Rechargeable Lamps

An uncertain summer awaits us, where they announce power cuts, higher prices and where there is even a prediction of an emigration stampede. Many Cubans, however, faced with the dilemma of solving their daily problems or trying to change something, prefer to concentrate on personal survival. They organize an escape from the national borders, evade the laws or, what amounts to the same thing, turn to crime. There are not only those who climb through the window of a warehouse at night or grab the backpack of an innocent tourist, but also the warehouseman who alters invoices or the custodian who breaks the seal of the container he is protecting. There is a socially accepted way of breaking the law that consists of stealing from the State. It includes the waiter who adds to the prices or introduces goods into the restaurant that he purchased himself to sell as if they were “of the house” and the shopkeeper who changes the list of customers at the ration market so he will have leftover goods.

The line of illegality also extends to the hotel desk clerk who, in cahoots with the manager, rents a room off the register, the taxi driver who makes a trip without turning on the meter, or the lathe operator who produces a piece “outside” the production plan. The customs officer who lets prohibited objects through, the police who don’t impose a fine, the housing official who speeds up an application, the teacher who raises a grade, and the inspector who becomes blind to the violations he should report.

The walls of the bubble that protect the speeches are strengthened by the profits from these “misdeeds,” but they also discourage public protest. The fruits of so many illegalities end up on the counters of foreign currency shops, they are exchanged for the rechargeable lamps that will light some houses this summer. Meanwhile, outside, who cares that the blackout reigns.

30 thoughts on “Rechargeable Lamps

  1. Pingback: Rechargeable Lamps | Cuba News

  2. Thought for the day, if everyone has large cojones, don’t they just bounce off each other ! lol

  3. “Revolutionary Road”, un blog iraní, tiene (un poco) traducción en español.

    Apparently after the death of the young women Neda, the police have been given orders not to attack women. So when the police begin attacking the men, all the women in the area circle the police and demand that they free the men. Amazing !

    Also, thank you Mushba for your comments. Please continue to post, I enjoy what you write. I’ll be sure to check out your Blog. Often people come here and post that Cubans should be thankful for what they have because “at least they are not living in Haiti or Somalia” or some other place which has been destabilized. I know that is not what you meant. I think some here took your comments the wrong way. Its important for people fighting injustice everywhere to share their similar experiences and to learn from each other…and to also understand our significant differences…and to build bridges despite them.

    I hope you continue to read and post to this blog and good luck with your writing.

  4. WHERE are the people of Cuba, where is your Rebel Leader? Yoani every cituation you presented would be resovled if Cuban return to the Christian Values they once had. Where is Gorki???
    If you ask me, why is it that a few in Government think they OWN the Country???and get away with it. What is it that the people want??? SPEAK UP

  5. what a interesting thread this has turned into. Thanks to Miss Mushba and others for the clarification about the situation in Pakistan. My comment about it being “out of control” has to do with central government type authority, thus I would consider a situation where a “mafia” of some type is dominating as being out of control. Its all just definitions anyway. Everyone’s focus should be on finding ways to fix problems, not just talk about them. The revolutionary cybernauts of the world are forging the new tools that technology has given them and now in Iran we are getting a glimpse of what they can do. A million lies from the ayatollas are blown away in seconds by a single video capturing a piece of history. A picture of a young woman’s face can shatter a 30 year regime.

    The internet also allows us to see many other things the despots would like to keep hidden. Things less dramatic, boring things like finances, export/import levels, ect. Subtle things that take a while to fully express their effects. Things like the big bubble that Venezuela has become. When it busts those who have taken a lifeline from hugo will go down with him. It may happen sooner and much more suddenly than most people realize.

    Neda of Iran paid the last full measure of devotion to the cause we hold sacred. That all persons are created equal and that they have the right to freedom and democracy. Honor her sacrifice with your commitment to safeguard and uphold those rights for everyone. Irregardless of whether or not you agree with those who are governing those countries. Whatever your faith remember her in your prayers

  6. Señor Please,
    i did’nt get mad.I did’nt take it that personally,though i have a big flaw of being over sensitive.If you think you critcised me or thought i might’ve thought like it like that,then you are wrong my friend;for my father has been my biggest critic,and you could’nt or anybody could’nt sat anything that i could find offensive toward’s myself,for i know my father has said something harsher.But i want to be a writer,so ciritsism is something i like,as long as it’s aimed toward’s me,and not my faith or country or anything like that.
    Do’nt worry,i’ll try and fix the light green thing.I’m slow with techology.I’m sure if your young people had easy access to the net,then i am very sure you will produce great writer’s and leader’s.

  7. Mushba.

    I did not realized how young you are until I read your blog and I think is wonderful that a young person like you worries about her country and likes to improved it that actually says a lot about you and your country.

    I wish young people like you in my country were able to access the internet and do the same here. As you can see there are very few cubans here the majority are exiled Cubans since the one in Cuba can’t see what she writes at least is not easy for them since the government blocks her site.

    I did not mean to be hard on you so forgive me if I appear to be so.
    I have visited your blog and commented on your post.

    Best wishes to you and on your endeavors to become a writer.

  8. Dear Señor De La Yncera,
    I understand what you mean.Your right on all the thing’s you pointed out,and i agree with you whole heartedly on every single thing you have pointed out.& i do’nt mean that the situation in Cuba is that bad or less bad than that in Pakistan;i simply meant to express my solidarity;to say that we in Pakistan have an idea of what the Cuban’s are going through;note,an idea of what the Cuban’s are going through.I do not mean to start any misunderstanding’s.
    You must exuse me if i do not provide many solution’s,or not complain enough on my blog,but i am new to this,and have only just starting devoloping a point of view when it come’s to politic’s;ok,well,let’s just say it’s in the devoloping stage’s.I could also say that it is in the gene’s of many Pakistani’s to complain,and not provide solution’s.I hope this statement has been staisfactory.I read Yoani’s post’s and agree with her,and wish to help my country just like she does.I will end by saying that i will continue to take inspiration from Yoani and try to point out the similar situation’s and problem’s we have in Pakistan.

  9. With all your respect, the comparison between Cuba and Pakistan could be valid and I don’t have any doubts that Pakistan can be suffering the same situation that we have in Cuba, in other words, I believe what Mushba had said.

    Anyway, with this opinion, once again I want to mark something using the common sense:

    Why, always, when we need to improve our own society, we have to do comparisons between two, or more “bad examples”,,,or,,,, “between some of the worst cases”?,,,Why we don’t do the comparisons trying to reach the same levels that the countries where the people enjoy their freedom, their justice, their respect for their human rights, etc?,,,,Why we don’t criticize the bad governments that are using false images, false ideas, false faces trying to cover their bad way of government, why?

    I would like to compare Cuba, saying : Why after 50 years of Communist, still we have food rationing?, Why after 50 years, any Cuban that want to leave or enter Cuba has to ask for permission ?,,Why we can’t enjoy the same freedom of movement than the Americans, or the French, or the Spaniards, etc, etc?, Why we can’t select our own way of leaving , doing whatever we want, exactly than the Italians, or the British?,,,Why we can’t use the internet and read any kind of book without the government’s permission, exactly like the Mexicans, or the Argentinians, or the Austrians?,,,Why?

    However, since my point of view, the real difference is:

    Cuba started a Revolution process 50 years ago, when Castro, supported by the majority of the Cuban’s population, came to the power.

    At that moment, and until today, Castro and his maffiosa gang , have been promising freedom, improvements, better healthy system, better education, no corruption, equal opportunities for everything,,,,resume: “a much, much, much better society”!!!!,,but instead of that, Cuba is a Country in ruins, totally impoverished, the corruption had reached the highest level in Cuba’s history, the oppression, the liberties, are “ZERO”, we the Cubans are suffering under a modern dynasty!!!! which is the Casto’s dynasty, under his cruel fist and his repressive idea of any kind of human rights.

    The saddest part of it, is that Castro, his brother and their maffiosa gang will be there until the physical disappearance of those persons, just by ” natural causes”,,,they will pass away like any body else without punishment and leaving behind them the biggest disaster that Cuba’ s history has known!!!!


  10. Mushba

    It was far from my intention to push you in any way if you notice I said

    “Can you post something more constructive like how should the government fix the situation or corruption?”

    I do not dispute the fact that there are other countries as corrupt or maybe even worst than Cuba but what I tried to say is that in no way justify corruption in Cuba.
    Just because one apple is rotten does not mean all the apples can be rotten.
    So what can we do to fix it?

    Yoani is doing what she can. Telling about it. I am myself telling why I think this corruption is allowed by the government. It is obvious that if they really wanted to ended they would be very successful but it is not on their best interest to end the corruption because for them is a mechanism to keep them in power.

    For a single citizen like Yoani probably that’s all she can do. Point out the problem unfortunatelly she can not get elected to power in Cuba I will gladly vote for her to fix all this easy to fix problems.

    Why can’t the current government fix them?

    No just the corruption but all the other problems they have and that she points out here on her blog?
    If they can’t they should let others do it.

    See the issue at hand is that they have only one way of fixing the problems and as we know that way is not solving them it is in fact creating new problems.
    I can write a long list of all the problems the Cuban society have as it is. But it is better if you read them from Yoani’s posts.

  11. Dear Señor Julio De la Yncera,
    I agree with you upon many thing’s,and i have read your below statements.Allow me to clear up the fact that when i said that the situation in Pakistan and Cuba are similar,i meant by the blackout’s,or load shedding as they are called here,and that the corruption there is totally similar to here.& for those of you who think that you ca’nt compare Pakistan and Cuba because Cuba is under control of the mafia’s and corrupt government’s,and that Pakistan is just out control,i beg to differ;it is because of our corrupt government official’s that take bribe’s in the form’s of cash and land,and embezzle money meant for better cause’s,that my country is out of control.& do’nt think that we are without a mafia here;my home city of Karachi is under the control of MQM,a political party that has had the control of Karachi since it was formed;the worker’s of MQM are nothing but a bunch of gangster’s;their leader,Altaf Hussain,who dictate’s them all the way from London,is infact called Boss because of his gangster way’s and history.
    So my point is,that yes you can compare Pakistan and Cuba queit easily.& to Señor De La Yncera,i do have a blog where i complain about my country;but i do’nt just complain,i also educate people on my culture and language and the real situation that is happening in my country.Graciá’s Señor for your push;i needed that.If you wish you can find my blog at

  12. Mr. Capiro,
    Your comment keenly points to a historical truth. Historically, women have shown amazingly large cojones against tyrants like Castro and those in other countries throughout the world. Conversely, those men that have dared to show cojones in such repressive governments have rarely been allowed any media exposure. In short, men more often than women are rapidly imprisoned and devoid of access to mass communications sources. Worse yet, Castro’s henchmen often murder men with big cojones and often prefer to humiliate women who show courage. One of the reasons that make Yoani Sanchez a rarity and a paradigm to many of us in exile is how she has been able to use a powerful modern tool (i.e., the Internet) to explain the internal happenings in Cuba, from one woman’s perspective, without being totally suppressed or annihilated by the Castro’s regime. To draw on a present historical parallel with the Iran election, technology has allowed a unified and powerful scream from the people of Iran that has not occurred in Cuba to date. In Iran, the regime forced all journalists out of the country and they were still able to cry-out demanding freedom by public demonstrations, risking life and limb, and denounce voter fraud and cleric oppression. In Cuba, the regime got rid of the local and foreign press within the first year back in 1959. One may say if only a good portion of our Cuban countrymen and women had similar access then Yoanis voice would be greatly multiplied.
    Unfortunately, those inside Cuba have face harder repression and isolation from technology than any non-Cuban on the face of the earth can possibly imagine, except for perhaps those in North Korea. Worse yet, the fact that Cuba is an island surrounded by dangers isolate it from the rest of the world and allows Castro’s regime a stronger foothold on all men and women in Cuba. In short, it is a situation beyond anything imaginable by most free men and women of the world. Now are there other factors at play on why we have not observed an uprising in Cuba similar to those observed in former Soviet -Union countries and now in Iran? For example, what are the roles of fear, repression, party intimidation, apathy, distrust for one another, etc. or all of the above that prevent such uprisings in Cuba? I am interested in reading your opinion on these. Thank you!


    NY TIMES ARTICLE: Web Video Makes an Iranian Woman’s Death a Symbol of Iran’s Crisis

    “Ms. Agha-Soltan’s fate resonates particularly with other women, who have been at the vanguard of many of the protests throughout Iran. “I am so worried that all the sacrifices that we made in the past week, the blood that was spilled, would be wasted,” said one woman today who came to mourn Ms. Agha-Soltan outside Niloofar mosque here. “ I cry every time I see Neda’s face on TV.”

  14. Soon people in cuba will take to streets like the Iranian youths, with no fear for themselves, they fight a Mafia of clerics who imposed their brand of religion and politic of destruction, they fight with rocks and shouts, get out and death !

  15. I dont think she was saying the situation is similar in order to justify what is happening in Cuba. But only to simply offer solidarity with Yoani and other Cubans. Many people come here and relate their experiences. This is good because even though Cuba is unique there are many similarities. Its important to make connections and solidarity with people fighting against dictatorships and repressive regimes worldwide. Please do not dismiss people when they offer their support.

  16. I dont think the situations in Cuba and Pakistan can be compared that directly. cuba is under the control of despots, much of Pakistan is totally out of control of such entities. a request for solidarity is OK. on the other hand, pointing out that merely complaining does nothing is a extremely important point. Too much time is wasted in not going forward.

    Yoni’s post describes something that has developed in the cuban character and how it is used to further trap the people. If the government has stolen everything from you including your dreams, are you not justified in trying to get some little of that back. If you are only stealing from the government and not some individual what is the harm in that ? since the despots can not prevent this theft, the twist it to their own ends

  17. Mushba,

    Ok let us assume that the situation in Pakistan is similar to Cuba and…?
    How does that justify the situation in Cuba? Create your own blog and complain about the government in Pakistan if you must but just because in some random place on earth the situation is similar or worst than Cuba does not justify in any way what is happening in Cuba.

    Is like going to school and telling the teacher
    “I could not do my homework because the student that sits in from of me could not do his homework”
    See the fallacy in the logic?
    Can you post something more constructive like how should the government fix the situation or corruption?
    If you have read what I wrote below my statements are clear.

    It seems to me the government wants corruption it can’t avoided because that is the way for them to keep themselves in power that is what they care about “been in power” if they really care about the Cuban people then they would have free elections etc etc. and will fix all the problems Yoani points out.
    Turning a blind eye to this problems they have one mechanism for of their own survival!

  18. Julio,
    You make excellent points that many would miss unless they have studied, like some of us frequently called “the intransigent exiles”, the Castro propaganda machine. You absolutely correct that Castro and his henchmen use the misery of our countrymen, many of whom have been emotionally duped by the socialist Kool-Aid observed most recently in the U.S. by Obama followers. Some may ask: How does he use the wretched conditions to his gain? The answer, as you have so eloquently pointed out: “to control people” via their extreme weakness to revolt and their dependency on a tyrannical regime. They are like the proverbial biblical verse “like sheep to the slaughter”. But their reward, unlike that provided by our Lord Jesus Christ, is their humiliation of having to beg for that which God had given to all men: A free will. Freedom is non-existent for those living a “living-death” on the island. Only the cowards that have surrendered their dignity to Castro’s regime, the corrupt that are financially benefitting, and agents of disinformation, who by the way may be one and the same class, have the audacity to predict a dismal future for the people of Cuba and dare to unashamedly tell them: “It’s all the fault of the Yankees and their Blockade”. Little do some on the island know that the blockade is only from the U.S. and that Russia, Spain, China, Mexico, now Venezuela and others has aided the Castro oppression machine to stay in power. Those working on the regime’s behalf, both inside and outside Cuba, go beyond their efforts of fooling our countrymen. They export the propaganda to international left-wing consumers. That is, the Castro propaganda machine attempts to deceive even the socialists, or as the saying goes: “They eat their own”. Why? Because the Castro regime’s plans do not include social equality, but absolute domination of the weakest among them: the entire Cubans population, who are denied access to freedom of speech, justice, sustenance, a vote, traveling outside Cuba’s shores, etc. Does the Castro regime know what’s coming in terms of tightening the economic belt, or better yet, how much punishment they will need to apply on the masses to receive the desire outcome? Of course, they do! They do not miss a beat. They beat their own drum at their own tempo. Why? Because the primary purpose of the Castro regime is to guarantee unsurpassable misery on the masses such that, the oftentimes unsuspecting people of Cuba, are entirely dependent on the regime for their subsistence. In short, they create the misery and make sure that every Cuban on the island feels it to the desirable doping dose. Then they repackage the information for international consumption about “those who are toiling for the success of the revolution” as if they were victims rather than villains. Their intention is to receive international sympathy for the very people that Castro’s henchmen themselves have condemned to a life of misery. How sickening is that kind of behavior manipulation? It’s extreme manipulation of information beyond the comprehension of many who have never lived through it. Is Castro’s machine the most Machiavellian bunch that one could trace in history? Absolutely!

  19. Yes, it works at all levels. Since, as Yoani has pointed out, it’s impossible to survive without breaking the “law,” there is always a pretext, other than straight political oppression, that can be used to persecute critics. And all of Castro’s immediate entourage is involved in his drug-dealing and money-laundering, so they can be sacrificed at any time. It ensures compliance of a kind.

  20. Yoani

    It is obvious in a country where the government knows what a mouse whisper that the Castro’s know all these happens but it is part of their plan. So it is one more way for them to control people since now like the mafia they have something to get you if you revolt against them or protest the injustice!

    So they can accused this people of been criminals and not of just been against the dictatorship.
    We used to have a saying in Spanish in Cuba
    “Ladron que roba a ladron tiene eterno perdon”
    “A thief that robs a thief have eternal pardon”
    The Castro’s have stolen from us everything, our homes if we leave the country our families and maybe the most precious thing our Freedom!

    They do have to turn a blind eye to these minor things otherwise their pressure cooker will explode or would have exploded a long time ago.

  21. Nice essay. Sort of problem is – once the regime changes, in some professions this stays a long time after the change…

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