Family photo

Image taken from the “underblog” of Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos

In the snapshot of the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos which will be taken of his visit to Cuba, there will be no room for nonconformist relatives. In front of the lens there will be the forced smiles of the ministers, the luster of the ministries and the feigned complacency of those who hold power. In the composition those who say “No” will be superfluous and skeptics will be excluded. Only happy faces will be allowed in front of the camera; those with dirty clothes will stay home, even though the washing machine of public discussion hasn’t been turned on for decades nor has detergent been allowed anywhere near the smelly utopia.

He who moves will not appear in the photo, because the resulting image will need to obtain political and economic support, not generate concern. Thus, the cobwebs will be whitewashed, the military uniforms hidden under protocol suits and – for one brief moment – they will appear younger than they really are. Thorny issues will be avoided. Why discomfit the visitor? And once he leaves some naughty child or other will get his smack on the head for bothering the guest. The syrupy family portrait of this visit will be in sepia because the contrasting tones of reality do not fit into the album of diplomacy.

With one of those silly little cameras used to take the same pictures tourists always take, the usual repetitive images will be taken: a school full of students with well-ironed uniforms, a factory with shiny modern machines, a nearly completed engineering project, and there will be no lack, of course, of the staged crowds, organized from above.

The negative will need to remain impeccable for later printing in the pages of history. If perhaps some inappropriate detail slips in, it will have to be fixed in Photoshop, retouching the photo of the already altered normality and editing the faces of those who did not come out smiling.

16 thoughts on “Family photo

  1. Love your “prosa” …
    Just don’t sell short the intelligence of the Spanish representative.
    Sometimes the visitor’s pleasure is in the hidden realization of the transparent truths; in the extend of the deluision these “leadership” lives under … perhaps they think “no one will notice”?
    The humilliantion for the “leadership” comes from having to hide the reality of the people and their situation.
    The “leadership’s” failure at every concept from: the “new” man to the utopia of equality and freedom … their utopia … their freedom, their equality.
    Nevertheless the pueblo KNOWS and the day will come for justice (not for retribution) for freedom but not as a free gift, AS A RIGHT!

  2. Obama asked Spain to deliver message to Cuba: report
    Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:23am EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]
    MADRID (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama asked Spain to send Cuba a message about reform when he met Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero earlier this month, the newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday.
    Six days after their meeting on October 13 at the White House, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos visited the Caribbean island and met President Raul Castro.
    “Have (Moratinos) tell the Cuban authorities we understand that change can’t happen overnight, but down the road, when we look back at this time, it should be clear that now is when those changes began,” Obama told Zapatero, according to diplomatic sources quoted by El Pais.
    “We’re taking steps, but if they don’t take steps too, it’s going to be very hard for us to continue,” Obama said.
    Obama has pledged a “new beginning” in ties with Cuba as part of a new era of U.S. partnership and engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean.
    No one from the Spanish government was immediately available to comment on the report.
    Moratinos met Castro on October 19 and said the communist leader had affirmed his commitment to economic reform and expressed his desire to continue improving relations with the United States.
    Spain, one of Cuba’s biggest trading partners, has highlighted improved relations between the European Union and the island as one of its priorities when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in January.
    (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

  3. Nice, perhaps a little bit predictable. The point was overlooked, subject dismissed. Although it is hard to see a transparent relationship between Spaniards and British, not so the confort in to see the providences get carry out on their own every now and them. All for the benefits of taxes from the crown, some support might be need indeed, yeaph perhaps… “Por que no te callas” might ring the bell.

  4. No body throws a party when the Bill Collector shows up, and that’s who this guy is. A thought for Candido- the expression I have always heard was ” If you are not a leftist in your youth you have no heart; If in your maturity you are Still a leftist you have no brain.”

  5. Yoani–

    Thank you for speaking the truth to power. Moratinos is an embarrassment. He makes promises about what the future holds when Spain has the presidency of the EU and it is not pretty. He calls this reaching out to Castro without meeting any dissidents as realism. Thankfully the scrutiny of the EU and the argument about what to do about the common policy without any movement by the Cuban dictatorship depends on unanimity. The Czechs, Poles and others who care will not allow him to speak so easily about a European position. Business deals for Spanish companies will not always trump support for freedom. Keep up your brave work!


  6. Candido
    Octubre 19th, 2009 at 17:59


    Brave is not enough to classify your attitude!!!! you are a true Cuban woman!!!!! a real patriot!!!!!

    You are a the new kind of “Mariana Grajales” under that cruel and sanguinary system.

    Keep on doing like that,,,no more,,,no less,,,avoid any reason to allow them to use it against you to go to prison!!!

    “A right idea, even, at the bottom of a cave, is more powerful than an army”,,,Jose Martí!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    God Bless you!!!!!!


  7. Candido
    Octubre 19th, 2009 at 17:33


    I’m sorry, but I just read your message today.

    Yes, I know a lot about Cuba, I was born in Havana, but I left Cuba in 1985, that is why I did not see the Maleconazo or the Special Period,,,thanks God!!!!!.

    Anyways, since 1959, and after been there under the communist conditions for 26 years is enough to know “almost anything” about that cruel and sanguinary system, in other words, after I left Cuba, I can image anything else!!!!!,,,then, with regard to Cuba under Castro, you don’t need to be a Julius Verne to forecast the future,,,,there is just a group of words capable to classify it : cruelty, repression, no freedom, dictatorship, tyranny, thing like that!!!!

    Best regards


  8. All of those cowardly ministers, will be waiting at the airport, pacing nervously up and down, thinking how, once again, to gain favor with the dynasty and the foreign visitors, simultaneously. They are also anxious to be in pictures, since they are fully aware that the dynasty is politically and philosophically immoral as well as incompetent. They know, and understand that for decades, they have kept the country in financial bankruptcy, which if not for the various white knights (Zapatero, Chavez, etc.) that come to their rescue, would have thrown the country into the netherworld of starvation and decease such as takes place in nations like Haiti and Zimbabwe. If they have any sense of self respect, care for the people, and don’t want to suffer the consequences of being despised by the population, once the inexorable hand of time and physics clinches its fist, taking matters into its own hands, they should gather up the strength and courage to effect change from within, right now, by confronting these old vermin and forcing them into overdue retirement and exile.

    It is obvious to everyone, even the least educated, but well informed citizens of countries with free press the world over, that Cuba, after fifty years of egotistical, one man (or family) dictatorship, deserves a younger, clear thinking, professional, and open minded leadership. Only in extremely backward, paternalistic societies such as North Korea, does one find dictatorships that feel entitled to, and think of the population almost as a lesser species, like Spartan helots, to be directed and forced to do as the dictator pleases, no questions asked. By living off the helots, the egotistical dictators can fatten up and collect all the luxuries and praises they covet. I hear both, Kim Il Sung and the lesser Castro share a taste for expensive European liquor.

    But make no mistake, these ministers’ pictures will be circulating in cyberspace, and their faces will be permanently recognized and etched in memory by those who have been savaged by their immoral, shameful and humiliating deeds, which they’ve perpetrated on the Cuban people.

  9. Y: Soy de la generacion que gracias a mis Padres de 29/30 anos quisieron que sus hijos fueran libres. Se me llenas los hojos de lagrimas, ya que este ano despues de 48 fue a mi patria de nacimiento. Estoy con ustedes…me puedes escribir cualquier cosa y si estuviese en mi alcance, todo es suyos. Fijate que tambien tengo una Y en mi nombre :) Igual que mi Mama! Tengo varios comentarios escritos de mi impresion, si quires te lo envio, ya que es una vision de mi persona, que tenia a Cuba muy lejos de mi corazon. Pero ya no, la llevo muy dentro, igual que a ustedes, los jovenes, el futuro de una Cuba Libre, sin oprecion. Una Cuba Rica, tal como Dios la creo, rica en tierra, abundante en cosechas, de musica profunda y sabrosa. Estoy contigo. Neysi Cambo

  10. I’ve read your blog before, it’s an eye opener. thank you. I have added a link to your blog from my blog.

  11. Hi Sandokan — that little photo is called a “gravatar” and you set it up by linking it to your email address. That means you will have to type in your email address on any site where you are commenting and you want your picture to show up. If you want your email to remain private (on this blog and many others only the administrator can see it, but perhaps you don’t even want the administrator to see it)… you can set up a separate email account on hotmail or gmail or anywhere, just to be linked to your photo.

    As for EXACTLY how to do it, here’s one place to go:

    Or you can just Google “how to get a gravatar”.

    Good luck… and we’ll know it worked when we see your photo here!

    Your Friendly English Translator

  12. To English Translator and all posters:

    I will appreciate very much information about how to add a photo to my posts. Thanks in advance.

  13. Cita,

    I could not help but to respond to your comment.In my oppinion you are missing the point.Althought, you said… “Totalitarism is not a joke.It changes peoples’ mindset”.A society that is plural and inclusive will change people minds set as well.That is the ultimate dream of Yoani and all of us as well.
    As you point out, look at the new Slovenia, even the leftist extremists are included.In the new Cuba we are expecting people that will say …” When Castro was in power things were better”. The only difference will be that, even these people will have the right to voice their oppinion,nobody will be an outcast, nobody will be call a dissident,nobody will be silenced , nobody will be forced to go into exile like it is happening in today’s Cuba
    In the USA the majority of College’s professors lean towards the left. Specially Social studies professors .But students are left with the choice to make up their own mind.

    There is a saying in this country that goes like this …”When you are young if you are in the LEFT you have no heart,but when you are old if you are not in the RIGHT you have no heart” ..

    Slovenia is young Republic.People like Leonardo Tamayo Nunnez can make propagandistic and demagogic spechees about another bloody mass murderer like Che Guevara all around Slovenia.In the USA we have a Michel Moore ,he does the same or even worse.That is fine, in fact, that is the way it should be.

    All Cubans want is to have the same opportunity all across the political spectrum and let the people decide “who is full of shit” and “who is the real deal”

  14. Apreciada Yoani

    desconocìa de tu existencia, hasta que por un canal de tv. ecuatoriano que emitiò un reporte sobre tu persona hoy, me entero de vos, tu inconformidad y fuerza

    quiza te parecerà tonto y vano desearte sigas combatiendo esa inconformidad, siendo la caja de resonancia de tantos corazones mudos; es facil desear solamente suerte a los verdaderos luchadores, mientras nosotros comodamente miramos desde nuestras camas como son perseguidos estos Cristos modernos que al callar, ganarìan tranquilidad y beneficios para sus cuerpos. Es facil desear sigas combatiendo, para nosotros quienes nos golpeamos los pechos en los viernes santos, admirados de lo malo que fueron los fariseos, barrabases, los judas y pilatos y luego, llegar a tragas ostias comodamente y salir del templo con alas negras sobre nuestras espaldas y aureolas de santidad rojas de tanto CALLAR

    se lo que has vivido y vives
    por vivir
    un mandamiento
    de mi comandante en jefe
    llamado valentìa

    te invito a que revises mi pàgina web en la cual comprobaràs que tienes un hermano de ideales, he sido perseguido, acusado y agredido por
    hacer lo que vos haces: DENUNCIAR

    Dios te bendiga

  15. Dear Yoani,
    You are full of hope (seen in your previous post). That’s right. I believe you will have democratic election in Cuba soon. You will be able to travel.
    But do not take totalitarism lightly. Totalitarism is not a joke.It changes peoples’ mindset.
    Look at Slovenia. 18 years after first democratic election a new street in Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia)was named after Josip Broz Tito.And Tito was a bloody mass murderer.
    A few days ago the University of Ljubljana invited Leonardo Tamayo Nunez to hold a lecture at the Faculty of Social Studies. Almost all of teachers on that Faculty are ardent leftists.
    Look at this video:
    Click on the picture.
    First a woman describes the great merits of Leonardo Tamayo Nunez for revolution (in Slovene). Then 2 students talk how glad they are that they could see and listen to sombody who was so close to great Che.Then Leonardo Tamayo Nunez himself answers some questions. Leonardo Tamayo visited some other towns in Slovenia too.

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