a malandro or a genuine advocate for the poor, or both. What seemed clear was that he was perfectly adapted to life in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, able to gain advantage by every means: working the gaps left by the government, hustling a capitalist enterprise, and negotiating the criminal underworld when necessary.

  29. QUE EN PAZ DESCANSE MANOLO RODILES PLANA! MAY YOU REST IN PEACE MANOLO RODILES PLANA! YOU CAN SEE MR. RODILES SENIOR SPEAKING ON THIS VIDEO OF THE EVENTS WHEN ANTONIO WAS JAILED. IM SURE ALL THE STRESS OF THIS UNJUST INCARCERATION IS PART OF THE REASON HE DIED!

    Yoani Sánchez: Triste noticia: me informa Angel Santiesteban que ha fallecido Manolo Rodiles Plana, el padre de Antonio Rodiles, Mis condolencias a flia y amigos
    Yoani Sanchez: Sad news: Angel Santiesteban informs me that Manolo Rodiles Plana father Antonio of Antonio Rodiles has died. My condolences to family and friends.

  30. YOU GOT TO LOVE THAT TITLE!

    MIAMI HERALD: The renegade blogger vs. Cuba’s clueless Castros – The author of ‘Havana Real’ is the blogger the Castros love to hate. And for good reason. – By Glenn Garvin

    Havana Real is, in its own way, a more damning indictment of communist society than were the horrifying accounts of Soviet labor camps in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, or Against All Hope, Armando Valladares’ Cuban prison diaries. The stories in those books were dismissible by the Ostrich Left as regrettable but understandable security excesses, like the American prison camps in Guantánamo Bay: After all, they must have done something to be locked up, right? But the only prison in Havana Real is Cuba itself. This is how people live — ordinary people whose only crime is having had the bad luck to be born into a totalitarian suzerainty so suffocatingly potent that children, asked what they want to do when they grow up, reply simply: “Leave.” Sánchez, who describes her first blog post as “halfway between a scream and a question,” often reminds me of a sort of inverted Winston Smith, the doomed little bureaucrat of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Smith rebelled against the totalitarian state of Oceania in the only way he could, by keeping a secret diary in which he scrawled, over and over, “I hate Big Brother!” Sánchez’s resistance to the Castro brothers, too, mostly takes the form of acts that are heartbreakingly futile: her refusal, for instance, to walk the threadbare aisles of Havana’s markets with her shopping bag open.

    “I keep it folded in my pocket, so I don’t look like I’ve been devoured by the machinery of the waiting line, the search for food, the gossip about whether the chicken has arrived at the market,” she writes. “ In the end, I have the same obsession with getting food, but I try not to show it too much.”

    Sometimes the parallels to Smith are stunningly literal. Sánchez recounts in wonder Raúl Castro’s first big speech after taking over for his brother. It was delivered on July 26, 2007, a date that for the Cuban Revolution is the equivalent of the Fourth of July in the United States: the anniversary of the 1954 attack on a military barracks that marked the beginning of Castro’s five-year armed struggle to depose the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

    Sánchez’s modern-day Cuban cowboy stories are reminders of why communist economies don’t break down more completely than they do: the black-market production and distribution channels created by canny peasants to evade state restrictions. In the crumbling cities, even something as basic as water must often be obtained through the black markets. As water mains fail, the residents of have-not neighborhoods must buy from the haves.

    Unlike some of the so-called independent Cuban bloggers who believe that the country’s problems are not systemic but merely an excess of bureaucracy and a few undemocratic individuals in high places, nothing that can’t be cured by a little dose of good-government socialist reform, Sánchez recognizes that the island’s Marxist economics are inextricably intertwined with its political totalitarianism. That’s why, she observes, Cuba’s sporadic economic liberalizations never last long before they’re rolled back.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/26/3202440/the-renegade-blogger-vs-cubas.html

  31. THE TENTACLES OF THE CASTROFASCIST OLIGARCHY MAFIA ARE SETTING FOOT IN THE BAD OLD U.S.A. SO THEY CAN MAKE MONEY, AND I DONT THINK JUST FOR THEMSELVES! IM SURE THE CASTRO CLAN ARE PART OF THIS WEB!

    MIAMI HERALD: Cuban comrade now a house-flipping – High-level defector Pedro Alvarez Borrego has become a house flipper extraordinaire. Some question the source of his stake money – By Juan O. Tamayo

    TAMPA — Pedro Alvarez Borrego, a top Cuban government official who oversaw the nation’s $1.5 billion-a-year food-importing enterprise, is living the American Dream in Tampa a mere two years after he defected.

    Alvarez has bought and sold at least eight homes worth a total value of nearly $600,000 and opened a management company, official records show. He has also reportedly become a consultant on how U.S. businesses can enter the Cuba markets.

    Yet mystery lingers over exactly how the 70-year-old could buy so much real estate so soon after his arrival from Cuba, where he was under criminal investigation in a kickback-for-imports scandal at Alimport, the state monopoly for food imports.

    Before his hasty defection, his job at Alimport made him the powerful main negotiator of contracts with chomping-at-the-bit U.S. exporters that hit a record of $711 million in 2008 and turned the United States into Cuba’s fifth-largest trade partner.

    An economist, Alvarez was named to head Alimport in 1998 and was perfectly positioned in 2000 when the U.S. Congress authorized the cash-only sale of agricultural products to Cuba under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act.

    Cuba was suddenly awash in U.S. visitors looking for sales contracts — including several dozen Congress members, six governors and a who’s who of the leading agriculture companies known as Big Ag.

    “He single-handedly said yes and no to billions in sales,” said John Park Wright IV, a Naples, Fla., businessman who signed several cattle deals with Alimport. Cuba’s global food imports hit $1.6 billion in 2011, according to official Havana figures.

    And in 2003, Alvarez masterminded the controversial scheme under which Alimport pressured U.S. politicians and exporters to sign written pledges that they would lobby the Congress to ease economic sanctions on the island. The pledge might have technically made them agents of the Cuban government, though no one was prosecuted.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/26/3202566/cuban-comrade-now-a-house-flipping.html

  32. it´s great that Damir is here with us, reading his words and comfronting them with reality can clever and freedom loving person find out how much damage can make Castroism on human brain and how much for humanity is Castro and his politics and dangerous…
    in short

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