Gallita / “Cocky hen”

A curious year end in which surprises accumulate, Christmas trees return and sexologists start to use the language of the machistas – the sexists.   Mariela Castro has called me gallita, female cock. In her language as a specialist in gender and sexuality, the word has homophobic connotations.  Perhaps because I am ignorant about the language of her specialty, I fail to understand what she wants to tell me by saddling me with a masculine role in a feminine noun; with regards to grammar, I can boast about knowing a thing or two.  Does she believe that I do the work of a man because I demand my rights and respect for political preferences?  I don’t see the feathers on my tail, but if to be a delicate hen I must accept that a group of septuagenarians—all men—decide every aspect of my life, then I’m inclined to transvestism and will cock-a-doodle-doo like the most testosterone-filled rooster in the barnyard.

In his flowery apron, my husband Reinaldo laughs and confirms that yes, I’m a “cocky hen” with sharpened spurs.  I agree with the prestigious specialist that I am “insignificant,” an anonymous hen who, with her cheep cheep, has managed to inconvenience the fine fighting cocks. The ones with so little experience in debate that at the slightest disagreement they jump up and let feathers fly, lashing out on all sides.  They get upset and end up sticking out their tongues so we can see—inside—the ugly entrails of intolerance, which lately they work so hard to hide.

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41 thoughts on “Gallita / “Cocky hen”

  1. Mikhail, a socialist myself, I have no doubt that socialism will endure, but not the dictatorial, civil liberty denying, Marxist-Leninist “socialism” of Cuba that is dying out throughout the world. In fact there is only one country besides Cuba still practicing this style of “socialism”, namely North Korea. There are other countries (China, Vietnam) whose economies are now largely capitalist even though politically they continue to be one party dictatorships.

    Democratic socialism – which seeks to build a more socially just, egalitarian society – is alive and well in many parts of the world. This form of socialism is the reason western democratic countries have universal education and (with the notable exception of the US) universal health care systems, and strong social safety nets. It is this form of democratic socialism that is increasingly being adopted by countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, not Cuban-style one party rule.

    One of the strengths of democratic societies is their ability to reinvent themselves, unlike Cuba which seems stuck in a time warp “defending” its 50 year old revolution. The corporate greed, deregulation, and privatization mania of the past thirty years went too far. If the melt down of financial markets has a silver lining, it is a renewed appreciation for the role of governments in safeguarding social, economic and ecological well-being, while still retaining the advantages of well-regulated markets in creating prosperity and opportunity.

    I think Cuba can be a very successful country if it has the courage to embrace democracy and openness. In the post-Castro era, Cuba can preserve its accomplishments in education, health care and social welfare, while also respecting all of the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration.

    By the way, I strongly oppose the US embargo against Cuba. In my view, the embargo has been hugely counter-productive in Cubans being able to achieve the more democratic society they deserve.

  2. EJ my oracle! thanks for your profound analysis of my soul, very touching I must say:)

    Johnny boy, I am not claiming to be the “wronged party”, nor am I hurt by it, mildly amused yes:) but I certainly don’t give a rats ass what a bunch of right wing types think of me. I just pointed out that you were rather quick to accuse me of being an apologist when you had no clue about my position on the current Cuban government, and when my post was actually about a very specific incident as well.

    Now you continue to make several assumptions about my position and perspective. VERY 1st world by the way. I think my sociology professor calls it the crime of ethnocentrism;) even if it obviously bothers you to admit it. You are right about one particular point. You ignore that a revolution, which the US carried out as well and nobody seems bent out of shape pointing out that nobody voted for it, is what created the current conditions, the revolution had no choice but to defend itself from the never ending sabotage and attempts at assassination of its leadership. I presume you choose to forget that which its obvious?

    Furthermore the concept of democracy that Cuba has is just different than your concept of parliamentary democracy, there are much larger and better explanations on how the Cuban system of elections works than what I am willing to write up on a thread. Now, you may agree or disagree with it, but you certainly have no right to impose your idea on Cuba. Furthermore I am of the belief that even despicable characters like Yoani should have the right to decide as a Cuban what is to be done there. But there is no way in hell I will support such a position of everyone at the table until and if ALL efforts to destabilize the Cuban government, very real ones by the way, are finished and done with, STARTING with the criminal embargo that Yoani and you so cheerfully ignores. That is one among many conditions that should be created prior to any changes that only Cubans should have a say in. The rest is suicide. Pretty democratic if you ask me.

    As per this idea that elections are actually non-coercive I love to know what country in heaven you live in, because that was just a tad laughable:)

    I believe GENUINE democracy, not this garbage made in USA variety, or the British model, is absolutely a must with social progress. So don’t try to paint me in a light that is utterly false. To think that what we live in is some sort of genuine democracy when if you are not filthy rich your chances of winning an election are nearly nil is offensive to me. But that is a whole other discussion about how “democratic” the rest of the world is, and the hypocrisy of say the USA in dealing with countries with much less democracy than Cuba and not saying a peep about it I never forget.

    Costa Rica?lol listen the only reason they have been able to survive the mess of central american politics is due to the fact that they mostly stayed away from the polemic of the cold war. PLUS nobody made a point of destabilizing them which I know says not a lot to you and your liberalish point of view. Love to see what they would do with an embargo! by the most powerful nation on earth. But if you think for one minute that there is no poverty there, that most of the press is actually owned by a few hands, that in fact as we speak the foolishness of having signed a free trade agreement with the US is hitting the Costa Rican economy like an avalanche, then I suggest next time you are there on vacation you walk the streets a bit.

    So in short a full fledged, genuine socialist democracy to me involves all the citizens, even the crappy ones. But until the conditions are clear that there is no attempt at undermining or destroying the revolution from outside I will simply not support an open door policy, no self respecting leader should as a matter of fact. In the meantime the Cubans in their own way will continue to modify/perfect/push onward with their attempts to make the revolution more representative. The mere fact that Yoani is doing what she is doing shows that the comrades are trying to avoid being too knee jerky and give reactionary forces yes another reason to demonize the revolution. I certainly hope it stays that way, not out of any sympathy for them but because I believe that they will ultimately show their masks in the end.

    Ohh and my manipulative friend, if you are going to try to use a leftist to try to justify your anti revolution agenda then you might as well quote him on this too “The legacy of that revolutionary people(cubans) inspired us during the terrible times of oppression and continues to motivate us to build a better world” or Lula said. He said a lot more than that and not your spin but his actual words.

    In the meantime I will continue to watch the melt down of the “free market” the same system types like Yoani and presumably you are trying to convince Cubans they should adopt. The world is changing in spite of all the very well calculated Yoanis of the world and no amount of Costa Ricas will be enough to save the system. In the end the solution will be Socialism, a very democratic one hopefully that does not need to defend itself from the US. That is what I hope for Cuba who as made an effort of exporting doctors while the US rains bombs. That also I never forget.

  3. Mikhail, your opening post uses words such as these to describe Yoani: “clearly manipulative, “rather twisted,” “anything but fair”, “intellectually corrupt,” and to top it off “part of a machine of professional complainers.” Seems a bit rich for you to turn around and claim to be the wronged party, when I called you a professional apologist.

    Supporting human rights is neither a 1st or 3rd world proposition. As pointed out recently by President Lula de Silva of Brazil, all of the left leaning governments in Latin America (with the exception of Cuba) came to power through democratic, free elections. The Cuban government stands alone in denying its citizens the basic right to render judgment on its policies through regular, free and non-coercive elections.

    And if you think democracy can’t be combined with social progress, poverty reduction and ecological protection, you are wrong. In fact, democracy is an essential ingredient for genuine social progress. A country like Costa Rica has been able to achieve all of these, and a better standard of living for its citizens, without any of the political repression Cubans have to endure.

  4. When one comes accross the Yoanis of this world. one becomes hopeful that there is a possibility of a better future for all of us, when we come accross the Mikhails of this world, one feels pity for the shallowness of some souls.

  5. John John John you must explain where I am being a professional apologist by pointing out the rather gaping holes in her posts? As well her manipulative nature? Truth according to whom by the way? your perspective? suit yourself. Again I love to understand what is so “chilling” about my post. Now this is my FIRST post here and you label me a “professional apologist” lol, talk about knee jerk! or just plain jerk?:) Give me SOME time to post a few comments and then I will gladly assume my role as a professional apologist of the Cuban Revolution ok?:)

    Again my friend I don’t remember saying that Cuba was some sort of paradise, but unlike you and this tiresome liberalish tripe you just listed, I look at things from a historical perspective. And when it comes to Cuba there is plenty of reasons to pause for a moment and look at just why things are as they are. A question this woman never bothers to ask. And Moska to put your mind at ease I was told by Fidel Castro himself to put a post on here, feel better already?:)When I start hearing this business about “media” being free in the western world (which is what I assume you are referring to John) I can only laugh thinking of the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world and criminals like Conrad Black.

    You further discredit your argument by assuming she is the only one who “complains” in my experience of Cuba there is plenty of that going on as we speak and in a whole lot more progressive perspective. Trust me I KNOW she writes for you, and I understand why she might appeal to your sense of the world, but from someone with a 3rd world perspective like me I just don’t buy it, further, if its concern for a “impoverished and backward economy” you have. I am sure you can freely point around the map to plenty of capitalist “democracies” who make poverty a rule rather than the exception with nothing of the social gains of the Cuban Revolution. Which by the way are also human rights.

    I have got to LOVE how these defenders of “freedom of expression” lose a few brain cells and get all bent out of shape when they run into someone not willing to swallow this manipulative tripe. For the record Moska, it may be true that every man has a price, but by god, yours was really low;) you may continue wishing for the same thing, your predecessors, the Batistianos, the Platt fanatics hoped for. But all you are doing is ignoring history and worse yet, CURRENT history. As the viability and credibility of the capitalist system gets an ever bigger hole in it, as Latin America almost unanimously swings left your comments are nearly a laugh, but ultimately really a cry….;)

  6. John, you hit the nail on the head, with your post. Mikhail is obviously a colaborator and one of those who receive a ‘javita” for their efforts to keep the elite few in power. Thank you again Yoani for your posts.The ruling powers have for years lies and twisted the truth to fool its people They no longer are the only word.

  7. Mikhail, you’re obviously much more of a professional apologist than Yoani is a professional complainer. Indeed it is so “unfair” and “manipulative” to speak truth to power. Infuriating, isn’t it? Your post would be amusing if it wasn’t so chilling.

    Seems to me that Yoani has plenty of valid reasons for complaint. Lack of free expression and media, lack of political pluralism, denial of the right to travel freely, an impoverished and backward economy being among them. How many of us would have Yoani’s courage to “complain”” were we in her situation?

  8. Es muy facil juzgar desde la atalaya protegida por una revolucion fracasada y desprestigiada, Mariela no tiene derecho moral en emitir juicio, ella es parte de la gran mentira cubana, ademas, que ha hecho esta dama para elevar la condicion humana de sus compatriotas? …Ademas ella a mi me da asco como ser humano.

  9. What a profoundly manipulative angle, I have had my suspicions on this character for a long time already, but look at some facts. Apparently Yoani has a profound interest in sexual health issues all of a sudden? so much so that she uses the opportunity to ask Mariela about POLITICS, she refuses to play the game of provocation. She manipulates the use of the word “gallita” which to every Cuban that knows anything, it merely means someone who wants to start an argument. It is clearly manipulative that in her note this character completely avoids the very pointed accusations that Mariela makes. Concentrating on two key words to make a rather twisted point. That is the type of infuriating and manipulative “opinions” that are anything but fair. This may be amusing to those who think logic is a foreign concept. This woman is intellectually corrupt, simple as that. She is merely part of a machine of professional complainers.

  10. Following the link on this post, did anyone else find it ironic what Mariela said about Yoani needing men to defend her meanwhile Mariela made her way through the government’s ranks precisely because of who her father and uncle are?

    De Mariela: “No preguntó más. Tal vez no supo desarrollar su misión monotemática, pero cumplió su tarea. Algunos medios de comunicación del mundo estaban esperando para divulgar su fabulación. ¡Pobre mujer! Está presa en el círculo vicioso del machismo universal. Tiene Amo en su casa, que responde por ella, sobre todo cuando es interpelada por otro hombre, pero tiene otro más poderoso que le compra su honestidad intelectual. Las especialistas del CENESEX estaríamos muy complacidas de ayudarla a librarse de ese padecimiento común.”

    Feliz navidad a todos los blogueros y comentaristas cubanos y extranjeros!

  11. “John dice: 20 Diciembre 2008 a las 00:27

    “….it’s easy to understand why Mariela would side with the Castro regime’s highly selective approach to human rights. ”

    Are you sure that she does? What do you think would happen if she publicly called her uncle and father and their chief associates tyrants and toturers, as you seem to suggest she should?

    Listen, there are quite a few survivors of the German death camps of the Second World War who have thanked some of the guards for saving their lives and those of others. What would you do, hang those who tried to mitigate the suffering alongside those who relished adding to it?

    “It’s harder to understand why some so-called “progressives” in democratic countries are so quick to defend or rationalize the regime’s repeated and serious violations of basic human rights and democratic freedoms,…”

    Everything is relative. Try putting the Castro regime’s human rights transgressions in the context of the US-backed military dictatorships of Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, and Brazil.

    “…violations that these “progressives” would not for one moment tolerate in their own country.”

    I think you have a very inflated idea of the power of “progressives”, so-called or otherwise, and of the protection of basic human rights and of democratic freedoms in democratic countries.

    Russia is a democracy, and so is Israel. Turkey too. You need to broaden your horizons.

  12. Otropogo, I am prepared to give Mariela Castro credit in one area – namely advancing the human rights of Cubans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

    However, like Yoani and unlike Mariela, I think human rights are indivisible. You shouldn’t select certain ones (such as LGBT rights) and say they are important, but then say other ones (e.g. freedom of expression and media, right to travel, democratic rights) are either unimportant or aren’t my department (to paraphrase Mariela’s response).

    On one level, it’s easy to understand why Mariela would side with the Castro regime’s highly selective approach to human rights. It’s harder to understand why some so-called “progressives” in democratic countries are so quick to defend or rationalize the regime’s repeated and serious violations of basic human rights and democratic freedoms, violations that these “progressives” would not for one moment tolerate in their own country.

  13. Yoani, thanks for your revealing journal work, we enjoy your writing and apreciate the work the translators do. God Bless you All for helping expose a Regime that has milked its population and deprived its citizens of most basic rights. Cuba’s ELITE live life LARGE (ALL CASTROS FAMILY), while the population has to EAT CROW. More people need to ask more questions of why the government does not meet its peoples needs. DEMAND CHANGE IN MASSES and continue the support. I would like to send Yoani a nice elegant perfume for Christmas any advise would help.

  14. karmen dice:
    19 Diciembre 2008 a las 08:40
    Shame on mariela!
    Good job yoani, congratulations!!!

    FREEDOM FOR CUBA!!

  15. “ER dice: 18 Diciembre 2008 a las 22:35

    “The offended princess”
    A fellow Desde Cuba blogger responds — and how! — to the Mariela/Yoani debate Read it here:
    http://desdecuba.com/sin_evasion_en/?p=49

    Was Mariela responsible for this persecution of sexual deviants “during the 60s and part of the 70s”?

    If not, why do you expect her to answer for it?

    On the one hand, she’s accused of being a powerful member of the government, and on the other, ridiculed as a spoiled child who wastes public funds playing at “research”.

    I’m quite sure she can’t be guilty of both of the above offenses.

    I don’t know her stature as a researcher, and I have my doubts that meaningful research is even possible (and not just in Cuba!) before the subject is liberated from the strict, and often draconian, communal, religious, and legal constraints on sexual freedom.

    But anyone who champions open and free discussion of sexuality is a promoter of human rights. As Wilhelm Reich preached, social oppression begins with sexual repression.

  16. I’ve never had a problem switching back and forth between the Spanish page and the English one until just now.

    This evening, I get the following error message:

    Fatal error: Call to a member function read() on a non-object in /mnt/web2/43/11/51093311/htdocs/_desdecuba.com/generaciony/wp-includes/theme.php on line 115.

    If the Spanish page is on a separate server, maybe it’s just gotten overloaded. There seem to be thousands of comments there every day. OTOH, maybe it’s been blocked.

    BTW – the last “Anonimo” post was mine. I simply forgot to enter my information before I hit “enviar”

  17. BTA: I, too, have had some problems opening the Spanish site this evening. But I have been able to access it several times. Keep trying. And I’ll keep my eye on it and let you know if I hear anything about it.

  18. I can’t open the spanish version of this page neither from the book mark in my compute,r in goggle or the link on this page. What’s going on? I will love to read the real stuff in spanish. In English does not have the same flavor

  19. “John dice: 18 Diciembre 2008 a las 18:39

    Otropogo, playing nice in the face of oppression isn’t always the best strategy….
    And, give me a break. Mariela Castro isn’t some defenceless person. She is the daughter of the President ”

    So attack the daughter because you can’t attack the father? Very noble!

    “and occupies a powerful position in the Cuban government.”

    Please, you’re making me laugh!

    “Yoani exposed Mariela as a person who is very selective when to comes to which human rights she is prepared to defend. ”

    One does what one can. When there is so much evil in the world, how can you justify attacking someone who’s working to better it, just because you want them to do more?

    “Good for Yoani and shame on Mariela.”

    If Mariela Castro cares about human rights beyond the sexual sphere, then she doesn’t need any help to be ashamed. As the daughter of the President and the niece of Fidel, she’s in a position to speak for those rights, and perhaps she does. Yoani’s theatrics have undermined that potential for positive influence.

    “Anónimo dice: 18 Diciembre 2008 a las 20:40

    Otropogo:
    Mariela Castro a: ”a natural ally” of Yoani????? HAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahah nice joke man….”

    Why, do Yoani and her associates have a plan for replacing the entire governmental hierarchy of Cuba at one stroke? If not, does Ms Castro really deserve to be singled out for “shaming”?

    The Sandinistas found ways to work with members and supporters of the previous regime, and with members of the American government, and they had a lot more to complain about…

    Unless Cubans want a chaotic collapse of the government, likely followed by a lengthy occupation by US troops, they’ll have to find allies in the existing leadership and work together for a peaceful transition toward a more open society.

  20. Hola Yoani,
    Dice Mariela Castro que aparte de ser una gallinita insignificante recibes honorarios de los EUA. Como Mariela no dice que ella sin embargo tienes las cuentas de banco abarrotadas en Europa de todo el dinero que le roba al pueblo y al patrimonia cubano. Que tiene los negocios en Cuba y en el extranjero que ellos mismos le prohiben al cubano tener ni siquiera en Cuba mucho menos en el exterior. Dale duro a esta gente que se aprovechan de la ignorancia del pueblo cubano. Sigue ahi con tu verdad que muchos te apoyamos y seguimos.
    Viva Yoani
    Viva el capitalismo
    Vivan los derechos humanos
    Viva la libertad

  21. Otropogo:
    Mariela Castro a: ”a natural ally” of Yoani????? HAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahah nice joke man….

  22. Otropogo, playing nice in the face of oppression isn’t always the best strategy. Rosa Parks refusing to sit at the back of the bus, the sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, Martin Luther King leading the march to Washington, and Lech Welesa forming an independent trade union were all actions that in their day were no doubt upsetting to some people. But, these actions also contributed to bringing about positive change in advancing the cause of human rights and democratic freedoms.

    And, give me a break. Mariela Castro isn’t some defenceless person. She is the daughter of the President and occupies a powerful position in the Cuban government. Yoani exposed Mariela as a person who is very selective when to comes to which human rights she is prepared to defend. Good for Yoani and shame on Mariela.

  23. Sr. Silva, el blog esta en 13 idiomas. Ella escribe en espanol y cada post recibe miles de comentarios en su idioma.

  24. OTROPOGO, NO IMPORTA QUIEN ERES O DE DONDE VENGAS, TE PICA QUE ALGUIEN SE LE ENFRENTE A LOS ATORRANTES DE LA REVOLUCION.
    SI, YOANI ES UNA GALLINITA PERO DE LAS KIKIRIKIS, QUE SON MAS PELEADORAS QUE LAS REGULARES.
    YOANI, ME QUITO EL SOMBRERO ANTE TI , SIGUE ADELANTE HASTA QUE TODOS ESTOS CIEGOS ESTUPIDOS SE DEN CUENTA DE LA REALIDAD DE NUESTRA PATRIA
    FELICES NAVIDADES Y AÑO NUEVO PARA TI Y TU FAMILIA Y AL RESTO DE MI PUEBLO, QUE VENGA UN CAMBIO Y QUE EL AÑO VIEJO , SE LLEVE AL OTRO VIEJO CON EL.

  25. Yoani, you are so brave, “una gallita coj.onuda”:-). Only Cubans or people who are familiar with the life of regular Cubans can understand why. Mariela is trying to give an image of changes but that’s a lie. She lives as a queen in Havana.
    Good luck!!!

  26. This confrontation makes me wonder about Yoani’s priorities and sincerity.

    I feel that Mariela Castro had reason to be upset with Yoani.

    If she finds fault with Mariela’s work, then fine, let her speak out about it. But what is the point, and where is the fairness, of forcing her to publicly justify or renounce other policies of the government leadership?

    Mariela was blindsided with a question that was unrelated to her work and to the occasion, and to which she couldn’t possibly respond candidly.

    It seems to me that Yoani embarrassed and alienated a natural ally for no good reason.

    PS: “cocky hen”,yes; “female rooster”, maybe; “female cock”, nyet.

  27. I just wanted to thank the translators myself, for making this blog available to us monolingual English speakers. La Gallita would make a great name for a feisty website! Or should that be El Gallita? I defer to the experts.

  28. I didn’t even notice the link before… Seems like Yoani make a hell of an impact on Mariela Castro. Good on her for posting this and good on her for posting the video!

  29. After reading Mariela’s insulting post by following the link, all I can do is admire Yoani’s incredible courage and fearlessness. The regime must feel very threatened by Yoani’s growing international popularity. Far from being progressive, Yoani exposes the regime as the authoritarian thugs that they are.

    As another indicator of this, twice in the last 24 hours, I’ve posted comments on the http://www.havanatimes.org website only to have the comments deleted within a few hours of being posted.

    This is my most recent attempted post on Havana Times:
    “Why did you delete the comment I submitted in last night? Was it because I said your site is boring and not open-minded? Or is it because I said none of your writers hold a candle to Yoani Sanchez (my favorite Cuban blogger) for insight, clarity of writing, and being unfraid to express an opinion? Oh, and by the way, deleting comments such as mine is not moderation, it’s censorship.” My first attempted post was even milder but was vaporized nonetheless.

    Havana Times claims to be “balanced” and an “open-minded” source of information about Cuba. In reality, it’s a ham-fisted attempt to get the regime’s spin out in the face of the increasing influence of Cuba’s independent blogging community.

  30. I would like to congratulate the translator.

    “gallita” is very difficult to translate. “Gallita” is a derivation
    of “gallo”(cock) with the addition of “ita” that changes the
    “gallo” in a little feminine thing.

    From “perro”(dog), we make “perra”(female dog), and then “perrita”(little female dog)

    The problem is that “gallo”(cock) has the irregular feminine “gallina”(hen); therefore
    the construction “gallita” does not mean quite the same than “gallinita.”

    This kind of things is what make translation so fun… and so difficult.

    Congratulations

    Gabriel

  31. Yoani:

    That was the single, best public criticism I have read this year. waht a great way to sign off for 2008. I don’t think you should post again until 2009. End the year on this high-note. You are one fine fighting hen!

    Congratulations,

    Brad Mills

  32. As I’ve said here before, translating Yoani’s blog is always a group effort, but today, in particular, I want to acknowledge two co-translators (who shall remain nameless). Without them this entry would have failed to adequately reflect Yoani’s great prose but with them, working together, I think we managed to capture the essence of Yoani’s words.

  33. Well!!!! little steam coming out the top. Maybe she was referring to the size of the birds brain, just my take.
    Ontario Canada

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