So far from Copenhagen



18 thoughts on “So far from Copenhagen

  1. There is a paradox to the simple question you posed, Kent–on the one hand, I believe no one but Cubans in Cuba can or should bring about change in Cuba–on the other, Cubans in Cuba are significantly constrained in their ability to rise up against the government. So, while your question is naive on the surface, when you take a closer look, it is not as simple as it seems.

    It is natural to ask why people don’t change something they don’t like WHEN one is empowered to do so. There is a healthy and growing movement within Cuba of Cubans empowering themselves to challenge the regime, but it is not as simple as going to the ballot box and voting them out–a suggestion made to me by an American friend (“if people don’t like Raul, why don’t they vote for someone else?”).

    The Founding Fathers of the U.S. were empowered by a long history in English Law to bring grievances against the government going back centuries to the Magna Carta in 1215–they were also driven by the rights of man in 18th century French Enlightenment philosophy. It was inevitable they should rebel against England–England had prepared them for it. You have to appreciate none of this history or tradition existed in Spain–the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment were all but completely irrelevant to Spanish government, civil society, and social institutions. When Cuba gained its independence from Spain what legacy came with it in these regards?

    What we have taken for granted in the U.S. as the foundation to a free democracy is sadly new to many countries, including Cuba. A paternalistic authoritative form of government in the form of a corrupt Caudillo is the model Cuba inherited from Spain–Castro is just the last iteration of that model–what is happening in Cuba today is that people are finally rejecting the paternalistic totalitarian form of government they have had in one way or another since 1902.

  2. @#16
    please include yourself in that blessing, you are doing something by participation, by talking about it with someone, by researching …
    May Our Lord bless you as well …

  3. I am sure that I have no real idea of the sacrifice that would be involved in resisting a totalitarian regime. I am sorry if my comments seemed to imply that Cubans are timid or unwilling. The U.S. was created in a revolution against English control that was far less cruel than what Cuba is experiencing. Our fathers decided it was important enough to fight, to kill, and sometimes to die.

    You are quite right that I have not experienced the need to fight as they did. I do honor American soldiers who fight to keep us free. They put their lives at risk to protect people like me and my family.

    I am sure there are no easy answers in Cuba. I am also sure that the current system is corrupt. I pray that the situation will improve dramatically. I am old enough to remember when Castro was hailed as a hero for overthrowing Batista. It takes more than just a change of leaders to change the country. May God bless those of you working to change for the better.

  4. re: #10-#11-#13
    Why doesn’t the cuban people revolt against the present regime…?
    Have you ever lived in fear of loosing what you call liberty?
    Have you ever lived under siege?
    Have you ever gone hungry?
    Have you lost frienfs and/or family to the regime’s repression
    Have you been tortured (since your rights are not protected in a dictatorship)?
    Have you been “blackmailed” by the regime to spy on your family & neighbors?
    I know … to many questions … the thing is how can you understand if you have not gone thru it for over 50 years.
    I mean this in a loving, respectful way … to understand I suggest you ask a direct question, if you really want to know.
    Specially because even if having escaped … many still prisioners within their own lives …

  5. pollution in Cuba is no joking matter. Running that decrepit refinery right at the edge of the biggest urban center in the country would be so criminal in any other place. No it has not been updated, yes it looks like that all the time. Do the cubans that live nearby wonder why they develop asthma in their early 30s ? Running all that high sulfur, low grade crap that hugo gives them thru the facilities they stole 50 years ago means it is always breaking down. Can it be more obvious that public health and welfare have no importance to the regime ? With the dark overcast it gives the picture of Habana a sort of Mordor feel

  6. “I am somewhat mystified as to why the Cuban people don’t rise up and remove those who abuse their power.”

    This is a comment I hear from many of my American friends–other variations include questions like, “if Castro is so bad and the majority of the people don’t like his government, why don’t they throw him out?” It is easy to see the ignorance and superficial understanding of what a totalitarian form of government is really like with questions and comments like these. These comments represent an old sentiment, like the one that was supposedly attributed to Marie Antoinette, Queen of France upon hearing the peasants of her country had no bread to eat–she supposedly said, “Let them eat cake, then.” This is a perfectly reasonable answer from someone who does not worry about eating upon realizing they have no bread, because they know they have plenty of cake. This response has also come to symbolize the insensitivity of those who lack for nothing for those who lack for everything.

    An American, comfortably ensconced in the rights of free association, freedom of expression, the press, freedom of speech and all the other freedoms that allow a free society the right to challenge their government would naturally ask why Cubans don’t just change the system if they are not happy with it.

    It just ain’t that simple–it is not as simple as eating cake if you have no bread.

  7. To Kent Schnake #8
    I know you have a reason to be mystified and the reason is that you are totally unaware of how the system controls your life, it is easy to say: “why the Cuban people don’t rise up and remove those who abuse their power”. In a totalitarian system, they choose for you were to live, work, go to school, travel, associate with, what salary you make (regardless of your education, etc.. I can go on and on. However at this moment there is a ray of hope taking place within the youth and if I am not mistaken they will be the one who will be able to overthrow the present regime. God bless those who are doing their part in bringing the system down.

  8. Yoani, Thank you for continuing to blog despite the difficulties. I am 59. One of the great ironies of my life has been that the workers paradises are such ugly places to live. I was in East Germany not too many years after it united with the west. Soviet era buildings were easy to spot, as were new ones. If a road was well paved, it was new. Some of the worst toxic pits and so on were found in former east bloc countries. How can communism masquerade as power to the people, when the people suffer so much?

    I am somewhat mystified as to why the Cuban people don’t rise up and remove those who abuse their power.

  9. Is this is how we are going to deal with global warming.this city dont look like is only miles away, it looks like a some kind of middle east dump.

  10. English Version for my friends
    Which Yoanis would you choose?
    Read More in or scroll down for English version.

    Just admirable, Yoani took a picture from her balcony in a 14th floor of el Vedado, Habana Cuba and she mute the occasional journalist called Fidel Castro with his long writing about global warming.

    Is as simple as walking around Cuba and check that what Fidel Castro point in his speeches is not been applied along the island, for instance a residual channel that contain acrylics and mod close to a jail called Canaleta in Ciego de Avila (Central Cuba) .

    Where other citizen approached these residual to beautified their houses making an incredible and innovative art craft to dress an inside wall of blocks.

    However despite this one solutions to their home this new ornament brought lead contamination awful for children and people in general, but there is more examples of contaminations in Cuba.

    please visit

  11. This is a post by Cubano that I like to continue debating

    “Ok Julio…we’ll do that…I just have seen the ones struggling(american single mothers and fathers) next to me in school, and I do think that generalizing to justify not helping others is not a good thing to do.
    My father always show me that the strong should have the responsability on helping the weaker, and even though we think some people is trying to have it easy, living on social security and goverment help by choice shows that some people for one reason of another can not make it, and the amount of money that is spend on them is just peanuts compare to the amount of money spend wrongfully in this country..we should be proud of helping other without judgment…talk to you later Julio.
    It is my pleasure. Kind regards.”

    I went to

    and found that the number of single mothers in the US is about 10 million
    now not all those single mothers are struggling that statistic information does not contain the data but lets assume following the Pareto law that 80 percent of that are really struggling so that will be about 8 million of 308 million total population for the US. That is about 2 percent or less of the total US population.

    “strong should have the responsability on helping the weaker”

    Here there is many organizations that help the poor and the needy also the social security programs that are in place to help those that have problems. For example as you may know there is monetary help to those that can not pay for electrical bills or gas bills and even for food on the program known as “food stamps” so Cubano I am sorry but sometimes the way you talk is like you do not live in this country.

    “some people for one reason of another can not make it”

    This happens because people do make mistakes and make wrong choices in their live. I have no problem with that because we are humans and we all make mistakes.
    But there is ways to get out of trouble in this society if you do have the will.

    I remember a story my grandmother used to tell me.
    About this little girl that falls down and does not get up. Her mom goes back to her and ask her why don’t you get up. Her child reply she was praying to god so he will get her up!”

    The moral in this short story is there are things we need to do our self that nobody is going to do for us if we do not first have the intention of making things happen. Nobody is going to come knocking on your door and tell you hey would you like to study computers or learn this or that. Those are personal choices each of us have to make.

    “the amount of money that is spend on them is just peanuts compare to the amount of money spend wrongfully in this country”

    This I agree with you. I think we should be expending more money helping people get educated and less on wars. As they say you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    You still have not answer the questions I ask you before so please do so.

  12. One thing I have notice about Cubans that were born under the present regime but now living in a free country is that even thought “some of them” dislike the system, the brain wash used during their formative years have left a scar in their way of thinking.

  13. A bit more background of the Nico Lopez refinery from three years ago:

    “The refinery, formerly owned by Esso and Shell, predates the 1959 revolution. It has a capacity of 122,000 barrels a day and is one of only two in Cuba. The other refinery, Hermanos Diaz (formerly Texaco) is in Santiago de Cuba on the island’s eastern tip, and is rated at 102,000 b/d.

    According to independent reports, however, both antiquated facilities have been running recently at about half their stated capacity.”

    Hopefully, the refinery has had some environmental upgrades and is not polluting at 1950s levels.

  14. Remember when I was in high school they used to brain wash us and telling us that socialism cared about the environment and many other lies.
    I still have to see something as what is portrait in this picture here in the US.

    I been in many big cities live around DC, been in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, Up State New York, Toronto, Montreal, Lisbon, many cities in Spain and Costa Rica etc.. have not seen anything like this!

    Once I got out I remember about the many lies they used to tell us. Sometimes we run into a trashy place on a city all of them have them and I will immediately think, Well this is the place the Cuban government will use to portrait how bad capitalism is! while they ignored that they have bigger dumps that those!

    I guess that is the nature of propaganda. Keep telling lies ad nauseum.

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