Architecture of the emergency

In the early morning they removed the first bricks from the exterior wall to sell—each one—at three pesos on the black market. Like an army of ants, the poorest people in the area took the old closed factory and began to dismantle it. On the corner some kids watched in case the police approached, while the parents sifted through the residue of the debris to extract the mortar. Deft hands knocked it down during the day and carried it away at night, these construction materials that would allow them to build their own homes. After three weeks, all that was left of the enormous building was the floor and some columns standing in a vacuum. Everything that could be used had been moved to the territory of needs, had gone to support the architecture of the emergency.

On an island where to acquire cement, blocks or steel is comparable to getting a bit of lunar dust, destroying in order to build has become common practice. There are specialists in extracting clay bricks intact after eighty years of being embedded in a wall, experts in peeling off the glazed tiles from a demolished mansion, and adroit “deconstructors” who extract the metal girders from the collapsed heaps. They use the reclaimed materials to build their own habitable spaces in a country where no one can buy, legally, a house. Their main “quarries” are those houses that have fallen down or workplaces abandoned for many years by the apathetic State. They fall on these with an efficiency in looting that one might want to see in the dozing bricklayers who work for wages.

Among these skilled recyclers, some have been killed by a collapsing roof or falling wall, riddled by too many holes in its base. But at times lady luck also smiles on them and they find a toilet without cracks, or an electric socket that, in their hurry, the owners of the demolished house couldn’t take with them. A few kilometers from the site of the looting a small dwelling of tin and zinc slowly begins to change. The tiled floor from a house that fell in at Neptuno and Aguila streets has been added, along with a piece of the exterior railing from an abandoned mansion on Linea Street, and even some stained glass from a convent in Old Havana. Inside this house, fruit of the pillaging, a family—equally plundered by life—dreams of the next factory that will be dismantled and loaded onto their shoulders.

The poem “Economic Plan” by Amaury Pacheco, read by the author.


37 thoughts on “Architecture of the emergency

  1. Acojo con beneplacito la labor que han benido desarrollando, Felicidades. Cuidence ya yo pase por eso. Pronto te voy a escribir.

  2. cabroncito:
    I know it takes courage to speak your mind, it takes knowledge to exercise your right of speach & but it also makes you liable.
    Rights come with responsibilities.
    Specially when one’s right ends where other’s rights begins.
    Your freedom of opinion is valuable, I belive it so but: ask yourself how? ask yourself why? perhaps you belive it to be an entitlement?
    I am sure you have a good life (I belive you about the “good things”)to think you could be lying or “bending’ the truth would be to judge you by how you come accross.
    The proofs are not presented by words, in this case of yours; the truth is presented by the numbers of your economy, by the value of your money, by all the “volunteer” work, by the pictures of your cities, by the comments & pictures of the tourists visiting your island.
    Unless you believe there is a Great World Conspiracy in which each country in this world is in unison with the other to put your country down …
    I think all this merits some thought, calm and patient research and a good introspective analisis of your life, your goals and perhaps some thought about your future & the one for your children and the rest of the family.
    Over half a century of time gone bye might be to long to see if something works or not woudn’t you say?
    Be well friend … with all my respect and love

  3. Yeah “cabroncito” and all the hardship yet to be seem in the future to come, because really, your are the dumbest people. Who can’t hear what will be good for yourself and still want to believe that someone else will provide you with lot of food and not work to do. But the same people who make you believe in that will put you to work, once more, and will put no food in your table — once more, over and over again, forever and ever. And one more time you will go out to the street and give your full support to break your own good moral system buying your food from the very same system you disbelieve, the black market, the thefts, the corruption who does not live 90 miles away from where you are, they are just the house next to yours. Sorry if you don’t get it you’re really dumb my friend, and not so “cabroncito”, jajajaja.

  4. Diana, I’m sorry but I have the right to an opinion of Yoani and Cuba as I have worked in Cuba for a number of years. She contributes nothing to improving the lives of the everyday residents of Cuba. The only thing she does is to play to the old Cuban right wing farts and misguided believers that live in Miami and broadcast untruths about what is going on in Cuba. Do a little more ballanced reading and learn of some of the good things that have happened despite all the hardships that Cubans have encountered.

  5. To Kim Obrien:

    The problem with the homeless is a complex one. Beginning with the fact that South Florida has a livable climate year round, and they get many nomadic people from the rest of the country, who might otherwise freeze up north. The area is somewhat like a depository of the homeless so to speak for much of the country. Secondly, as you might be aware, mental health patients were let go out of sanatoriums twenty to thirty years ago, as recommended by professional psychiatric organizations and other Health Authorities, as it was determined that they would be better taken care of in special and halfway housing and/or living nearby family and relatives. Thirdly, if you’ve seen pictures of what sanatoriums looked like back in the fifties and sixties, you would not want a relative mental patient in one of these institutions. There is just no cost efficient way to take care of them inside big structures.

    Most of the homeless in South Florida have access to soup kitchens and shelters where they can go if they wish. Like in most major cities, these are spread around the down town areas. But because of their mental state, as well as the fact that homeless people value their independence and outdoor living, they choose to stay and sometimes even sleep outside. Now, if we go by your own numbers, six thousand divided by 2.4 million (Miami metro area rough population) comes out to 0.25 percent of the population. This compares favorably with communist countries, where even people in good mental health do not have a place to live and have to stay with their parents, in some cases, for the duration of their parents lifetime or married life whichever ends first.

    If capitalism can supply housing to 99.75 percent of the population, I’ll take it any time!!!

  6. Dozing Bricklayers and the inability to buy a house? I give you this your middle class predudice is showing through. I saw an old young coworker today. He was going through the garbage out side our workplace looking for soda cans he could redeem for 5 cents. He was fired for missing 3 days work. Miami has six thousand homeless many who live under Interstate 95. All these economic experts say the problem was to many people buying houses that coudn’t pay for them. So now their are plenty of houses deteriorating because they are empty. While the homeless live in tents by the river or crowd in with family. The real problem is Captitalism. Yet the current war president has just been anointed as the prince of peace.

  7. Cabronsito:

    You know that your name is perfect for you? Your name is what you are, so no matter what the people said or try to explain to you the problems in Cuba you are going to repeat the same thing like a parrot. The only problem that Cuba has is the dictator and his regime, is not the embargo. How could you said those things to Yoani, she is living there, she knows what she is talking about, she is suffering the conditions that only the goverment in Cuba has created but not only that also the lack of freedom of speech, travel, reunions. What the people in Cuba needs is democracy and a free market economy, not people like you that only wants to travel to Cuba and take advantage of the situation.

  8. cabroncito
    Octubre 14th, 2009 at 03:42
    You said:
    ……. Cuba doesn’t have any of the raw materials to make bricks, they have to import bricks paying for them with dollars.

    So the only one that “habla mierda aqui” are you……. and you continue “hablando mierda” trying to hide the firt “mierda” that you said.

  9. Candido
    Octubre 15th, 2009 at 11:49


    Did you know, that, since the 70s the Central Planning Board (the company which plans the national economy, called JUCEPLAN) witnessed a million times the brutal anger of the Murderer in Chief Fidel Castro, when ever he wanted to approve or disapprove any project, simply said a bad word in high voice and hit with his fist on the table in front of everyone?, then, from that time on, scared to death the present persons there, said yes or not and followed the indications of the old murderer.

    Among these “pataletas” was a lot of times, the program to increase the production capacities of cement “, which was rejected thousands of times by the dictator, according to his will that day.

    Do you know, that, the murderer in chief, among other programs, for example, wanted?:

    -To build a new iron and steel siderurgy with haltes oven?

    -To build a base for ships supertankers in each province, many of which had just begun to build the seaport !!!!!

    -He always opposed the expansion of capacity to industrialize agriculture

    I could draw thousands of examples like that, even, I remember one day in 1988, in front of 8 people, faced Olympic champion Alberto Juantorena (Montreal in 1976), striking his fist on the table and shouted in his face:

    “I do not care if we’re not going to the Olympics in Korea!! So what?

    That is part of our sad history after more than 50 years of cruel repression and everything thanks to the cruelty of “our” sick old Murderer in Chief” Fidel Castro


  10. Cold, you say not to live in the past, but you still talk of companies being taken over in the past, 50 years ago. You can’t have it both ways. No I don’t blindly support the Cuban Gov. They have made many many mistakes. Cuba will change by necesity even though it may be slowly. The best way to fource change would be to let Americans travel to Cuba freely and drop the embargo completely. But Obama is hesitating for his own political reasons, not for any just reasons. Why not drop the embargo, call Castro’s bluff and see what happens. Human nature will prevail. I notice that this site is usually very one sided and Yoani’s constant whining has left a bad ringing soung in my ears. Children now only want to think about getting a new blackberry not about politics.

  11. Cabroncito:

    Calcium silicate which makes up 75% of the components in cement, comes from limestone (or bedrock). You are right in that energy from various sources are used to manufacture cement, not least of which is electricity, which as you know the tyranny lacks due its self imposed isolation as a result of breaking its false promise to the people, to hold free elections, and driving out 20% of the population by dislodging and taking their property and businesses away.

    Cabroncito, do you support the regime? It’s Ok if you do. In fact, forget all about limestone, I think we’ve struck gold if you do, because the dynasty gets very angry when people disagree with it, and having someone who defends their politics is a rarity these days. The fact is, it appears that when the ancient octogenarians are in a position where they can’t physically or psychologically abuse their opponents, they shy away and run like deer. No one Cuban comes to their defense, or argues on their behalf anymore. In part because they fire every young stud they’ve appointed to positions of influence at regular intervals. The dynasty these days is particularly coy when challenged to participate in open debate. Talk about Jalisco!!

    But Cabroncito, you sound so young and alert. Ready to play dumb and overlook peoples viewpoint. Nasty habit, but I understand what it must be like being born and raised in a “shoot and shoot well” social environment. But listen, pay attention, look at the track record of those of your generation that have occupied high level positions. They just don’t make it for long. Time and again the old Coma-Andante and his family, use their hatchet man, el verdugo, to chop their cojones and throw them out of office, never to be heard from again – one of them is said to have become a painter, and won’t talk to anybody.

    Cabroncito you devil. You know, and are aware that the world is not run the way the old dinosaurs imagined it. There is the small detail of human nature, which they are impotent to control no matter how many times they made you repeat “Patria o Muerte” Only by incentivizing the people can they get anything done, and it’s now too late… after fifty years of wrecking havoc.

    Sure we all know the U.S. used to piss all over or whoever it felt like, earlier in the last century. But forget all that. That was long ago and times have changed now as you know. We have a negrito who’s president. How about it?

    Lastly Cabroncito. If you have children, or plan to have them, think of them more than yourself, forget the slogans and don’t worry about some old goats that do not have long to go. Whatever you do, JUST THINK.

  12. Carbo, I understand what you are saying, but when you Habla mierda I have to correct you. There were 3 cement factories before 1959, now there are 6. They produce 5,000,000 metric tons of cement a year the same way everyone else does in the world, with kilns. They don’t produce any “magic” carbo cement. Cemex was a co- partner with the Cuban Gov. until the U.S. pressured them to get out of Cuba with economic threats as they have done with other foreign companies (Delta hotels Sherrit etc) Bricks are made with cement or clay in case you didn’t know. You need one barril of oil to produce 1000kg of cement.

  13. 23
    Octubre 14th, 2009 at 21:36
    Hey bro, are you Jalisco, that never lose!!!!
    We were talking about bricks and then you started to talk about bricks made of marble…. then we were talking about bricks again and you start talking cement….. what’s your problem bro… do you not understand what we write here or what????
    Anyway, for you information there is 3 big cement factories in Cuba working long before the Substitution of 1959 took place and we used to fabricate a special kind of cement that doesn’t need so sophisticated fabrication process….. the same process Romans and Spanish empires used for building Europe and America …. of course now with only a little improving . We did not need to use same engineering solutions that other countries used because we had our own solution so we got to build the higher building in the world with no metallic structure but only armed concrete of special kind: FOCSA building in Havana.
    And I repeat it for third time hoping this time you get it…… cuban people uses to built bricks and construction blocks nowadays using local resources and artisan method some times with the approval of the government another times hiding this “illegal activity”…… This is my last attempt to make you understand…. if you don’t get it I quite!!!!

  14. Cold, If you would look up how to make cement, you will see that you need calcium,silicone,aluminum, iron and gypsum and a 1480 deg. C kiln to make cement. It is not just ground up bedrock. You need to burn natural gas or petroleum to get that kind of heat (Expensive and scarce in Cuba). It is usually made in an almost horizontal rotating ovens. After a period of time the clinkers exit the oven, are cooled and ground into the grey powder we know as cement.

  15. 18
    Octubre 14th, 2009 at 15:29

    This is very right mister carbo…And also we have a huge problem here in Greece with our architecture…And the new goverment doesn’t seem wanting to change this problem…
    I am sure the Greeks will solve this architectural problem shortly…. and in the worst case, if it is not solved by the politicians then the people will vote them out in free elections.
    But the cuban problem is not architectural but political….. we have a tyranny destroying the country for 50 years, a tyranny that sustains it self by killing all opposites, incarcerating all dissenters and harassing all people. We have lost tens of thousands men, women and children in our fight for freedom, hundred of thousands has been in jail for decades forgotten of the rest of the world. We have lost 20% of our population that decided scape this inferno for trying to give a life in freedom to theirs children in other countries including Greece……. Cuba’s problem is much more than a limestone or architectural “problem”….. it is also your problem because so long do you not understand it you will be also responsible in some way of the suffering of our people.

  16. cabroncito
    Octubre 14th, 2009 at 15:47

    Carbo, you don’t make bricks from marble, granite or jaimanitas stone, they are facing materials not construction materials. You use bricks, concrete blocks or concrete to build.
    Huuuummmm!!…… I suspect you are not as “cabroncito” as you say…… read the #16.
    Cuba is full of all raw materials needed to fabricate bricks and construction bloks, cement (sand, limestone, clay)…. it is everywhere in the world!!!!!….. I repeat…. cubans uses to fabricate bricks and construction blocks when the tyranny relaxes the internal blockade.

  17. Pertaining to construction material production in Cuba, here is the answer to the best of my knowledge. A developer reader is welcome to correct me if I’m wrong:

    First of all, do not listen to anything the dictatorship tells, because chances are they are lying and the truth is probably 180 degrees from what they say.

    Concrete and concrete blocks are made from aggregate which includes sand and cement. Cement is obtained by pulverizing stone from stone quarries. Unless you are an atoll in the middle of the Pacific, most land masses have available sites for quarrying stone, which is nothing but bed rock. My childhood house in Cuba was sitting on bare bedrock. The whole planet is surrounded by a layer of bedrock. Deeper down you find granite which is the hardest construction quality stone on the planet. Granite can be found near the surface where tectonic plates have literally been upturned on edge, by forces deep down.

    One of the problems the dynasty faces is that production of cement (pulverized bedrock) is energy intensive and they lack proper electric energy production. They can’t even supply the population with household current at times, let alone support a significant cement and aggregate industry.

  18. Carbo, you don’t make bricks from marble, granite or jaimanitas stone, they are facing materials not construction materials. You use bricks, concrete blocks or concrete to build.

  19. “Cuba has even plenty of high quality finish raw materials such as marble, granite and the so called “Jaimanita’s stone” a coral like stone you will find covering all buildings around the “Substitution Plaza” and hotels in Havana.”

    This is very right mister carbo…And also we have a huge problem here in Greece with our architecture…And the new goverment doesn’t seem wanting to change this problem…

  20. Cuba has even plenty of high quality finish raw materials such as marble, granite and the so called “Jaimanita’s stone” a coral like stone you will find covering all buildings around the “Substitution Plaza” and hotels in Havana.

  21. cabroncito
    Octubre 14th, 2009 at 03:42

    ……. Cuba doesn’t have any of the raw materials to make bricks, they have to import bricks paying for them with dollars.
    Of course Cuba have plenty of raw materials to make bricks……. only the internal castro-blockade stops the cubans to fabricate all construction materials they need. The scattered occasions the tyranny has lifted this hard internal blockade cubans started to develop private industrial activities of all kind ….. among them the fabrication of bricks and construction blocks. Before castro Havana was surrounded by construction material factories that used local raw materials the bigest of this factories name was “Talla Piedra”

  22. por vez primera he visto por casualidad estas informaciones en web …sabia que existian pero… pense primeramente que se trataba de alguien..’apoyado por el gobierno..pues pense …quien en cuba si ni hablar se podia .. va a estar hablando en contra de “la revolucion”… si es evidente que en mi etapa ..aquella persona que hiciera una critica un comentario los mismos amigos nos decian…oye no me metas en candela… o las paredes tiene oido aquello era ..increible para decir lo que sintieras…y lo que veo y escucho.. me sorprende? me pregunto como es posible que no esten presos todos? porque en mi tiempo por menos que eso .. el gobierno ..? no le importaba nada .. te metia preso como si fuera agua aquello..por tener dolares preso ..por hablar peligrosidad .. no candela! ..siento aun desconfianza con estos comentarios…oye esta gente vienen aqui y aqui te encuentran y te desaparecen igual esta gente no cree ni en su madre.yo veo esto y me siento como el venado… una pata levantada ..y desconfiado ..que va!..esto me huele a queso …y esta muchahca … mandada abiertamente… nahhh cuantas veces a estado presa?… nananina eso..eso no me lo trago yo.que familia tiene presa politico o q pelearon en el escambray o lucharon …?quien de ellos es balsero..? nah!… pienso y hablo en alta voz.asi tenga los premios que quieran no paso esa pildora..esto es del gobierno aqui. muy bien preparado todo esto. claro..en mi tiempo conoci a jovenes que hablaban ingles y todo y eran de la gestapo.estudiante en aquellos en el guiteras.y con internet sin que se lo corten? jaja que va nah.! si aun uno hablando con la familia le tumban la llamada cuando dices algo que ellos no quieres que digas … ella con fidel castro lo ha gritado lo ha dicho y lo harepetido a todos.. “me recuerdo cuando lo de granada..creo..senores imperialistas arrogantes y prepotentes sepanlo bien les tenemos absolutamente ningun miedo vienen aqui …van a morir mas de los que murieron en la segunda guerra mundial..eso fueron discursos de guarapo..asi que hablando y criticando eso a el le da .. nada.. o no lo han visto a travez de tantos años… si esta ahi es porque ..el mismo gobierno de aqui lo apoya en algun modo…oye quieren migracion masiva.. asi estan dentro de la isla..en definitiva la politica es sucia y siempre lo ha sido hoy estan asi y manana .. igual que los diplomaticos se dan abrazos..mientras tanto ..mi pueblo mis calles ..mi cuba se cae en pedazos.. le importa? para nada le interesa ..el billete que no tiene todo…cuba debe y sera libre algun dia ..libre de tirania y persecuciones …ni estado asociado ni nada de eso ..cuba es cuba ..y tendra su propio libre gobierno con su bandera..libre ..como lo somo marti o como lo dijo el general ignacio agramonte.. dejense ya de cabildeos discutir cosas que averguenzan nuestra patria…a cuba en mi opinion ..tendremos que tomarla peleando desgraciadamente habra que quitarsela a esos que hoy arruinan nuestras familias nuestra cultura y humillan a los cubanos donde los extrangeros tiene mas poder que los mismos cubanos que ni zapatos ni ropas ni comida ni nada de eso tiene ..alguien dijo ‘el dia que mi pueblo me tire piedras.bien tiradas estaran ..y no seguire en mi mando… bueno y que dice fidel castro de eso?.cuando deje cuba no pude nunca mas regresar aun cuando mi padre murio..como yo muchos balseroorgulloso de ser cubano y no permitire que me hablen mal de mis cubanoso de mi patria mi pueblo que no son jineteras..son prosttitutas obligadas ..y eso no decia fidel que no existia en cuba? pues si.. queeras rezagos del capialismo?ah!..que el dolar era desviacion idiologica?..humm como cambia a su conveniencia bien me dijeron mis mayores.. el tipo es un demagogico astuto y cobarde porque siempre metio en candela a los demas .. para salvarse el.. “sigan sacrificandose para vivir mejor el y su poarentela de corruptos.. todos aquellos que hoy comen bistec del gobierno y los pobres del pueblo comen ..alcohol muriendose alos 40 años..que socialismo eh? que..potencia medica..! que verguenza debe darle a ese tirano..a su hermano que es un analfabeto que solo obedece a su hermanito.. los dos tiene al pais en miseria.. y sus lacallos de la gestapo.. esos que hoy sus hijos estan en mandos los raulitos ..hoy el rubiesito debe ser un hombre y asi muchos hijos de ellos que conoci.. desde ya jovenes eran corruptos los conoci en el barbaran si nuevo vedado..etc etc.. todos son iguales ellos y los hijos por eso..el dia que cuba cambie ..nuestros hijos les pediran para atras hasta el ultimo kilo… si de sus bancos y si deberian quitarle todo si todo eso salio de nuestras familias de nosotros .. mira como tiene a cuba..y aun critica a lo conoci porque no habia nacido cuando decian que era malisimo..bueno peor es el ..o pinoche.. “dictador” y fidel .. el es el mayor dictador de la historia..

  23. Ciao, ho appreso del tuo blog dal giornale La Repubblica e incuriosito ho cercato il tuo contatto.
    E’triste vedere soffrire un popolo che non ha mai conosciuto la libertà; soffocata dagli spagnoli prima, dagli americani che sostenevano Batista dopo,e da Castro adesso. Un popolo non può essere inerme di fronte alla mortificazione della propria dignità. Libertà e dignità significano anche poter dare da mangiare ai propri figli, significa esprimere un parere, significa avere un lavoro, significa dedicare alla propria persona un po’ di tempo libero, significa pluralità.
    Fammi sapere se hai bisogno di qualcosa per mandare avanti la tua pacifica battaglia sarò lieto di aiutarti. Non conosco lo spagnolo, quindi mi servo del traduttore google. Spero si riesca a capire.
    Ricordatevi di ciò che fece Ghandy.
    Un caro saluto.

    Hola, me enteré de su blog por el diario La Repubblica y curiosidad, probé su contacto.
    E’triste ver a personas sufriendo que nunca ha conocido la libertad, sofocada por los españoles antes que los americanos que afirmaron después de que Batista, y Castro ahora. Un pueblo no puede ser impotente en la cara de la humillación de su dignidad. La libertad y la dignidad también puede significar para alimentar a sus hijos, es expresar una opinión, es tener un trabajo significa dedicarse a un poco de tiempo libre »se entiende la pluralidad.
    Avísame si necesitas algo para enviar su lucha pacífica por delante estará encantado de ayudarle. Yo no sé español, así que usar el traductor de Google. Espero que entiendas.
    Recuerde que lo que hizo Ghandy.
    Un cordial saludo.

  24. John Two, I am quite aware of the scarcety of material in Cuba, we recycle here because material is expensive and it is environmentaly more desirable, not because of scarcety as in Cuba and besides there is nothing better than free material. Cuba doesn’t have any of the raw materials to make bricks, they have to import bricks paying for them with dollars.

  25. SPIES SHOULD BE PUNISHED. People of Cuba demand more from your own Government. Fidel has a 50 foot Yacht and a pen full of Dolfins to swim with. New Revolution is in order.

  26. cabroncito, what Yoani is describing is not recycling of used building materials, but rather looting due to the unavailability of either used or new building materials through legitimate channels.

    Welcome to Yoani’s blog Nicholas, but your argument in #3 is about as credible as the Castro regime’s accusation that anyone who opposes their policies is on the CIA payroll.

  27. Creo que Juanes deberia hacer algo para que Yoani obtenga sus documentos y vaya a recibir su premio. Todavia me acuerdo que Miguel Bose decia que ese concierto seria historica y habrian cambios….

  28. I’m sure (I know) the folks over at huff-post do not support policies like those in Cuba. People below have described this in a much better way than I could. But, for those on the right in America to equate leftist democrats or even european style democratic-socialists and being anywhere in the same ballpark as the authoritarian communist regime in Cuba …is almost insulting to those who are struggling for real freedom in Cuba.

  29. Parece que hay ciertas dificultades en la página en castellano.
    Obviando el tema arquitectónico que más asemeja a la desripción del estado de ruina física y moral, en estos días se están cociendo leves movimientos para el retorno forzado a Cuba de cubanos desde USA con antecedentes penales o cumpliendo condenas.
    De momento hay unos doce expedientes listos.

    Veo deslizarse una “solución” para los CINCO TERRORISTAS….
    Es significativo este caso:

  30. Not that I’m replying to Nick Fitzgerald below, who as a new comer to this blog, may not be fully aware of the situation in Cuba. Andy and Candido below, have answered his question very eloquently.

    Let me first say that I’m an uncompromising believer in freedom of the press, individual rights to choose, and free enterprise. I believe in going after terrorists, as long as we don’t make a ten year war out of any theater of war – world war two was over for the U.S. in four years.

    But coincidentally, and in listening to some TV and radio commentators, one of the things that scare me about extreme right wingers, is that they can’t see beyond their little circle of experiences and overdeveloped sense of self righteousness and importance. They imagine themselves to be logical and in some cases, standing on the cradling hands of their chosen deity, as if on a “sacred” podium, well above us, lesser commoners. If you give factual, rational and well thought out answers, it won’t sink in, no matter what you say or how you say it. Both, the result of a mix of short sighted self-interest and delusion. But what’s worse, if one listens to talk radio, when addressing themselves to those who differ (if they get past the phone screener), instead of considering you a fellow American with a dissimilar view, who may have given up a family member in defense of the country in Iraq or Afghanistan, you might just be accused of thinking like a Nazi, your background questioned, (god forbid if you are a legal resident or naturalized citizen) and possibly something aching to a traitor, and definetly cut out of finishing your sentence. Talk about overpowering, bullying and eliminating opposing views!!!

    I’m sure Yoani and most people in Cuba, probably don’t know the specific politics of the Huffington Post, from this evening’s family meal, which they may have to scrounge around the city for. In addition, she’s probably too busy or unable to listen to Limbaugh or Hannety, and instead tries to tell us the truth, like the report above on how people build their homes in the island. She is standing up to a real, factual, all destroying beast: the Castro’s fifty year dynasty.

  31. To Nicolas:

    Obviously, you do not know the Cuba that began in 1959 and until today has been ruled by the heavy hand of a dictatorship led by Fidel Castro and a group of mobsters loyal to his cause.

    We would need to fill many pages trying to explain something that only you can feel and know, after having lived, so real ever !!!! and of course never before you live it!!!

    So in summary, I will try to describe the case with an example of the Cuban situation.

    Imagine you, an American, with all the advantages that gives you your freedom of expression, movement to pursue your happiness, etc, etc, with all those huge profits and perhaps, a few flaws,,,,, imagine a single second,,,, that you are a bird,,, that you are free to fly with your wings, always trying to survive with your effort, doing what you feel must be right, etc, etc,,,, but FREE.

    Then, suddenly someone puts this bird in a cage which can not escape and provides food to not die, but only food, selected by the same person who put the bird in the cage, then the bird can’t choose his own food!!!!,,,,image that- the same person- covers the cage every time he does not want the bird singing, in other words, the little bird can sing when that person decides , imagin, that the bird was cut off both wings and can not fly, so, that before any accident, even, if the door of his cage is open can not escape.

    Imagine, that the bird can’t choose his own partner , only the one selected by its owner , imagine, that the bird after so many years imprisoned in a cage is used to getting his own food, the same ration of water, etc, and he is afraid to come out already, even, if he saw his cage open ready to escape but there is to much fear to face the consequences if get caught!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Imagine all this for a moment and answer honestly,,,then, if you can imagine this monster called Cuban communist society where all citizens are birds like that, described as I’m telling you,,, then Imagine yourself being a bird like that and tell me!!


  32. to Nicolas Fitzgerald —

    Just a question… have you been to Cuba? Do you really think a sort of “soft left” site like the Huffington Post espouses a view that the US would be better off with a dictator who maintains power for his entire life?

    Do you think the Huff-Post thinks that Americans should not be free to come and go from their own country — as continues to happen to Yoani in Cuba? Do you think the Huff-Post thinks that people in the US should not be able to buy and sell homes? Move anywhere they want within the country itself? Do you think the Huff-Post thinks the government should own EVERYTHING? Should people be imprisoned for speaking their minds? Should all newspapers and television and radio stations be owned by the government?

    And what do you think Yoani herself thinks that the current system of government in Cuba should be replaced with? A democratic republic? Or complete anarchy?

  33. As an American I have a great deal of respect and admiration for what you are doing. I understand the risk you are taking and I applaud your courage and fortitude. This leaves me with a question I can’t quite figure out the answer to. Why would you associate yourself with an organization, the Huffington Post, that promotes the same kind of overpowering government as you have in Cuba? I don’t get it.

  34. ***
    Hi Candido–good story. People will find a way to get what they need to live. Too bad the communist Cuban government killed the economy to help all the poor people get poorer.
    Hola Candido–buen cuento. La gente enconteran un modo escojer lo que necesita para vivir. Lastima que el communista gobierno cubano mato la economia para ayudar la gente pobre ponerses mas pobres.
    John Bibb

  35. I remember in the early 80s when I did built a small apartment in the back of the house of my parents.

    First of all, to obtain the money, I took up photography -illegall-, since government will not let the professionals take out licenses for particular jobs.

    I remember in those years -and I imagine that today is the same-, the more pressure that someone felt when he was involved in construction, was stopped for lack of materials, it marked the collapse of the stimulus and therefore fall into the inertia of “not,,, I can’t go “and leave everything aside.

    I remember that as I approached the stage to do the plumbing, but could not get the clay pieces I needed, because my apartment was directly in soil and cast iron parts are not appropriate for this area.

    A neighbor of mine, was building his apartment on the roof of the house of his parents and was missing a single tuber of cast-iron 10 feet to end, however, someone had gotten a complete set of clay pipes delivered to him and he will use it in exchange for the only pipe he needed.

    I remember one day, en route to work, I got off the bus at the Hospital “Dependendiente” where the Government was doing some repairs and I went directly to one of the cast iron pipes,,,,,, as if it was assigned to me by “decree”!!!! I took the pipe on my shoulder and then went up back the road to my house in San Miguel del Padron with the pipe on my shoulder.

    I remember I walked over 10 miles, with that piece of pipe which reminded me a little while Calvary cross of Christ carrying the cross!!!!!

    I finally came to my neighbor’s house, I gave the pipe he needed and he gave me all the pieces of clay that I needed.

    I went ahead and finished a few months after my little “apartment” done through blood and fire.


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