You could have been a prostitute selling her favors, or equally an interrogator for State Security.  The needs were so many, that to exchange your body for a bottle of shampoo or some soaps, was always a possibility.  Only your figure was too frail for the trade and your skin so pale, for those foreigners who come looking for the cinnamon tone of the tourist ads.  You lacked a “certain something” to carry off the tight-fitting garments of exchanging sex for money, of strutting around outside some hotel to get your family out of a tight spot.

You were on the point of donning a uniform when, on finishing the ninth grade, you thought of going to the Camilo Cienfuegos military school, to escape from a house with  too many prohibitions and too much misery. You thought you were ready to become a pursed lipped soldier with access to those little privileges you saw the members of the Army and the Interior Ministry enjoying.  The timely advice of a friend made you abandon the shouts of “Ah-ten-SHUN!” and the constant rattle of a machine gun.  But if, on that afternoon in 1990, you had not heard the query, “What would you do with yourself, wedged between orders and trenches?” perhaps now you would be intimidating someone in a closed room at Villa Marista, where they take the political prisoners.

You could have been a rafter, a suicide, a government minister’s lover, a censor, a political prisoner, a cop or a victim.  It was not possible to emerge unscathed from this crisis of the nineties that touched your life, the collapse of values, the marginal scene where you came of age.  Some part of you was left in red lycra standing on the corner, in the epaulet of a lieutenant, in these possible people you could have been, from which by chance, by events, and by your own weariness you were saved.


46 thoughts on “Chance

  1. In memory of Camilo Cienfuegos, a true human being, a revolutionary, a man loved by all Cubans.

    Camilo Cienfuegos is in the hearts of everyone who cares about social justice for the Americas!

  2. igor:
    I guess these guys ar jineteros & cheap ones since talent does not came cheap right?
    Anyway is stated still come out the same … COWARDS!

  3. cubano I am from a place that was like Cuba before 1990. I’ve been to Cuba many times and I know how cubans live. I know that you and juan are one of the defenders of the revolution and you both are posting here because it is your job. It is a filthy one and I can assure you that when the Castro will be gone you two will end up either death or in jail.

    By the way how much is Castro paying you a month ? 400 pesos ?

  4. cubano, you’re freaking problem is that CASTRO owns Cuba by himself.Watch the video I asked hank to watch. Ooo I forgot you don’t have access to it as you only have permission to this website.

  5. the big problem is the yannkees they want to control everything los caraibes no nessecito los americanos ..eentendios eso obama and company….


    “Some of the divisions within the group were on full display during the two-day meeting on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, and most of the details of the new bloc — including its name — remain to be worked out.””

    “Those tensions were on full display on Monday, when an argument flared between Mr. Chávez and President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, who have been at odds for years over Mr. Uribe’s close relationship with the United States.”


    NEW YORK TIMES: Regional Group Leaves Out U.S. and Canada
    Published: February 23, 2010

    MEXICO CITY —”Leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean agreed Tuesday to form a new regional group that brings Cuba into the fold but excludes Canada and the United States.

    Some of the divisions within the group were on full display during the two-day meeting on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, and most of the details of the new bloc — including its name — remain to be worked out.”

    “The gathering also highlighted how diverse the region’s politics have become, divided among a populist left-wing bloc led by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, center-left leaders like President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and conservative leaders, including Mr. Calderón and Sebastián Piñera, who will take office as Chile’s president next month.

    Some of the leaders, including Mr. Chávez, would like the new bloc to supplant the Organization of American States, which they and other critics say is dominated by the United States. But Mr. Calderón said Tuesday that Mexico would continue to participate in the O.A.S. Mexican officials have said that the new bloc would streamline the work of a patchwork of regional groups, particularly on issues like poverty and economic development.”

    “Those tensions were on full display on Monday, when an argument flared between Mr. Chávez and President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, who have been at odds for years over Mr. Uribe’s close relationship with the United States.

    Mr. Chávez accused Mr. Uribe of tolerating paramilitary groups who threatened Venezuela and he prepared to storm out, witnesses told reporters.

    But Mr. Uribe was said to have shouted: “Be a man, stay here, because sometimes you insult from a distance, but when we’re face to face, we don’t talk.” Mr. Calderón and Mr. Castro intervened to calm both men down.

    In response, the leaders designated Mr. Calderón, Mr. da Silva and President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic as a “group of friends” to mediate between Colombia and Venezuela.

    Declarations at the end of the meeting repeated some longtime grievances, including one that called for an end to the United States’ trade embargo against Cuba.”

  8. BBC: Amnesty urges Cuba to free all political detainees
    Amnesty International has urged Cuba to release all political prisoners after the death of a detained activist who had been on hunger strike.

    Cuban Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in hospital in Havana on Tuesday, 85 days after he began refusing food.

    The group said his death was “a terrible illustration of the despair” facing Cuba’s political detainees.

    The 42-year-old was arrested in March 2003 in an crackdown against opposition activists.

    Mr Zapata, who was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International, had been refusing food in protest at jail conditions.”

    “US state department spokesman Philip Crowley said Mr Zapata’s death “highlights the injustice of Cuba’s holding more than 200 political prisoners who should now be released without delay”.

    “The EU Commission offered its condolences to his family and said the issue of Cuba’s political prisoners would remain a “key priority for the EU”. ”

    Mr Zapata was among a group of some 75 dissidents jailed by the authorities in 2003.

    Mr Zapata was initially sentenced to three years in prison, but this was increased to 25 years in subsequent trials after he was charged with disobedience and disorder in a penal establishment, Amnesty says.

    Cuba says prisoners of conscience are mercenaries sympathetic to the United States.”

  9. cubano havana cuba, outside Cuba there is more than the AMERICA. When they brainwashed you they must have used tons of soap. No wonder cubans are begging tourists for soap bars.

  10. igor you imigrante 100 of childs die everyday in palestine in iraq in afganistan thanks to you yankee i rather be cuban and be hungry then be a american and have mi hand dirty with blood…if people are stupid to have a hunger strike and let themself die well let it be.. soy cubano soy en cuba soy en mi pais y tu imigrante donde es tu pais….

  11. hank, go on youtube and type in Romanian Revolution. You will be amazed to see what happened in a civilized country at the end of 20th century. It is sad to see that your fellow country men were butchered by their own people, the loyal forces who never wanted to give up on their president. Sounds familiar juan and cubano ?

  12. The sadness (to me)is not just Tamayo’s death, is the existing conditions leading to it.
    The criminal existence of the present regime …
    When life is worth so little … yet justice will finally prevail, then: where will all the catroists criminals & justifiers will hide?
    Reality is sometimes sad …
    even incarcerated, under torture, humilliated & degraded … Tamayo died for freedom, for human rights …
    Tamayo you are free at last.
    I thank you with a prayer … & humbled by your sacrifice.


    84 “Get ready for the AVALANCHE!MULA – “Your Humbug!”

    Would that be the same avalanche of 50 years of opposition which has clearly brought the Cuban government to its knees? Or the recent avalanche that one of your colleages was organising to change Cuban monetary policy? Or the avalanche of masterbatory self interest propaganda of the Miami mafia and its fellow travellers??
    Or just the avalanche of abuse when ever ANYONE opposing these same anachronistic views posts anything? Or just the avalanche of silence when a Cuban is called e.g. a “slimeball” by people like Yobbo in #67?

    Clearly this time Humbug it was the ‘avalanche’ of silence!

  14. And absolutely nothing from Shasta Darlington, our crack reporter there on the scene in Cuba — ready at a moment’s notice to tell us how it is.

    CNN, the first name in news. Silence from Shasta. Nada.

  15. I watched the BBC America report tonight. It was a fluff piece about old cars and it showed the BBC reporter having a grand time driving around Havana in a 1950s American car.

    After the report, the BBC news anchor provided an update. She reported that Orlando Zapata Tamayo died today. She said he was a leading dissident and he died because he was on a hunger strike.

    If I can find a link to the report, I will post it.

  16. Humberto,

    Thank you for your excellent posts!

    If you have access to the BBC America TV channel, they are will be reporting a news story from Cuba in a few minutes. I doubt that the Tamayo story will be covered, but maybe. Let’s continue to make sure people are listening. A man died today.

    Great legacy fidel and raul! Hope you are proud of yourselves. Your own citizens are starving themselves to death in direct contravention of YOU!

  17. The artwork is amazing! The tragic and beautiful commentary is hard to fathom to one who has lived freely, compared to many. Never the less it has the ring of truth alongside the mindless Castro worship I get from my Socialist friends who tour your island, praising the approved sites and sights they are allowed to observe. I tell them they are lied to and they laugh. Many laugh at the Devil until they find themselves in Hell. My heart goes out to you all. Sadly, my heart is all I have to give…but my heart is valuable to me, so I give it sparingly. ‘Best I can do.


  19. NY TIMES: Cuban Dissident Dies After Hunger Strike
    Published: February 23, 2010

    HAVANA (AP) — An opposition political activist imprisoned since 2003 died Tuesday after a lengthy hunger strike, members of Cuba’s human rights community said.

    Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who was jailed on charges including disrespecting authority, died at a clinic at Havana’s Combinado del Este prison, according to Vladimiro Roca, a leading dissident who said he spoke to Zapata Tamayo’s family.

    Zapata Tamayo, 42, was not among the island’s best-known dissidents. He was arrested in 2003 on charges of disrespecting authority, said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Havana-based, independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

    He was sentenced to three years in prison, which Sanchez said was lengthened to 25 years, in part because of his political activism while behind bars.

  20. BBC NEWS: Cuban prison hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo dies
    Leading Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo has died in hospital after 85 days on hunger strike, opposition sources say.

    Mr Zapata, 42, had been admitted to Havana’s Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital after his condition deteriorated.

    Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience after his arrest in March 2003 in a crackdown on opposition groups.

    He had been calling for the release of political prisoners.

    He died between 1530 and 1600 local time (2030-2100 GMT) on Tuesday, Efe news agency reports.


    His death marks the first time in nearly 40 years a Cuban activist starved himself to death to protest against government abuses.

    His mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, told the Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald by telephone that her son had been “murdered” by Cuba’s authorities.

    “They managed to do what they wanted,” she said. “They ended the life of a fighter for human rights.”

    According to the paper, the last political prisoner to die on hunger strike in Cuba was Pedro Luis Boitel, a poet and student leader, who died in 1972.

    Cuba’s illegal but tolerated Human Rights Commission says there are about 200 political prisoners still held in Cuba, about one-third less than when Raul Castro took over as president from his brother Fidel.

    But if anything harassment of dissidents has increased over the past year, the group says.

    Cuba designates prisoners of conscience as mercenaries sympathetic to the United States.

  21. A friend of mine who is half chinese half salvadorian went to Cuba on vacation. She speaks Spanish fluently and she was studying Immigration at PhD level. She is extremely friendly thus she started a conversation while the almighty border guard was checking her passport at the airport. Unsuspectingly she told the watchdog that she is studying immigration. 2 minutes later she was sitting alone in a room at the airport waiting for some Castro fascist agents to interrogate her. She was smart enough to tell them that she actually majored in Sociology and that the guard misunderstood the idea. I bet they taught that my friend was on a recruiter for cubans willing to leave the paradise.


  22. Igor

    What are you talking about, what are you smoking? You have me confused again with someone else?

  23. Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died today, 82 days after he started a hunger strike to demand respect for his human rights, according to a report from Cuban Democratic Directorate.

    “The death of my son was premeditated murder,” said Zapata’s mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo.

    May he rest in peace, and may the Castro dictatorship be held to account for his death.

  24. Wow! I am such a threat to some people here that they keep trying to defame me by impersonating me!Fortunately I would never say such thing as below.

    Humberto Capiro

    Febrero 23rd, 2010 at 09:39
    viva juan viva fidel viva raoul viva cuba viva cubano

  25. Albert you are so right. Cuba became a nation that forces its daughters to sell their bodies for a few dollars. It also became a nation that tortures its citizens. yubano and juan are the lucky ones for now ( when the system changes they might end up hanged)as they are on the other side of the barricade.

  26. The rules of this blog do now allow impersonation — this URL has been blocked

  27. like everything, is just a form of expression; perhaps is a product of the enviroment, a perception of someone’s reality …
    A playing card, (as soemthing been used)queen on a (precariously supported) musical instrument, holding a bucket while on roller blades with a mask close by trying to move forward …
    All the instruments of what is needed to survive, work, talent, anonimity …
    Yes, a part of me agrees with the artsy fartsy thing.
    But … what is said with the picture … (to me) matches what it is said in the statement …

  28. The art is astonishingly good!
    The statement is sad in its truth …
    So few options of the best from the worst; one of the pillars of self esteem & dignity is the ability to choose for more than the satisfaction of animal necessities, hunger, shelter …
    When one is forced to choose between the best of the worst … one gives up something, time after time till there is not much left of the dreams & hopes nurtured by our youthful days …
    Ideals are killed, frustration gives way resignation and then after a time … we no longer care … things remain the same it seems … it feels like an eternity …
    How sad … how cruel … how criminal …

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