Notice of repairs

Just this once I am going to adopt the vocabulary of the dais and the worker meetings, to say to you that, “marking the second anniversary of Generation Y” I will try to implement some important improvements in the blog.  The start of this work resulted in a technical accident.  As I can’t promise that the maintenance work will be fast or efficient, I can only announce a forced vacation for the commentators.  So that no one will panic, let me say that something wasn’t working, but nothing has been lost.

I intend to create a participatory forum, where those who want to discuss issues that don’t relate to the posts can do so.  I will also try to connect this blog to the social networks that have become indispensable in recent months.  For this I rely on a slow and censored internet connection from the hotels in this country, and the invaluable assistance of colleagues around the world.

Once the blog is accessible again, comments will be temporarily closed, to be able to optimize the data bases without losing anything.  For now, I invite you to continue the debates at: or

I appreciate advice about possible improvements, suggestions for software and utilities for the forum and, especially, the call to use this time to renew ideas, sharpen arguments and to renounce—once and for all—verbal violence.


73 thoughts on “Notice of repairs

  1. #72 Michael N. Landis dice: 19 Marzo 2009 a las 18:03

    ………….!Hasta La Victoria Siempre!…………….. (che guevara’s preferred utopia)

    (Written TODAY by comrade landis under Yoani’s post “Notice of Repairs”… that means ….. 5 posts ago!!!!!!!!!!!)

    I knew it!!!!… this guy uses to sneaks in old pages and try to left “the last comment” in order of avoid uncomfortable replays from other commenter and in such way make believe eventual readers that his comment can’t be rebated!!!!
    It is a castroll’s normal tactic; I have seen it many times in the spanish site……… take notice of this John 2!!!!!!!

    But for our Che freak comrade landis have I very bad news…. I left Cuba not too long ago and I know perfectly that the only birds that still fearful fly Havana’s sky are the uneatable sparrows. The same can witness whoever of the hundred of thousand cubans that has left the island in the last decade WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU LIE HERE. Yes we know the special period in not now so hard as it were in the 90’s, we know the people now can find better things to eat than cats or condoms but as you self reckoned it was a time were cats had it very hard. It was a time that Havana’s sky were crossed by band of wild birds of any class, Havana’s rivers were full of milliards of tropical fishes and streets alleys were cat country. But all this despaired thanks the “good job” of your beloved tyranny, the same “good job” your admired che guevara did when he enjoyed exterminating the cuban youth in La Cabaña prison were you confessed been reclined on a tree seeing birds and maybe trying to imagine your self helping the che killing no cats but people.

  2. No cats in Habana? No birds? Now I know you folks haven’t been there since you left in the early 1960’s (or maybe even late 1950’s). Not only have I had no trouble seeing them, but on fotos and videos posted by many at other sites there are numerous examples of both. Sit in any parque and you are bombarded with the noisy squawking (and err, sometimes more–as I once was while reclining under a tree outside La Cabana) of the birds. Talk about fantasyland, the comments of you Miami and West New York exiles reveal that most of your “observations” are based on pure fantasy. Sort of like the “reliability” of many items in the Drudge Report. No wonder Radio Marti is totally discounted by folks who actually live in Cuba; they only have to look out their windows to note that the latest “reports” are total fabrications. Some cats, no doubt, were eaten during the darkest days of the Periodo Especial, but this is not the case now, nor has it been for quite some time.
    As for Rudolfo’s comments that every entrepreneur has been crushed, etc. Not so. Every other vacant lot in Habana seems now to be turned into a vegetable garden, with most of the proceeds going to the cultivator. Also, more taxis particulares, more paladores, more installers of “illegal” satellite dishes and/or internet connections, not to mention private businesses by anyone who has a marketable skill (e.g. auto mechanic, plumber, carpenter, mason, appliance and electronic repairperson, etc. etc.). As for these folks being carted off to jail, or even receiving a large fine–pure fantasy.
    No time for further reality checks now as my dictator, my adolescent daughter, wants to use this computer to go onto FaceBook!
    !Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

  3. Honest and truly — they have been moving the blog to a new server. It is LIKELY that the constant attacks that go on continually could have made that harder… but there’s really no proof.

    The main problem has been the size of the file. There are somewhere between half a million and a million comments on the blog… it’s BIG. And maybe it was just settled into the old house you know, didn’t want to go to the new one, didn’t care that the old pipes were leaking, the windows were cracked, the walls were getting a little moldy… the new house is all clean and perfect but it’s not yet home!

    Keep in mind that the blog is two years old… and everything new… from taking comments, adding videos, etc etc… everything new has just been “tacked on”. So it really was past time to re-establish it from the ground up.

    There are still a number of tasks to do, so it could be a little unreliable for some time yet. But, hopefully, you, the readers, won’t notice ongoing problems.

    Even today, with the blog perfect “from the outside” when I tried to load up a new entry it wouldn’t take it right away. So, if some of the translations are later than usual, that might be one reason. Or maybe I’m just sleeping.

    And in other news… I be lovin’ yer Kentucky accent too!

  4. English Translator, is this blog in repairs because is being attacked by Castro’s Gestapo or is it really true that you are trying to make it better?
    I think it is just fine the way it is. “If ain’t broke why fix it? I love my Kentucky accent!

  5. #66 Well, Rodolfo, I was in Cuba for a whole week, don’t you know, so I am the world expert on the Island Paradise. I really did think it was a paradise… beautiful beyond belief. And it took me a long time… maybe even as long as 10 minutes… and I don’t think it really sunk in for maybe the first hour… to realize it was a bizarre totalitarian state. So I can understand people who don’t catch on for maybe… Oh I dunno… half a day? After that there’s no excuse!

    But seriously… I KNEW (ha!) about Cuba before I went… and I honestly thought I could go there for a week and not “notice” anything about the politics of the government… that as a tourist it just wouldn’t affect me… it wouldn’t be apparent. BUT IT’S SO OBVIOUS. IT OVERWHELMS EVERYTHING. Of course as a tourist you are so aware of the ‘tourist apartheid’… but… I did manage to just go off on my own down ‘insignificant’ streets and get into conversations with everybody…. I didn’t really have any interest in the tourist sites… I just wanted to talk to people. So I learned a lot.

    And by the way, I DID notice that people were very happy to talk to me when I started with questions like “what’s it really like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship under a psychotic 80-year-old?” (yeah, it was still fidel when I was there)… instead of “wow! aren’t you proud to live in the land of Che?”

  6. #65 My parents have told me about what they used to eat during the depression and even then it wasn’t that bad. my mother lived on a farm so they always had something though they had to buy things like flour… it was a dairy farm… can you imagine the luxury? all the milk and butter you want… but… nice to have a little bread to put it on once in a while. of course they had a huge ‘garden’ (mini vegetable farm) and all the potatoes and everything they wanted, and also fruit trees.

    my father lived in the city and although his mother had a job, they had very little money. he remembers milk with a piece of bread in it, or rice with milk… milk I guess was cheap enough and easy to come by — even in the “city” people around the edges could keep cows and both lived in climates where the grass would grow and there was no marabu!

    Now that you mention it, I did notice there aren’t a lot of birds in a havana. I didn’t think about it at the time.

    In cuba… sugar seems to be like milk was for my parents.. .you can have as much sugar as you want. of course sugar is not very nutritious!

    as for the idea of eating cats… that doesn’t really bother me… I mean it’s a nice little animal… yum yum… I did notice, though, that most of the dogs I saw in havana were so skinny it was hard to understand how they could live and they wouldn’t have been very good to eat… unless you like dog guts…

  7. Andy dice:

    Thank you Andy.
    I’ll try to drop by the English section more often. Never did before but I think it’s worth because obviously as in the Spanish section most of the international defenders of castrism are “tocando de oído” meaning fed of leftist propaganda and after a couple of visits to the island they really believe that they found the sacred truth and have the right of telling us Cubans how good things are under totalitarism…from far away and democracy.

  8. #63
    Oh dear Andy, what didn’t the Cubans under the last special period in order to survive!!!
    The following is a list of survival tactics developed by the Havana population from 1989 to 1999:
    – Grapefruit skin or pieces of fabrics used for cleaning floors becomes fried beef. After fried the few grams of beef the population received ones a year, people saved the fat mixed with cooked blood, anion and garlic bits in order of dressing with this mix pieces of grapefruit skin or the extremely soft and sponged fabric known as “frazada de piso” traditionally used in Cuba for cleaning floors. After lying in this dressing several days and after adding huge amount of lime juice and garlic the grapefruit skin or fabric were fried and eaten as a normal piece of beef.
    – Nowadays you can take a promenade through Havana’s street at night and do not meet a single cat in your way. They have been practically exterminated. People have eaten almost the whole cat’s population in Havana. You cant’ find any difference between a well dressed cat and a hare or rabbit. I remember seen crews of very specialized cat hunters operating near the garbage dumps of hotels and “dollar” restaurants; they were very skilled in catching cats alive using rudimentary “equipment” while riding heavy Chinese bicycles.
    – The birds have also disappeared. Even the “tiñosa”. Growers of competition pigeons has it hard to protect theirs flocks of the human predators.
    – In the country side the farmers have to keep a close eye over theirs stock because the hungry population.
    – Condom pizza: you take the flour mass and cover it with tomato past (if you have it) or paprika past or a mixing of both. You boil several times the amount of milk you can get, mostly of times an adult Cuban can only get the amount of milk the children in the family spoiled. The residual of this boiled milk will be the cheese on your pizza. You place a layer of oil (a lot) and another layer of garlic and anion (for disguising the condom flavor) and an extended a condom on the top. Now your pizza is ready to be baked….. good luck!!!
    – But the queen of the desperation’s table in Cuba is the traditional “cock soup”, this “dish” saved our mambises of starvation, saved a lot of Cubans under the great recession (1920) and still save our people today. I know somewhere in the future the Cuban people will raise a monument to the “cock soup”: brown sugar diluted in boiling water.

  9. Andy and others one of the excuses that Castro and the Communist in general use to explain their intolerance for capitalism is exactly what you have mentioned.

    “the rich will get rich and the poor will soon be living in the gutters.”

    Is that true? Is capitalism more exploitative than socialism?

    I guess for a wild west type of capitalism it could be true but the reality is that Cuba’s communism can not compete with salaries paid by capitalist and also is a way to control people to do what you want if their livelihood depends on the all powerful government then they will be less inclined to talk bad about it.

    Think that average Cubans make less than 20 dollars a month one of the lowest salaries in the western hemisphere if not the lowest.
    Even for enterprises that some Cubans work their salary in foreign currency is paid to the Cuban government and the Cuban government pays them in Cuban pesos that are worthless in Cuba.
    So what can we call that? super exploitation?
    I think there was a name for it
    that is people that are force to work without pay. Just sufficient to survive.

  10. #56
    Here’s the problem you don’t understand. Mr. Landis has always been well fed so he is very smart. Cubans have had to starve from time to time (is it true that during the ‘special period’ they melted condoms onto pizza to make people think it was cheese?) so they are all brain damaged and not too smart. That is why Mr Landis’s book learning is so much more valuable than your experience. You may THINK you experienced it… but without proper nourishment for your brain it was like you were on LSD or something… seeing things that weren’t there (like evil dictators) and not seeing things that were there (gorgeous steak dinners, for example).

    Do you understand more clearly now?

  11. #55 — please visit us more often! It’s nice to have different voices here and especially nice to have people who can go back and forth between the english and spanish sites and bring more insights to the english-only readers and commenters!

  12. Andy #32

    “Could one of the.. we’ll call you for now the amici fideli [and please don’t criticize my latin – I just made it up and it’s entirely irrelevant]… could one of the supporters of Fidel please explain why it is necessary to restrict the right of Cubans to leave their island at will? What is the danger to the socialist paradise? And please don’t tell me, like Alarcon tried to, that if all the Cubans decided to travel at once there would be too many planes in the sky and they would hit each other and crash.”

    Andy, I do not qualify to be a fideo philiac but I will give you the honest answer they won’t give you.

    I believe the main reason is because the island will be empty in just a few years. All the brains in Cuba will immediately go to any other country and they will be left with all the unproductive people.

    Is not possible to have slavery without slaves.

    Cubans are not stupid they know that what they have being trying to build for 50 years is an Utopia.

    Another answer is because once everyone is gone there is not reason to send money to Cuba. So it is good for the Castro regime to keep families split in half. One half outside sending money to the other half inside.

    Another answer is because if people were allowed to go out and return they will realized of the multiple lies and propaganda they have being subjected to. They always show capitalism as exploitative society etc etc and socialism as a more humane society while we know the reverse is true.

    Another reason is to show who is in control. To have another mechanism for controlling people. If you do not behave like he wants you to he will not let you get out. (Example: Yoani Sanchez) (Example Hilda Molina) etc etc

    I could keep going
    I am sure any of the fideo philiacs will admit to any of above instead they will claim about thousands of plains crashing in the air etc as we already know. :D

    The truth is the socialist paradise is HELL!

  13. Let’s try to deconstruct the following latest statement from Mr. Landis:
    …”I suspect there will be greater changes during the next decade, including greater democracy, greater mix of private and public sectors in the economy in order to better meet domestic needs, and greater integration with the world trading system.”
    Well, if it’s only a suspicion it might be acceptable. But let’s analyze this “manifesto” in real context:
    “I suspect there will be greater changes during the next decade…”
    Frankly, I don’t see any sign supporting this suspicion. All of the contrary, the elements in the government who supposedly supported the intention of change have been oblitarated and are “unworthy” all of the sudden.
    “including greater democracy…”
    Again, this statement has no way to be supported. Even the people who “elected” the unworthy did not get any reason at all that explains why they “voted” for unworthy and power honey tasters.
    “greater mix of private and public sectors in the economy in order to better meet domestic needs…”
    Well, the recent events deny this suspicion. Every action concerning expanding economic sectors and tending to the referred mix have been crushed and the potential entrepeneurs are in jail. The move to return unused land to farmers is so blocked with bureocracy and non sense that makes it a joke.
    “and greater integration with the world trading system…”
    All right, this one is probably the best one. The Cuban debt only to the Paris Club is close to 24 billion only surpassed by Indonesia with 34 billion but counting 200 million citizens. So, a Cuban citizen (11 million in the island) is the most indebted in the world. On top of that, estimations of another 8 billion debt are out of the Paris Club and we are not talking about the 150 billion owed to to Russia. Yeah, this integration will be good to see under castrism. And a painful one for sure.

  14. To No. 52

    I don’t know why people put blinders on or try to cover the sun with their thumbs. A cute analogy does not wash. Especially since the story is a better fit for what plays out in Cuba, with the people playing Alice, as they get taken for a fifty year rabbit chase. Except in this case they don’t wake up, but instead die, watching their children continue the fruitless chase.

    Like the Jefferson Airplane song says, “feed your head” – with facts that is, not drugs or marxism.

    Oh, and yes, the spell checker did wonders. I wish I had time to use it to correct my blunders, but I’m on a ten minute break.

  15. Andy dice: 17 Marzo 2009 a las 04:12
    How can the poor stupid Cubans be expected to govern themselves?

    Grounded in comrade landis own confessions I would add to your complain the following:
    How the stupid Cubans pretend know better Cuba’s problems then an egocentric professor that has read all existent books in this damn world???!!!!
    How can people that has been living for more than 40 years inside Cuba, suffering all vicissitudes the Cubans use to suffer, suffering the tyranny harassment, living at starvation border, threatened like 5th class citizens, being obligated to live a double moral life or otherwise being obligated to live at the “society” margin, spending theirs entire life and effort to find the way of escaping this situation….. how can those people, these incapable and ignorant Cubans pretend they know best the Cuban problem than comrade landis????!!!!…..It is inadmissible, Andy, comrade landis has been visiting Cuba more than 5 times!!!!…….. he was there when he was 16 years old!!!!…… he was there “working” in the “zafra” (I guess it was the 10 millions zafra, the same zafra that started the destruction of the Cuban sugar industry), he has been there enough as to know best the Cuban problem than any stupid Cuban!!!!

  16. I’ve never tried to comment in English before but it’s good to add some diversity to the obviously limited group and probably regulars in this Section. It brings some heat from the Spanish Section avalanche if they are able to comment in English I guess.
    Mr. Landis (#52) complains about the unability for reasoning with some other participants who disagree with his position of hope about the future of Cuba under castrism.
    This is a position widely popular among those who try in this Blog to support the unsupportable. As soon as they are bombarded with data and practical experience together they start complaining about intolerance. But history and recent facts show that there is no room for such hope. There is no room neither intention of change or evolution in the mind of the Cuban elite. In fact, they don’t need it and they are ready to crash any intention of change and evolution. Their optimal state of affairs is a return to the Cold War and they desperately need confrontation for survival in power.
    Those are the facts. Out of them there is only a dream for a future that never arrives. For these dreamers Cuba is the land of the future. And always wiil be.

  17. #52 greater democracy?!?!?! Oh my god the world will come to an end. How can the poor stupid Cubans be expected to govern themselves?
    Private sector economy — there you go… the rich will get rich and the poor will soon be living in the gutters.

    good grief. just when you thought you had a good revolution going it all goes to hell in a handbasket after a mere 50 years, how disappointing.

  18. Trying to reason with Carbo and Andy reminds me of Alice trying to reason with the Mad Hatter and his tea party, or the Queen of Hearts and her subjects in Alice and Wonderland. Alice just kept having the same circular conversations. Suffice it to say that their vision of Cuba is just as unlikely to happen as is the Cuba envisioned by the ideological aparatchiks of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I have faith in the pragmatism of the Revolution; it will be able to adjust itself to new realities (as exemplified by its miraculous survival after the colapse of the so-called Socialist Camp in the early 1990’s), and the gradual improvement in conditions after the trauma of the Special Period. I suspect there will be greater changes during the next decade, including greater democracy, greater mix of private and public sectors in the economy in order to better meet domestic needs, and greater integration with the world trading system.

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