The count remains at five

The red curtain in the background, the presidential table attached in the Soviet-style, and the leader in the center barely letting those seated in the other armchairs speak. This is how I remember the Cuban Communist Party congresses which had just begun to be held in 1975, the year I was born. After the fourth, held in 1991, the next had to be delayed, in part because material shortages kept them from bringing together, housing and feeding so many delegates. But I always believed that these deferrals revealed the inconsistency of what was written in Article 5 of the Cuban Constitution: “the Party (…) is the superior leading force of the society and the State.” The delay in establishing directives and plans bore witness that the country was governed in another way: more personal, more reduced to the will of one man.

Thus, the new postponement of the Sixth Party Congress doesn’t surprise me, though it is already twelve years since the last one. After all, dynasties need neither the ideologies nor the consensus of the members of an organization with principles and statutes, much less do they need to conform to the script drawn up for a party meeting. To improvise, send down orders from above, call on discipline and control, announce platitudes of the sort, “it is necessary to work the land,” and to continue announcing deadlines that are not met, does not require getting together, reaching agreements, nor finding out how to comply with popular demands.


32 thoughts on “The count remains at five

  1. I meant Yoani and Claudia do… instead …. of as does Yoani and Claudia …. You know, since some of us are gramatically challenged… and since you can be my BIG brother and blood is thicker than water…… I can’t believe I fell for that….

  2. Cold in Chicago;
    It’s a shame that some people living in the most free country of the western hemisphere still feel the terror of the Cuban regime.They are paranoid.Thinking that anybody could be an “agent”.
    You offer me a hug,I offer you a beer. As for my identity I prefer to keep it anonymous as well.I don’t have the urge to post my name or post my picture,nor I want a protagonic role.But since I have nothing to hide my name is Alberto Merino, I go by Al at work my work phone number is 630) 654-2515, you can call there and ask for Al .I wish I can do as does Yoani and Claudia, (post their name and ID), I wish I can post my SS# my cell number and my addreess as well , but as you know that can be a real problem . Not because of the G-2, but because of the growing problem of identity theft.Still, my offer is open I’ll pay for the beer and the cuban cigars …

  3. Raul Castro said: “I was not elected president to restore capitalism in Cuba. I was elected to defend , maintain, and continue perfecting Socialism–not to destroy it”

    Let me understand this, in 50 years they haven’t being able to produce enough to feed the people, medicine is rationed, hospitals are in shambles, they have to import rice an sugar, items that were abundant in pre Castro era.

    Buildings are falling apart, millions have no house of their own, the water is contaminated and in many areas it doesn’t reach the neighborhoods, the old sewer system is in shamble. What is he talking about “perfecting socialism”? Is that like how to kill 11.4 Million people slowly or what ?

  4. Concubino:

    As I tell others, my on-line nickname is Cold in Chicago, not because I’m necessarily physically cold, but rather, it’s a state of mind where there is a sense of isolation from the land one was born in, even after many years of riding in noisy subway cars, and listening to the news about who was the latest city politician to take a bribe.

    The same goes for the writing on this blog. We use the term dynasty and any other remark that may irritate the regime because for some of us, fifty years is an eternity and is also the correct literary description of how we feel, whether inside or out of the island.

    Now, one can never be certain of whose side anyone posting is on. Obviously a Castro agent could act as the most anti-regime of all the posting individuals, attempt to communicate with listing bloggers, and pick off anyone they don’t like, and thanks to the regime’s education, and depending on their experience and upbringing, do it as casually as taking a puff on a Cuban cigar. I personally do not have any pretentions, nor do I want to be a hero, by posting my identity.

    I appreciate your offer to meet, but at the same time, I actually enjoy and am more effective maintaining a degree of anonymity, and intend to keep it so until the dynasty meets its end and we all get to party on the Malecon.

    I do look forward to debating you on issues pertaining to Cuba and the pro’s and con’s of the various solutions so that our people, including your family and mine and future grand-children, have a prosperous and healthy future.

  5. Cold in Chicago;
    I’m from the Chicago area. We can have even a beer sometime. There is a new post is named “Pichon de Emigrante”
    50 years in historical terms is not a long period of time.It seems like “foerever to us”.So is not a Dynasty, not yet.
    If you want to know how The Castros think, try to search Norberto Fuentes.
    This cuban writer was very close to the Castros .Read his articles and interviews with an open mind.
    He predicted the fall of Carlos Lage and Pers Roque, and what Fidel was about to do once he tranfered power to his brother, long before it hapeened.
    My arguments are not completly crazy.

  6. In followup to various postings below:

    Glad to see some healthy debate take place as opposed to the practice of the dynasty followers who engage in insults and stone age confrontational practices, such as demeaning or reducing their opponents before they even get started. When I see this, it raises a mental red flag. Nevertheless, it sounds like Concubino is Cuban, so he is still my blood brother in a manner of speaking, and since blood is thicker than water, we can sit down and listen to each other and even hug after wards.

    I urge all not to get too much hung up on words, as some of us here may be grammatically challenged at times, starting with me. But since Concubino raises the matter, here we go:

    Dynasty, description no. 2 according to Merriam Webster:

    “a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time”

    That takes care of that minutia.

    Regarding the nature of this blog, although the focus and goal is freedom for Cuba, just take a look at the number of flags displayed on the header of this page. I am personally thankful that this discussion attracts such a variety of fellow citizens from around the globe, as we are ultimately all in the same boat…. or planet.

    Now back to the real business at hand. It is obvious that this dynasty will not change or is unlikely to change no matter how many heirs we go down the line as time passes. This means that we have lots of hard work at hand and should redouble our efforts at broadcasting and communicating with the people in Cuba, to try and make them aware of the nature of the cage they live in, as well as teaching them new ways and technics on how to get valid information such as by blogging.

    Nothing new here, just a little reminder that this may yet take some work. The good news is that the current dictator is mentally weak, as demonstrated by his recent public performance, as well as advanced in age, which should ease the work ahead somewhat.

    I just noticed there is a new post on the Spanish page….

  7. Julio:

    I agree with you, it is very certain that the people reading our posts are just a fraction of the people who are writing.

    With regard of the last speech of the Second Cuba’s Hyena,,,,-I just try to use another adjective for Raul Castro- it is very fanny ,,,,very fanny!!!!!,,,,listening that (as per his own words),,,,:”I was elected to keep the Socialism”,,,,,,,!!!!!,,,Elected ? By Whom?,,,By his Brother?,,,or By their Mafia Gang?,,,,,incredible,,,, then, he added: “I’m supposed to improve the Socialism!!!!!,,,Improve?,,,What?,,,Better techniques of tortures?,,Better techniques of cruelty?,,,,Better procedures to kill the people of hungry, malnutrition, misery and poverty?,,,Better techniques to kill the freedom of a people that has been struggling with that for more than 50 years?

    Hyena?,,,I could say: Wolf, Rat , Roach, etc, etc,,,any of those would fit his profile without any doubt!!!!!!


  8. concubino de la banmbina

    The people you see posting on any blog is just a fraction of the people that read it.
    We have seem people from many European countries posting here from time to time. Even people from Pakistan (Mushba is one example).

    So I beg to differ with your stated opinion.

    I do agree with you that on the English side seems to be a little more civilized
    Candido, Andy, John Two,John Bibb,cold in chicago , Mushba, Humberto Capiro, Statue of Liberty and many others are frequent posters here and our little group does not go insulting and calling anyone names as you probably know some are Cubans some are not.
    Many people are very interested in the Cuban situation and what better way than reading from Yoani since we all know that all the Cuban government official press is manipulative and tainted.
    Multiple times some of us have submitted opinions or explained some things that non Cubans may not understand easily unless additional explanation is given or if they are already familiar with the Cuban culture after the revolution.
    Any one opposing our point of view will be welcome also as long as we can keep each other without chanting slogan some come place small comment and go their merry way.
    For example 291RCR usually makes remarks supporting the regime I believe he or she is from Canada.
    As for predicting if the Six Cuban communist Congress will happen I think they have now bigger fishes to fry and can not incur on the expenditure that such congress will entail.
    After the hurricanes their economy probably is in big trouble and if we add to it the global economical situation then the prospect for Cuba’s economy is far from bad.
    So my prediction is that it will not happen but due to the economic situation.
    You and I we are both speculating about reasons why it will not happen
    so we are voicing opinions or guessing why into a system that does not like to be analysed like we do. I guess your reasons are as good as mine.
    We both seem to match on the fact that it will not happen.

  9. I’m a non-Cuban, and don’t pretend to have any knowledge of the machinations of the Communist party leadership. It isn’t particularly surprising that a party that has been used to following the dictates of one person would be running scared and feeling rudderless. Postponing the party congress is for sure a sign of weakness by a party that seems to be losing it grip.

  10. As I read some of the comments I started to wonder about some of them. This is not an international forum.Lets face it.We are all cubans except for a couple of people.We just prefer to dabate here in English, because the Spanish version of this forum is just a Social network,at times it looks like a circus,where it seems that everybody has a blog and almost all of them want to have a protagonic role.We should stick to the point and debate the issue that is presented to us by Yoani whether is a Soap opera or the PCC congress.As for me, I just going to read whatever the voices inside Cuba have to said,and if I have nothing to said I just not going to said anything at all.
    My point in my previous comment was that in my oppinion the Six Cuban Communist Party congress is not going to happen until Raul Castro is in a position to appoint his grandson, Alejandro, as the new head of the party or very close to it.As Yoani point out according to the article 5 of the Cuban constitution, The Party is the superior leading force…., so whoever controls the Party controls the country.

  11. maybe he intimated that: I WAS NOT ELECTED (by my brother)… so and so, JUST THINK ON THAT..

  12. “I was elected.” Yes, Raul Castro actually said that in an address to the national assembly. Even though there was nobody running against him or even remotely able to do so. Even though the “voters” had no other option and no other viable choice but to “support” him and his decrepit puppet master. Well, it’s perfectly in keeping with the “perfecting Socialism.” At least he’s consistent.

    The worst part is that since Raul said that he’s been elected, the servile mainstream media will repeat it verbatim. So as of now, he’s been elected.

  13. To Julio #15

    Julio — I don’t know what Cuban parents say, but my parents used to say — when I wanted to do something they thought was bad and I would beg, saying ‘but all my friends are doing it’ — they would say, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”

    I wish I had been as smart as Senor Alarcon — I would have answered, “NO! Because if EVERYONE did it it would be too crowded and I wouldn’t even be able to get NEAR the cliff!”

    OK — not a very important comment… but still… you made me think…

  14. It is hard to tell what they are planning but of couse you may be right
    they may want to keep the honey and ham in the family!
    I am surprise Fidel did not place one of his own near a position of power
    . As for Raul he seem to be doing what you mentioned but remember
    I do not think people will like to tango with any more Castros after Raul

    As for what would happen?
    Nobody really knows the only thing we know fir certain is that their
    economy is not self sustaining and a country can’t keep begging for money
    forever and ever.
    That may be the determining factor in any future Cuba they will be force
    whomever is in charge to give back more freedoms and if people get
    enought of a taste it may avalanche into wanting all freedom back.
    Obviusly that’s not something they want to give up easily since is like the ring of power for them.

  15. Mr Yncera;
    Point taken.
    So, lets talk about ideas,or better yet oppinions,because you and I agree for the most part.Castro’s regime is not a dinasty, at least not yet. Power went to one brother to another, they belong to the same generation.Dinasty is what is happening in North Korea where power goes from father to son and so on.
    What it is very alarmant to me, and nobody seems to mention or notice is that Alejandro Castro(Raul’s grandson)shadowing his grandfather everywhere he goes, most recently they were in Africa and in the Middle East.Like he is learning how to handle the real “honey of power”

    Change in Cuba is not going to happen from the bottom-up. Don’t expect a 100 “Maleconazos” bring down the regime.As in the former Communist Block and the former Soviet Union change came from the top- down.I recall the news where people in Bulgary were encouraged by the Govermnet to go and protest in the streets.So you go and figure it.

    This could be a good topic for Yoani and the alternative Blogosphere to discuss.Maybe our english translator can let them know. I had email Yoani, Reinaldo and Claudia numerous times . Just got an answer from Claudia once.They are busy people.

    Do you think that Raul Castro is gaining time and preparing the terrain to have a family succesion to power?So Cuba is going to have a true Castro Dinasty?

  16. Incidentally my reference to Alarcon may be too obscure for some of the casual
    let me explain in a bit more detail
    Raul asked to have this meeting that people could ask questions we were very lucky
    to be able to witness what this meeting were like when some video of one of this meeting was leak into YouTube
    in this video an student named Eliecer Avila between other questions was asking why does he need to ask for a permit to exit or to enter
    his own country.
    Alarcon who is like the 3 in the line of power give a very lame answer
    he explained that if they did not have the permition their sky will be full
    of people flying on airplanes!!
    I was in so much disbelive to think that people like this are in charge of my country!
    Please just tell the truth if you must but don’t treat us like kids that will believe anything
    tell us that you guys in power are afraid people will see with their own
    eyes the many lies they been subjected for many years and also that you are afraid
    they will not want to return to Cuba once they see how “bad” capitalism
    really is … Where anyone can criticize anything and that will not make him be a traitor or gusano!
    On the contrary, people want something better than what they have all the time that us why we have a black president
    because as you can see peoples actitudes improve for the better with time!
    As for the Cuban government? They seem to be stuck on the same Chanel even whatever they promess they have
    poorly deliver!
    We want freedom back
    we want our right to speak without any goverment retribution
    nor been call by the state security or having “civilians” watching every move!

  17. concubino de la bambina
    while I do agree with you that it is part of the cuban culture we do need to raise the standard here
    we need to comunicate ideas!
    Ideas and reasons are more powelfull than thousands of slogans chanted by anonymous people
    that is why they attack Yoani and the others. Because they know that!
    If we do get at that same level of discurse then this becomes and exercise of
    who can scream louder!
    But if we do supply reasons then everyone will be able to see and diferentated between the real Cuba and the propaganda image of Cuba the Castros have created.
    I still do not see any of these people that from time to time get here to lend their support to the regime packing their suit cases to go on fly with no return to Havana!
    It easy to support from affar a decaying dinasty that only care about keeping themselves in power.
    Was Castro himself who mentioned the honey of power belongs to him!!
    Could not believe my eyes when I read that!
    Maybe that is why they keep him in isolation maybe afraid of what other cut of touch words he might said!

  18. ***
    HI ENGLISH TRANSLATOR–Is Yoanni’s book CUBA LIBRE available in English? Where do I go to buy one?
    HOLA TRADDUCIADOR AL INGLES–Es disponible en Ingles el libro de Yoani–CUBA LIBRE? Donde puedo comprar uno?
    John Bibb

  19. Hola,

    Really, on my part, no offense taken! You don’t even want to know what kind of mouth I have in my private life!

    But here, I am working on behalf of the blog so I try to keep to those standards.

    Meanwhile, welcome — it’s great to see new voices here.

    Your Friendly English Translator

  20. Sorry I meant Mr de la Yncera

    and …I learned how to speak like them while being in jail, instead of I learned who to speak like them while being in jail.

  21. Mr de la Incera, English translator:
    I respect your oppinions.You have to understand that mocking is part of the cuban culture. Sometimes is the only way to cope with 50 years of humillation by the Castro’s regime. Have you heard of pepito’s jokes?

    I have three generations of family members included myself whos has been imprisioned by cuban state security, for political reasons.So, please understand where I come from.
    I learned who to speak like them while being in jail.There thounsands like me in and outside Cuba.

    As for the English translator, no harm done , you have a job to do, which is great by the way. You are awesome!.

    Have a great week.As for me I’ll be waiting for the new posts of Yoani, Claudia, Reinaldo, Miriam Celaya( thanks God is not spelled with a “Z”)
    They are the true voices inside Cuba. My special admiration to Pablo Pacheco who blogs behind bars n Canelata Prision, Ciego de Avila.

  22. Totally agree with your comment. As a 70 y.o. Cuban this is a song that i have listen many times but that does not make sense “going back to rectify”. No matter how to you understand the history, doesn’t make sense.

  23. It remind’s me of how a certain political party here keep’s complaining that the ruling party has to get rid of a certain amendmeant,but it never really happen’s. Come to think of,so many thing’s,politically significant to the public & not,never happen.

  24. Julio post no. 4

    I like your analysis, you are right on the money. These people have no depth to their convictions. They are there by inertia which they themselves created from years past. Now their skeletal remains and that of their ideology are still occupying the same space, clogging and obstructing the progress of the population.

  25. I guess while I’ve been gone there’s been some disorder here in the blog, forcing our friendly translator to come in with her fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

    Just kidding. I see that the usual elements, either regime agents, or non-cuban dynasty sympathizers, who have no sensitivity towards other people’s misery – probably a learned behavior used against their own families, – and acquaintances since, like Lee Harvey Oswald, I doubt they have any close friends – are up to their usual attacks.

    Funny that just like their ancient and failed ideologues in Cuba, rather than seizing the opportunity of this international forum, to take one last stand, to debate ideas and weigh their merit at face value, they have internalized and are now practicing the art of insulting and intimidation of their opponents, even out here in the blogosphere. Amaizing, the Chinese gave it up, the Vietnamese gave up too, but there they are, some rusty ideologues still using old tactics.

    Getting back to the business at hand, it appears as Yoani says, that there is no Communist Party Congress, which means nothing anyway, as none of these people are elected nor do they have the valor or intelligence to oppose the dictator. The youngest brethren has just announced what we all know: no change no matter that the world economy is depressed, so no tourists. His buddy Chavez cannot help him either as the oil prices are low and he has his own problems, and the island has been abated by countless hurricanes in the last two years.

    The current wise elder’s answer to all this is: there will be no change, and you must work harder, so he can maintain his false pride and decorum. Meantime, he’ll go begging around the world, asking for credit from whatever foolish country is willing to grant it.

    All I can say is …. what a leader! what imagination and brilliance. We should pickle his brain after he passes, for science research, just like they did Einstein’s, to determine the physiological differences so we can all learn something for posterity, like how to avoid idiotic psycopaths.

  26. Where is the problem in these posts? I dont recall addressing my comments to anyone!

    Humberto Capiro

  27. I posted this on prior post did not realize there was a new one so I am posting here so people will see it.

    concubino de la banmbina
    As you suspected I do disagree with getting at the same level of exchange as them but naturally I think everyone if free to pursue the method they seem is appropriate.
    I disagree because if the both sides started chanting slogans and repeating this and that then this will be totally not meaningful and it would not help other people from many other countries that read this blog about our way of reasoning compare to theirs.
    It’s a pity we do not have at least one of them with some brain that can dialog with us and listen to reasons and give us good reasons from their point of view. If something like that was to happen it will be a very interesting exchange to read.
    We need to show them where reason is and reason is with us. We can provide arguments we can fight the fair fight..
    can they do that?
    You see they go attacking Yoani with epithets because they can’t attack her prose!
    They know too well she is telling the truth.
    Maybe they do it on purpose because they know that their system have no defense! and by doing what they do they are actually helping us prove our point!
    and in that case they are already with us!
    or in the way to be with us!

    A revolutionary that is not able to defend the revolution with good arguments is not a revolutionary.

    For example Alarcon is one example of them, one of the ones faking to be a revolutionary but did you see the answers he gave to such simple questions as been allow to travel without permit outside of Cuba?
    Those lame answers show you that this people are not as smart as some would have us believe and they are as fallible as any other human being.
    They are there because they are just inconditionals to the head of state (Castro) and let the status quo be.
    This is sad for all of us the people of Cuba because these few bad men are controlling the destinies of all our brothers and sisters.
    It is simply beyond words that we have people like Yoani, Reinaldo, Claudia and many others that have more valor than all of these anonymous Castro groupies and the work they do is for the betterment of Cuba.
    Why can’t the Castro regime tolerate criticism?
    Why? Why can we question decisions? Why must everyone that criticizes must be an enemy?
    Enemy of who?
    Is she an enemy of the people of Cuba?
    Yoani is making those critical statement because she wants a better country for herself and her child and for every other child in Cuba!
    They should admire a woman with so much courage! They should respect her!
    She is smart! She is brilliant. She have a very strong light that if we let her shine over Cuba. Our country will be a wonderful place where solutions to problems will be found!
    But instead you get this morons that are not trying to fix any problems they are just trying to shoot the messenger!
    When in reality we should protect her!
    Do we former citizens of Cuba and citizens of Cuba have the right to be critical of the current government?
    Yes we do!
    We need to hold them accountable for their actions or should I say inactions!
    Go thru each of Yoani’s post and you will find a problem they have they can’t solve.
    Why can’t they solve it is a mystery to me. Some of them should not be difficult to solve but they themselves do not have this problems only normal people do.
    So there is no interest on their part to fix it. People in Cuba have gotten used to that too. The government is not held accountable.
    If you promise you will give milk I want a dead line of when will that be deliver
    not in 50 years but one or two years.
    If you promise water I want running water in every home in Cuba not in another 50 years
    etc etc..
    If you read the speeches from Fidel Castro you do realize all of this problems they face now they created them. Thru missmanagement and bad decisions one after another.
    So why can’t we have the right to unseat a government that is so inefficient and so corrupt?
    We should have that right anyone should have that right.
    Is called freedom! We need to get our freedoms back
    Yoani’s efforts are a step in the right direction
    One small step for a Cuban but a big step for the Cuban Nation if we can gain our freedom to speak without been call a gusano or a traitor !
    Sorry for the long rant!

  28. Hi All,

    As I’ve mentioned before — you are welcome to debate furiously, angrily, and with all the intensity these subjects deserve.

    But please try to avoid calling each other obscene names or threatening each other or anyone else with bodily harm. It’s against the “rules” of commenting on this blog and it’s not very productive.

    Thanks so much.
    Your Friendly English Translator


    Julio 31st, 2009 at 18:35

    REUTERS Article: Cuba’s Communist Party postpones key congress

    Castro said the party has to carefully analyze economic matters to determine “what must be perfected and even eliminated” as Cuba moves into the future without him or brother Fidel Castro at the helm, according to the newspaper Granma.
    The congress, where direction is set for the country’s future, was expected to take place at the end of this year. No new date has been set.

    The congress has been heavily anticipated because, among other things, it will determine if Fidel Castro, 82, stays on as head of the party.…..NQ20090731

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