Hourglass

Every day I run into someone who’s been disillusioned and has withdrawn their support for the Cuban process.  There are those who turn in their Communist Party cards and emigrate to their married daughters in Italy, or those who concentrate on the peaceful work of caring for their grandchildren and waiting in line for bread.  They shift from betraying to conspiring, from monitoring to corruption, and even change their listening tastes from Radio Rebelde to Radio Martí.  All this conversion—slow in some, dizzyingly fast in others—I sense it all around me, as if under the island sun thousands have shed their skin.  However, this process of metamorphosis only happens in one direction.  I haven’t run into anyone—and I know a lot of people—who has gone from disbelief to loyalty, who has begun to trust in the speeches after years of criticizing them.

Mathematics confronts us with certain infallible truths: the number of those dissatisfied grows, but the group of those who applaud gains no new “souls.”  As in an hourglass, every day hundreds of the small particles of the disillusioned come to a stop just opposite the place where they once were.  They slide down to the mound formed by us: the skeptics, the excluded and the immense chorus of the indifferent.  Now there is no return to the side of confidence, because no hand will be able to turn the hourglass, raising up that which today is definitely down.  The time to multiply and add passed a short while ago, now the abacuses operate always by subtracting, marking the interminable flight in a single direction.

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Hourglass

  1. I just read that critics in the US want Radio Marti to be shut down because they don’t think anyone hears it.

  2. Reply to #37 and #39.

    Even if true (and it’s a big if), to equate alleged experimentation on foetuses to find a cure to Parkinson’s at Molina’s former neurosurgery institute to Nazi experimentation on living human beings is a stretch to say the least. Ever heard of Godwin’s Law?

  3. I have read some articles about the travel bill and have written my legislators to support it. Has anyone heard if it has a chance of passing? What’s the scoop?

  4. “So, the Genie said, you’d like to live like this man lives?”

    “No, said the Cuban, I want HIM to live like I do.”

    Sending this ALL OVER! Whole blog. and posting to my facebook. Thanks all.

  5. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Do leave a comment re the TRAVEL bill. I will myself today.. May use excerpts from here when I do.
    Here is an easier link. It goes right to the bill.

    washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_SN_428.html

    I will be posting this ‘Action’ on Change.org. If you can use the internet you can join Change.org. I have contacts there
    from Russia, Uganda, Argentina, and the Phillipines …plus over 100,000 Americans who care for various ‘Causes’ here,
    Poverty, Homelessness, Women’s Rights, Global Health, Global Warming… one cause is IMMIGRATION, where I posted an
    ‘Action’ to read GEN Y. I know some do because of that.

  6. #39

    I am open minded
    What I am saying is that just because one person that we do not know say so does not mean it is so.
    In any case this if it happened was probably authorized at government levels and maybe encourage by the Cuban government.

    It is just hard to believe. They will do something like that.

    On the other hand this comments maybe incited by the Cuban government in order to discredit Hilda Molina.

    As you know is not the first time they will do something like that.

  7. a comment on 37.

    I will have to say that the comments made by the nurse are her un-confirm comments if there is some sort of corroboration from other independent sources then it will be believable.
    Could that be true?

    I have reasonable Doubt.

  8. mechape dice: 21 Febrero 2009 a las 03:25
    000000000000000000

    Sorry sir, I am very bad in interpretations that’s why I don’t understand your point………. can you explain, please???

  9. You are too young to judge the time.

    I was listening to radio “Golos Svobodi” and russian BBC service
    after this many western propaganda, zionist propaganda, religious and satanistic cults.

    So what ? You are what you is. Listen to your inner voice most – thats the truth.

  10. To translator – this, I admit is nitpicking – but in the first sentence “One day I run into..” should read “One day I ran into…”

    Esto es todo. Gracias.

  11. #31, I don’t think Hilda Molina deserves that cheap shot. According to her Wikipedia entry, Molina made a principled decision to resign from the National Assembly and her position in the Cuban health system because she disagreed with the Castro government’s decision to use neurosurgery as a cash cow to earn foreign exchange, rather than to serve the needs of the Cuban people.

    Molina is paying a terrible price for her disloyalty to the regime, including ongoing separation from her mother and children. While Molina broke with the regime some time ago, she’s still a good example of what Yoani is talking about in her blog posting. For this, Molina deserves praise, not criticism.

  12. “Don’t Step on my Toe” Robolution.
    Hilda Molina was a fierce defender of the system, until the Robolution stepped on her toes.

  13. I like to comment on this

    “communism without terror remains a meaningless concept.”

    I have read many of Karl Marx books and the interesting part is that in his books nothing is mentioned about terror.

    I think is a byproduct of his dictatorship of the proletariat. Something they could not foretell.
    Nobody has describe this better in literature than the fable “Animal Farm” by the English writer George Orwell also in “1984”.
    In Animal Farm he does not talk of communism but we automatically think of communism when reading it but the truth is that it describe the life under a tyranny the tyranny of the few as oppose to democracy (the tyranny of the majority).

    I remember comparing notes about the system with a Russian friend here in the US. An our system were so imensily alike, we had so much in common to tell! This amazed me since Russian culture is so different than Cuban.
    The recipe applied to Russia, to Cuba and many other countries of Easter Europe is very probably now been apply to Venezuela by Hugo Chavez.

    Notice with Chavez he is little by little taking away freedom and changing the constitution.
    Little by little under the masterful guide of Fidel Castro Chavez is taking Venezuela to the same path.
    How did people change minds in a vote? Is it by coercion or did they fake the results of the election?
    As we know people had voted and that proposal of him being re electable and it was defeated originally!

    With Chavez it looks like apparently they(Communist) have learn to coexist with opposition. But if you look closely then you can ask.

    Have they?

    How can this be happening then? That he gets a majority?
    Is he buying the votes? from Venezuela’s poor?
    Is he using coercion?
    Have the Venezuelan not learn anything from the Cuban experiences?

    I guess this goes back to the Cuban saying of

    Nobody can experience pain by proxy.
    They have to learn it on their own.

    Once they learn their lesson it maybe too late and maybe they will not have a legal way to kick Chavez out thru elections like it is now for Cubans.

  14. A moving story from “SilentVoice” showing that everything – even the jokes – is stuck in a time warp! The early 60s original of the first had Nikita Kruschev boasting that “Soviet Man” had flown higher, faster, and even in space, before being asked by a member of the audience, “Yes, but when will Soviet Man be able to fly to Paris?” At the next meeting everyone wanted to know what had happened to the hapless “comrade.”
    There is a further story from that era which may be significant. Rather than a fictitious “blockade” Kruschev blamed all the problems of socialism on the mistakes of his predecessor, Stalin. During one such tirade, someone shouted from the back of the room, “You were there! Why didn’t you do something?!” Kruschev asked “Who said that?” and allowed the silence to drag on for some time. “Now you know why!” The point is, faces may change but communism without terror remains a meaningless concept.

  15. For those occasional posters that say that she only focuses on the negative, that was a very optimistic posting by Yoani. The so-called revolution is losing the support of younger Cubans. Even state sanctioned media like the Havana Times can’t hide that fact. Better things lie in Cuba’s future, and this future may arrive faster than many think.

  16. This jokes above on 22 especially this part

    “Maybe he got a threatening message. Maybe his son lost some privileges at school. Maybe he got a ticket for an expired license. Maybe his paycheck was docked for that time three weeks ago when he was late for work. Nothing official, but he got the message.”

    Andy that is the way the Cuban government works that is how they coerce people into doing what they do not want to do of their own will.

    Because they totally control your life.
    They control what you do for a living.
    They control how much money you make.
    They control if your children can go to one school or another or if they are allow to study in the University.

    As you can see with so much control over other peoples live they probably feel like GOD.

    Is n’t that HORRIBLE?
    That a few twisted individuals have so much control over 11 millions of people?
    and even after you decide to go on exile they still control you thru your family!

    That fragment explains very well how they control people and the fears they place in peoples mind.
    That is why for many outsiders is so hard to understand why people let this happened to them and do not actively look for change.

    All of this did not happened overnight. Little by little Cubans lost privileges and freedoms until they got to the point of today.

    I was remembering now reading many years back the last sentence of Karl Marx Communist Manifesto not by my own choice since it was required reading at my university where he said

    “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world, Unite!”

    Cubans are now at that stage were they have nothing else to loose but their own life!
    So we can easily paraphrase Karl Marx and say

    “Let the ruling classes of the Cuban Communistic revolution tremble.
    The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. and the have a world to win.
    Cubans of the world, Unite!”.

  17. eMu dice: 19 Febrero 2009 a las 11:05

    People listen to Radio Marti?
    00000000000000000000000000

    When I was in Cuba I listened Radio Marti despite the powerful interference the tyranny put on it. It was very difficult to hear but I managed to do it anyway. I also listened Radio Mambi and La Cubanisima two cuban radio stations from Miami. I listened Radio Netherlands (Holland) and BBC radio (UK). Many people listened and still listen for those radio stations. I used to comment the news I listened with my neighbors, family and coworkers. The most of them listened for those radio stations too. We also listened for “La Voz del Tachira” and other Venezuelans radio stations. Today I know that the people in Cuba still use to listen for all the above named radio stations, the only difference is that nowadays people listen for Venezuela’s radio stations only to know the last drags of Tachira’s State Lottery that is used by the illegal lottery runners in Cuba as the “official drag”!!!

  18. #22 and #21 No apologies needed! Great story and I went and checked out the blog afterwards. Timoteo — keep writing!

  19. I am sorry for doing this but the link by timoteo is really good and I think everyone else should read it so I am adding it here

    His name was Ricardo. He was speaking to my group of American Students in a private home on the south side of Havana. It was our last day in Cuba and these students had seen the poverty of the streets, the crumbling conditions of once beautiful buildings, the unhealthy conditions of rural hospitals. They met a man who had been incarcerated for nearly three decades for his opposition the Castro regime and they had viewed the Libreta (ration booklet) of a family that could not afford to supplement the government’s meager allotment of food. But Ricardo was the first man who had agreed to speak with them freely.

    “I’ll answer your questions honestly,” he said.

    There were conditions, of course. There always are. First, the students had to agree not to write about him or to use his name on the Internet. He told of a friend whose family suffered a long string of “problems” after the friend’s opinions were published on the Internet. Second, the students could not take pictures or video of him. (Well, maybe a few pictures if you give him a copy.) Third, his children really need shoes.

    I was only half listening to the interpreter, so I wasn’t sure what he was saying about shoes. He didn’t ask for shoes. He didn’t ask for money for shoes. No Internet. No video. And, by the way, his children don’t have shoes.

    As he began to tell about his life and his work in the sugar fields, I noticed something being passed around among the students. When it got to me, I saw that it was an envelope stuffed with dollars and chavitos (Cuban Tourist Dollars). It simply said “shoes” on the envelope. Apparently my students understood perfectly what he was saying.

    “Do most Cubans want the Castros to die or lose power?” a student asked. I was stunned by this abrupt introduction to the Q and A, but our guest was not fazed.

    “Many do, but many don’t,” he said without elaboration.

    “How can some Cubans not want something better?” another student asked.

    I was with them. How can it be that some still believe Fidel’s smooth tongue after fifty years of broken promises and unfulfilled rhetoric? How can they buy Raul’s promises of a more open system and a better economy? How can it be that they won’t fight for better health care, or freedom of speech? I didn’t understand. Ricardo was as interested in hearing the questions as my students were in hearing his answers. He explained the history and economy of Cuba and the “diabolically brilliant” mind of Castro.

    “Fidel has convince many people that the problems of Cuba are the result of the American ‘blockade.’ He tells them that if they give in, the U.S. will take Cuba and its heritage and destroy it. People will be without health care and food. The rich capitalists will use up Cuba’s resources and leave it in worse condition than ever.”

    He had a point, I thought. It brought to mind our involvement “helping” other countries.

    “But I’ve heard that Raul Castro has made changes,” said one student with his native sarcasm. “He’s had public meetings to seek input for a more efficient system, loosened restrictions on access to tourist destinations, and allowed cell phone use. Right?”

    “Yes, some of the rules have changed,” Ricardo agreed, “and that’s good for the image of Cuba abroad, but it changes nothing for me. A night in a hotel – a cheap hotel – costs three months of my salary. And while I’d love to have a cell phone, I could have had one before if I had a rich Miami relative and put it in his name. Legal or not, I cannot afford a phone and my ability to afford one is controlled by the Cuban government. We have a phrase: Raúl Castro es el mismo perro con diferente collar,” he said. Same dog, different collar.

    “Oh, and we have a joke about those public meetings,” he said. “At the first meeting, a party leader came to the large auditorium and it was filled with people. He talked about the sweeping changes meant to improve conditions. When he was done he asked if anyone had any questions. One man raised his hand and asked why the chocolate in our stores so bad? The leader said he didn’t know the answer to that question, but he would check on that and report back at the next meeting.”

    “At the next meeting the room filled again and the party officials made their comments. When they were finished the party leader asked again if there were any questions. A different man raised his hand. The leader asked him if he too wanted to know about the chocolate in the stores.”

    “‘No, the man said, I want to know where the man is that asked the question about the chocolate at the last meeting.”

    When Ricardo finished the story he chuckled at his own humor. The students were horrified. “That’s not funny,” I heard one of them say.

    “It’s a joke, but that’s how it works,” Ricardo said.

    “But the man in the joke, what happened to him – hypothetically,” asked a girl on the edge of tears.

    “Maybe he got a threatening message. Maybe his son lost some privileges at school. Maybe he got a ticket for an expired license. Maybe his paycheck was docked for that time three weeks ago when he was late for work. Nothing official, but he got the message.”

    “We tell jokes about it because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying,” he added. “I still don’t understand why more people don’t want things to change. Why they follow Fidel or Raul. Why things are so slow to change even after Fidel has given up his presidency,” I said.

    Ricardo took a long breath. “There’s a story we tell in Cuba,” he said, “another joke. It will help you understand the psychology of some Cubans.”

    I looked around the room. Ricardo had the undivided attention of every student.

    “There were three men walking down the beach together,” he began. ”One was an American, one was a Cuban, and the third was a Russian.”

    Ricardo laughed. “Already you know this is a joke, right? Because Cubans are not allowed on the beaches with the tourists. . .”

    A few students chuckled nervously.

    “But let me continue. They came upon lamp that was partially buried in sand and covered with tarnish and dirt. The three of them had heard of such lamps and they frantically cleaned it and polished it. Finally a genie emerged, thankful for his release. I’m sorry, said the Genie, but I only have three wishes and therefore I can grant only one to each of you.”

    “You are first, he said to the Russian.”

    “I would like to own all of the oil fields in Siberia so that my family might be wealthy for generations to come, the Russian said. “

    “Your wish is granted, said the genie.”

    “And you, he said pointing to the American.”

    “I would like to be wealthier than Bill Gates, said the American.”

    “The Genie snapped his fingers and granted the American’s wish.”

    “And you, he asked the Cuban, what do you want?”

    “I know of a man who lives in Havana, said the Cuban. He has a beautiful house with many bedrooms and bathrooms. It has a swimming pool and a three-car garage. He also has a home on Varadero, the most beautiful beach in the world. He has four cars, and money in three different banks.”

    “So, the Genie said, you’d like to live like this man lives?”

    “No, said the Cuban, I want HIM to live like I do.”

  20. I hope that one day soon Cubans can travel freely, express themselves freely, and pursue the life goals they choose. I just returned from travel there and know that change will not come easily or cheaply. I’ve been writing a blog about my experiences. Of course I have to change some of the names to protect my friends. http://talkingcuba.wordpress.com/

  21. placeholder comments

    note to readers: the spam filter continues to eat “valid” comments… I think I might be able to rescue them by posting “empty” comments and then cutting and pasting the blocked comments into the placeholders… I am going to try.

    OK… it seemed to work… my apologies to those of you who had to wait for your comments to appear.

  22. A corn IS a callus :-))
    At least winning WWII means we managed to hold on to Greenwich Mean Time here in Blighty. Hitler reset the clocks in France to Berlin Time and they’ve never worked out how to turn them back :-))
    I’m afraid the sands of time mean little in a place like Cuba, however. Were it otherwise, they might not be stuck in 1930’s Stalinism.

  23. S.428 Thats The US Senate Bill on US Citizens being able to travel FREELY to Cuba. One can vote on it at http://www.Washingtonwatch.com/bills

    At this point it’s 75 % for and 25 against, and you can leave a message. This bill was read twice and sent to comittee on 02-12-09…

    >>>>English Translator: I modified the link… because you put a period at the end of the sentence, it got attached to the link and it didn’t work.<<<<<

  24. Remember in Cuba we used to have a saying

    “A nadie le duele el cayo hasta que se lo pisen”

    Translated literally means

    “Nobody complains about pain on a callus until some else steps on it”

    What this saying means is people do not experience pain by proxy they have to experienced by themselves to know how bad is it. That is what we believe of many of this people that lend them self as arms and eyes of the dictatorship. But once they experienced themselves you can see they all agree with us about the unjusts treatment by the tyranny.

  25. From that article

    “No pueden verlo todos (los visitantes). Recibió a las dos presidentas porque son dos damas. Así lo dijeron ellas cuando lo solicitaron”, dijo el general Castro a periodistas en el Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí, de La Habana, informó EFE.

    He can not see everybody (The visitors). He attended the two president because they are Ladies….

  26. I am not sure there is any message sent.

    I read in article on

    http://www.cubaencuentro.com/es/cuba/noticias/raul-castro-fidel-recibio-a-las-presidentas-de-argentina-y-chile-porque-son-damas-157117

    that Fidel consented to the visit by the Argentinian President and then did the same with the Chilean for being women.

    Why are they interested in seen him I had no idea. I assume the Argentinian could be asking for the release of Hilda (A Cuban doctor who’s brain is considered national patrimony) this are the textual words express by Fidel Castro for not letting her go to meet with her son and family in Argentina. Naturally this is my own speculation.

  27. I’m repeating this comment from the last post since the discussion is much easier to follow if we keep moving it forward to the latest post… And I made this comment just before this new post appeared.
    000000000000000000000

    Hey folks, we got off track here, with Raul the jamonero… my original question was… why the great trek to Cuba by Latin American presidents? They’re crossing on the tarmac. Lining up to kiss the sacred feet. (And the women, only the women, are getting their pics taken. Why is that? I read Fidel is “too busy” to meet all the men. Doing what? Dying? We can only hope.)

    But WHAT IS THE MESSAGE THAT IS BEING SENT HERE? AND TO WHOM IS IT BEING SENT?

    The home team? (That didn’t work out too well for Madame Bachelet.) Obama? What is the interest of these presidents in cuddling up to the great disaster?

    Any ideas anyone?

  28. If I’m not mistaken all the times on this blog are based on the time in Germany, where it is hosted. I’m not really sure.

  29. Yoani, thanks for the good news. It confirms what many of us hope and think is occurring on the island. It shows that all the efforts are slowly but surely bearing fruit.

    On the one hand we have a rapidly decaying corpse, which not even the Spanish “medico chino” Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido will be able to save (for prolonging the agony of the cuban people, I hope he is never allowed in Cuba once it is free).

    On the other hand, we have what is perfectly exemplified in the picture: People slipping through the fingers of the Castro dynasty, regardless of what the self serving foreigners do to maintain the status quo.

    The article is a wonderful thought to wake up to this morning.

  30. English Translator: Have you notice that the time posted on the message does not agree with the time the message is been sent?

    Does this has to do with the local time from were the message is coming from?

Comments are closed.