Shadow Beings


After what happened last Friday, I decided to bring to light a series of pictures of people who watch and harass me.

My relationship with the movies has always been from the seats in the shadow of a room where you can hear the sound of an old projector. It kept on like this until I started to live in my own movie, a type of thriller of the pursuers and the pursued, where it is up to me to escape and hide. The reason for this sudden change from spectator to protagonist has been this blog, located in this wide space—so little touched by celluloid—that is the Internet. I woke up two years ago with the desire to write the true script of my days, and not the rosy comedy they show in the official newspapers. I went, then, from watching movies to inhabiting one.

I have my doubts whether some day I’ll see the curtain come down and be able to leave the movie theater alive. The long film that we have been living for decades in Cuba does not seem to be close to the point where the credits are shown and the screen goes blank. However, the spectators are no longer interested in the interminable filmstrip shown by the authorized projectionists. Rather, they seem captivated by the vision of those who create a blog, a blank page where they record the questions, the frustrations and the joys of citizens.

Believing myself Kubrick or Tarantino, I have begun to post a testimony of these creatures who watch and harass us. Beings from the shadows who, like vampires, feed on our human happiness and inoculate us with terror through punches, threats and blackmail. Individuals trained in coercion who could not foresee their conversion into hunters who are hunted, faces trapped on camera, mobile phones, or in the curious retina of a citizen. Accustomed to gathering evidence for this dossier about each of us kept in some drawer, in some office, now they are surprised that we make an inventory of their gestures, their eyes, a meticulous record of their abuses.




170 thoughts on “Shadow Beings

  1. Well Done Yoani…

    Your struggle to debunk the Castro’s regime is known in Britain.. The Britihs press has given coverage to your blog. The Cuban Embassy in London is not very happy about it and has instructed British supporters of the so-called Cuban Revolution to write to the press denigrating you and your friends. The most notorious amanuence at the Embassy call is a Ron Miller, an University Lecturer and Director of Cuba Solidarity Campaign who has writen to the Daily The Guardian complaining that Human Rights Report on Cuba was unfair and biased.

    Keep photographing your tormentors (chivatos) and splash their faces on your website
    for all the world to see.

  2. Very well done, Miss!
    I saw about you on TV, I am from Brazil, you know…
    I got very impressed by your courage!
    You have all my support, for you are
    one of the few that struggle against Utopia,
    for it should stop being Utopia, and become Reality…

    That’s it, I wish you all the best!

    Stand up for the fight! (Bob Marley)
    Keep on rockin’ in the free world! (Neil Young)

    See ya

  3. las mismas personas que ha escondidas saben que el govierno no representa los intereses del pueblo y hasta hablan mal de el, sera por envidia o maldad. por que no es por que sean coumistas verdaderos, no lo son. cuando ven a otros cubanos protestando por tener mas los cojen y golpean. y la policia tambien. y como vas a demandar las cosas que pasan si todo es controlado por el govierno, los abogados. cualquier institucion en el mundo que tenga el control total del poder esta destinada a ser corrupta. por eso en los estados unidos la constitucion lo prohibe, un presidente solo puede cumplir 2 terms de 4 anos. y lo malo de cuba es que quizas el pueblo pueda ayudar a mejorar las cosas pero cuando hablan y sus opiniones se diferencias a las del govierno te caen a palos y te meten preso. acaso vamos a defender a fidel como un dios por que al principio de la revolucion trajo escuelas, etc. si,quizas le de las gracias por quitar a batista, que era otro tirano. pero despues de eso, que cojones ha hecho. nada. por que yo te haga un favor hoy, no quiere decir que tu me debas por el resto de la vida. y mas si quiero imponer lo que me de la gane sobre ti. paro que si no nunca termino. y aquellos que van a cuba a especular con dinerito pa buscar nenas y hacerce los duros, cuando en usa trabajan de limpia piso y se hacen los gerentes alla. uds son peores que los propios comunitas por que son unos hipocritas aprovechadores. viva cuba libre, viva el dia que como cubanos podamos votar por quien nos salga de alli, tampoco soy capitalista, pa que no me ataquen con eso.

  4. yo veo y veo que en cuba pasan cosas asi y despues leo a la gente diciendo que cambiara. quizas sea radical al decir que eso no va a cambiar si no actuamos con violencia a aquellos que reprimen y castigan ,roban,chivatean, atacan. dime seria la violencia necesaria en cuba, o acaso hay otros metodos de lograr una revolucion. quiero mantenerme en conatcto contigo yoany, o con tus amigos. soy cubano, jose g. vine para usa cuando tennia 15 anos y tengo 23. vivo en tampa, fl. estoy desesperado por encontrarme gente como tu, de morales fuertes. me considero uno. quiero formar un grupo aqui en la ciudad que vivo. siempre me ha gustado escribir. poemas, cuentos, canciones. por favor contestame para empezar algo serio y ver si dios nos permite traer libertad a esa miseria. sin violencia, pero de una manera fuerte

  5. parece mentira que a esta hora todavia en cuba haiga un regimen dictador esclavisando a un pueblo por 50 anos.Por otra parte los castros no son los unicos que tienen la culpa de lo que pasa en cuba.sabemos que el problema de cuba debe ser de los cubanos pero si los americanos han sabido a ir a liberar a otros paises por falta de libertad a miles de millas de distancia como es que no han podido hacerlo con cuba sabiendo que los castros son asesinos y solamente esta a 90 millas de la costa de los estados unidos.yo pienso que el cubano en el exilio ha sido usado como herramienta cada vez que han habido elecciones presidenciales cuando los presidentes predictan que si ganan el voto cuba sera libre, asi llevamos 50 anos.

  6. yoandy todos estamos respaldandote .los castros no podran aguantar lo que viene en el futuro.ya el mundo esta cansado de lo mismo y las mentiras del gobierno castrista, el gobierno de la habana no es gobierno ni es dictadura solamente es una mafia controlada por dos individuos y sus seguidores que controlan un pueblo por la fuerza la carcel y amenazas.los hombres que asesinan a personas innocentes y le saben dar golpe a sus ciduadanos nada mas por tener diferentes ideas no son governantes si no mafiosos, como no tienen el recurso de mantener un pueblo como es devido cuando se ven perdidos entonces es que usan la violencia.

  7. yoandi te felicito por tu pensamiento, tu valentia. los cubanos de alla y los de aqui tenemos que hacer todo lo possible para llegar a nuestra meta liberar a cuba y salvar a la humanidad de las garras de los asesinos castros.

  8. Yoani, I admire your courage. I am doing the small things I can to spread the word about your blog. I hope there will be dozens of others in Cuba who find the courage to join you. I am 59 years old. I can remember that when I was your age, I thought the Iron Curtain would never fall in my lifetime. What a joy it was in 1989 when I was proven wrong. I have also thought that Cuban and North Korean governments would survive as examples of communist repression. Perhaps I will be able to rejoice soon when those dinosaur regimes fall.

  9. Yoani your efforts are above and beyond what many Cubans have done both past and present. If we could clone 10 of you Cuba may be liberated. Keep up the good work.
    But what will come next? Living in Miami I see how the Cuban comunitty has progrsssed or failed too. The older generation that arrived in late 50s and early 60s has established a political system that has turned Dade County on its head by creating a privlidged political class and taxing business and property owners in an abusive way. Many newer arrivals find it hard to shake old habits and have made Miami Dade and Florida ground zero for medicare fraud and “hydroponic homes”
    I wish the Cuban people freedom, but I hope they don’t end up in a bachanalia of abuse and corruption that got them were they are today in the first place.

  10. i think it would be interesting to know who the chivatos are? and also how come the familly of “untouchable” are buying houses and more in differents country and our people staving on the street. i know them very well because i went to school with many of their daughters and son @guiteras school 23&A

  11. #151


    I have been away for most of the day and saw your post. Rather than continue this into the next area, I say this to you here.

    You were right to respond as you did to my post. I seldom resort to colloquialisms and will refrain from doing so going forward.

    I do not question your intentions or what you bring to this place. I do not offer unsolicited advice. My connections to Cuba and experience of all that has happened there are different from yours. But they are profoundly real. No less real than yours. You mentioned education free of indoctrination after leaving Cuba. I am also a product of that education and have achieved a measure of success because of it.

    Let’s get on with talking about the things that matter.

  12. Concubino

    I am watching the video you posted
    and I totally agree with the first few statements of the video.

    I had try to explain something similar to that before but maybe I was not very successful.

    Communism is total government control and we all know total government control will be a doom no matter if is far left or far right who totally control a total government
    because they will do whatever it takes to keep that kind of order Including repressing torturing and murdering as we all know and eliminate all the human rights!

    On the other hand we can not go either for total anarchy that is everyone does as it pleases. There has to be some sort of in between society that not everything is government property and not everything is anarchy a middle ground, Cubans will have to find what that middle ground is for them. I am sure that middle ground will have
    Freedom and Human dignity in it.

    The Cuban regime used to be all the way to the left that is everything was control by the government but because of the severe economic crises after the fall of Berlin they had to allow back a little bit of private initiative like Paladars(food establishment) etc. just enough so that the whole ship will not go down!

    With the economic situation they have now they maybe force to open even more.

    Will see.

  13. Post Fidel vengeance and forgiveness… maybe we should call this “the great reckoning”. (Note, I did NOT capitalize it!)

    This of course will be the subject of as much anguish and struggle as the property rights. Who are the “little people”… and who are the “big people”.

    Some of the really hard issues I see:

    Government leaders. Some will be judged “too dirty”to be allowed to have any role in a new Cuba… whether they will be jailed or punished in some way, I don’t know… but clearly they cannot continue to be in power.

    But… do you throw out EVERYONE who held any power? How far down? How are the new positions filled then? With complete neophytes? Remember… Fidel, Che, Raul etc… all neophytes. Look how successful it was last time!

    Here’s a great book I recommend: My 14 months with Castro. by Rufo López Fresquet, 1966. Lopez Fresquet was Fidel’s first treasury minister… a competent economist… of course he had to escape with his life in the end. His book is a great look into the disaster in the making… How does Cuba avoid continuing the tradition?

    Los Chivatos: What happens to the woman with her hands over her face. Make no mistake, it’s fear of the future, and even the present, that brought those hands up… she’s not worried about whether she forgot her make-up that morning…

    It’s the same as with the government officials… how far down do you go? If everyone active in their CDR is a criminal in the post-Fidel Cuba… who’s left? Half the population? Less?

    I think South Africa offers some lessons, with its Truth and Reconciliation commission.. I would love to hear from readers from the former communist countries of Europe and others… how does this work? How do you successfully move on?

    Again, Germany immediately post-war might offer lessons. Suddenly there were no Nazis. They disappeared. And how could that happen? Because almost everyone was a Nazi and so of course everyone had a stake in moving on. There are some good books and movies about this. One I remember about a young woman later ‘digging up the dirt’… she had to know… it was very painful for all concerned.

    I suspect in Cuba this may go on for another 50 years… until all who partook are finally dead and buried.

  14. To Andy and Hank
    Will you like to be moderators in these topics that are fascinating to you and all of us?. You not only can be moderators but your comments will de great addition as well.There is a new post. We can take it there. Let me know.As always I’m game.Thanks.

  15. Post-Fidel property rights.

    I don’t know if everyone is aware, but foreign govts, for example the US and I’m not sure about others… Spain? Does anyone know?… Foreign governments have issued legal judgments against the Castro regime for confiscations — settling these accounts is one of the main demands of what I will call, for now, the “hard liners”.

    Of course the court judgments tend to be in favor people who owned millions in property etc. The people whose little houses were confiscated by the government after they left, there are no judgments on their behalf.

    I like to think none of this will really be an issue. That it will all be resolved fairly easily and the real struggle will be assigning property rights to people living on the island, ordinary people.

    But it is hard to say.

    I suspect Fidel/Raul et al will take their riches to their graves… that is they’re parked in untouchable off-shore accounts and investments that their heirs will have control of and the (probably literally) billions lost to this will mostly be unrecovered. But who knows.

    So… it’s not like the claims of Holocaust victims against Germany, for example. Because where is the current day wealth to pay these claims? It no longer exists.

    This whole topic is worthy of a lot of thought. For whatever our thoughts in this blog are worth!

  16. So many interesting threads here and I’ve been off-line for a bit (ever now and then as you know, we all benefit a bit by walking on real streets and not just virtual ones).

    The ones I’m interested in pursuing further right now (among many others) —

    Post-Fidel property rights… who owns what.

    Post-Fidel vengeance and forgiveness… and maybe we need a word that is not forgiveness, but just ‘putting aside’. Many I know, will never be able to forgive but might be willing to let things go so everyone can move on.

    Post-Fidel constitution and governance… a fascinating topic for me.

    I don’t have a lot of time right now so I’ll make a few brief comments on each… just to keep my hand in! I’m really thrilled the way the discussion in this blog is going lately. It seems we’re focusing in on things that matter and trying to enlarge the discussion and thinking around them.

  17. Statue of Liberty #151

    I AGREE fully with…”Cuba should be governed by those who now live in the Island”

    I agree only partially with this other part of your quote ” any other kind of government will not be accepted by them”.

    I think that new Cuban government should follow some models who has been succesfull through history and adapt their laws somehow to fit the Cuban people.

    I don’t Hank has any pretensions. He is just an open minded comentator who can see the whole political spectrum of the Cuban oppsition with a clear mind, since apparantly he has no ties with any Cuban.I think his contributions are very well intentioned and I read his comments avidly.

    Although I did not have any relatives executed by the Castros,three generations of my family including myself were in Cuban jails for political reasons.My father never was in jail but he was constantly harassed.

    You do not give advice because you don’t know personally any of us.I respect that.I don’t know personally anybody in this forum either.However I take your comments and the opinions of the majority of the people of this forum very seriously.

    We all do have personals grievences against the Castros one way or another. Again I’m sorry for your loss. Hope you can move on once everything ia over.I have already starting to do so long time ago.For me Cuba comes first.

  18. Hank #125 says (I doubt if there is anyone here who does not have a personal stake in this mess. You, me and the rest of us in this virtual place are writing about this crap because it matters to us – personally and for personal reasons. Let’s not get into the game of showing our scars. That’s not what this is about).

    To Hank:
    I take this blog very seriously like many of us, Cuba is not a game to me and in my post I never implied to show my own scars, those I keep to myself, I was merely referring to those who may have grievances against butchers of the robolution who committed heinous crimes. I know exactly what this blog is all about, it is expressing freely everyone’s opinion without insulting others and I am very mindful of that. Normally I don’t give advice and by the same token very seldom take it from people I don’t know.
    The main focus for me in this blog is to fight ignorance and always to tell the truth even if it hurt someone. Sometimes I see comments made about a situation that happened before Castro (during Batista’s) and after the first few years of the robolution by people who did not experienced or by foreigners with no idea of what are they talking about, that is when I come in and try to explain it the way I lived, being objective and clear without showing any sides. I will continue to do so, regardless.
    After the fall, it will be hard to predict how the people in Cuba will react, especially after living in a system for fifty years without laws, full of indoctrination, deception, abuse and trying to survive the best they can.
    Those of us, who were lucky and decided to leave and experience a new life, became very resourceful after getting an education (without indoctrination) and some of us very successful. There is a lot that we can contribute to rebuild a new Cuba with our savvy and expertise without meddling into their internal affairs. Cuba should be governed by those who now live in the Island; any other kind of government will not be accepted by them.

    That it how I vision my contribution.

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